Friday, January 6, 2012

Calgon, Take Me Away!

Here's a disclaimer I should probably throw out there before I continue writing:  I love my kids.  I love being a parent and a wife.  I am very well aware of my blessings.  My kids are great kids.

Sometimes parenting makes me feel completely bonkers.  And usually it's not really for much good reason. Out of the blue, I'll become irritated at little things that don't always bother me.  And sometimes it's more than irritated.  Sometimes I quietly feel like my brain is swelling and that at any moment my skull is sure to crack wide open at the sheer pressure of it all.  

I felt a bit like this just today, driving around with my family.  The car is a major stressor for me, when we're all in it.  I get claustrophobic.  The kids will be in the back, talking in what I'm sure is obscenely loud voices, and often arguing.  The radio is on.  The hubby is talking to me about something that happened earlier, or politics, or how we should fix up the basement.  And my hubby, through no fault of his own, has an unusually loud voice anyway.  I'm trying to focus on what he's saying, while trying to ignore the kids in the back, the fact that I feel like he's driving too crazy, ignore the radio, and sometimes the clicking and swishing of the stupid windshield wipers, and all of a sudden I feel like I'm going to have a panic attack.  Nobody is doing anything wrong, and yet I feel like I have to jump out of the moving car and run screaming down the road.  In the other direction.

And at home, the same thing will happen to me occasionally.  I am the only girl in a house full of boys.  Even our dog is a boy.  I don't even completely understand the male brain--how could I?--and so I'm sure they don't completely understand me.  It's hard for them to remember that I need peace and quiet.  Just once in a while.  When the boys were toddlers, I remember there were times when just going to the bathroom was like a mini vacation for me.  It was so peaceful in there.  Sometimes it was the only peace I had.  It's not the same now, but it's almost crazier.  The boys are bigger.  Messier.  Louder.  It's getting to be like living with three men, like in college.  

I have, at this VERY moment, a hubby trying to get me to put some headphones on to see if I think they sound good or if there's something wrong with them.  He just found them in the basement he's clearing out.  A 9-year old who wants me to help him figure out if he's building this little model airplane correctly, because he's not sure if he's got the right piece.  A 10-year old who wants me to read something on a crumpled up piece of paper, and a dog who's desperately trying to dig a tennis ball out from under the shelves next to me.  This is happening right now.  Right this second.  As I'm writing this.  And nobody's noticing that I'm busy writing.  They're not even seeing that I'm writing about what they're doing RIGHT NOW!!!!  

Ugh.  I just said, "I'm in the middle of something right now," rather loudly and sternly.  All four of them just went out the back door, and right now I have probably three to four minutes of silence, no sound but the clicking of my keyboard.  Ahhhhh.  

So as I was saying.  I think I need a door on my office.  There's no door on it right now.  And if I could get a door on it, I think I need one with a lock.  I want to come in here when I need to be left alone, so I can take some deep breaths, open the door, and be happy to see my family again.

I am pulled in four different directions every day.  It's the universal difficulty of being a mom.  I come last.  This is my life, and I know many would be thrilled to have what I have.  And I have nine very short years left until my babies leave me for college.  That's what I try to remind myself whenever I feel like ripping out my hair or jumping in my car and driving very far away.  I'm sure there's times when I'm no peach.  

Ahh.  That was a nice chunk of quiet.  They're all back inside now, and I'm done griping.  Now I have counted to ten, taken a few deep breaths, and I'm going to go hug my babies and kiss my hubby.

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