To say that this morning was frustrating is putting it mildly. Spring break has proved to be a difficult change for us; our schedule is thrown out of whack, productivity is bottoming out, and I feel like I'm at a breaking point.
This morning's issue was that we have about ten library books due today (we have nineteen total at our house ... it's amazing how out of control that got), and I wanted to make sure they don't end up overdue. In the most relaxed and perky way possible, I tried to get the kids to help me make a schedule for our morning so we could maximize our time out. First we were going to go to the library and exchange the books, then we were going to go get haircuts for the kids, then to the bank to pick up the beginning of the grocery money for the month, and finally to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials. It is easily doable, though it sounds like a lot when you list it out like that.
Our first roadblock was breakfast; Mollie decided to drag it out as long as possible, taking about an hour and a half to eat a bowl of yogurt and half a piece of cinnamon toast. Baylor, surprisingly, moved through breakfast pretty well, but with Mollie stuck up at the counter nursing hers for as long as possible, he stalled out on the rest of his "getting ready" to do list. He went to the bathroom, got his socks on, but then fell short of taking off his pj pants and actually getting dressed.
At one point I basically told them that if they didn't get ready, I would just start taking away all the fun stuff I had planned on our outing (e.g., checking out more books, the hair cut entirely, riding Sandy at Meijer) to make up for the lost time. I felt terrible saying that, though; and all the while I could hear my inner dialogue, chock full of dos and don'ts, shoulds and shouldn'ts, and everything in between that I have read in books, on the Internet, and in magazines, arguing about whether it was best to just make it a happy day or to tow the line and not let them get away with anything (can't cave to whining and such, after all). The one main thought, though, was, "This is not the mom I want to be."
Regardless, in no time they were both in the living room tearing apart the couch concocting some elaborate spy story/caveman scenario. Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen, near tears, mind racing, and having chest pains. All I could think was "What the hell am I supposed to do?! Do I nurture their curiosity and just let them play? I need to let them go with the flow, right? But what about the day we had planned out? They have no respect for me whatsoever ... and my heart is breaking. I'm a bad mother, aren't I? I can't even get us out the damn door." It spiraled on from there. Fun, huh?
Eventually Baylor, who has newly become vigilant about what time it is and "are we running late", suddenly asked when we were going to go. The little muscle inside me holding back the tears broke with his words, and I started crying. I wanted to yell so badly and cry as hard as I felt I needed to, but I could tell me crying was starting to freak Baylor out as it was so I tried my best to rein it in. I explained to them in the shakiest of voices that, in order to get everything done we had talked about, they needed to do what I told them to do when I told them to do it. I had already made up my mind that we would just stay in for the day and say "screw it" to the need-to-dos, but Baylor, so sweetly trying to make me feel better, suggested that we just go out to the library and Snip Its and leave the grocery store for tomorrow. Though I informed him of the fact that we have a visitor (his PLAY therapist) coming tomorrow morning and would likely not be able to go to Meijer then, I was proud of him for staying calm in the anxiety-riddled situation and went along with it.
As I got them ready, I could still feel the heaviness in my chest weighing down on me, all my emotions bottled up with no place to go but in. It is weird, but it seemed like I could actually feel the damage stress is doing to my heart and it scared me ... a lot. I don't want to leave my kids early because I can't handle and reduce stress like I need to. Even now as I type this, I can feel the twinge of pain in my chest and it scares the crap out of me. I wish I knew what else to say about this, but I guess this is what I needed to motivate me to take charge of the stress in my life. We'll see where this goes.
(As always, I am not searching for pity or attention or anything. Just wanted to share in case someone else is feeling the same and felt alone.)