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Archive for May, 2013

Deep thoughts, and serious advice

May 29th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Funny how being away from home can make you (at least me) get all big picture.

I'm at the Atlantic ocean with my mom, sister, and two boys. Here is the view from our rental.

It's lovely. Of course, as a wise friend once said, you can travel with kids, just don't expect to come home refreshed. Very true. The boys are a handful, but still, I've had a little bit of time to myself to think.

And what I feel deep down is that life is out of control.

As far as parenting:

We are constantly on top of the kids, yelling and bossing them around, and in return, we get completely ignored or bad attitudes and yelling right back. (Funny how that works). I'm always supremely stressed out, balancing too much freelance work with the responsibility of raising a 3 and 5 year old all day most days while hubby works, plus fixing dinner, and taking care of everything related to our personal lives-- swim lessons, fixing the house, calling the plumber, mowing the lawn, etc. I'm crabby all the time, and frankly, not always very nice to the kids, unless they are playing quietly and not "bugging me".

This is totally not the person I ever thought I would be. How did it happen? It's as if I have been so busy just barely meeting my work and family obligations every day, that I've turned into a horrible, screaming monster.

I'm thinking and hoping, really, that there is still time to turn it around. This isn't how I want my kids to grow up, and this isn't the person I want to be.

A big obstacle, frankly, is that I don't know how to manage small children. And, I certainly don't know how to manage two boys with wildly divergent personalities who are both incredibly energetic and loud, and of very highly active temperments.

I'm very low key, quiet, and need plenty of quiet time for contemplation. I didn't realize people could have children so different than they are. Stupid me. So yes, that has been a strain since the beginning, just because I don't have the infinite energy or desire to play that they were born with,and I struggle every day to find ways to channel that energy into something other than hitting each other or destroying all the furniture. So, I'm either shuttling them to some activity, or sitting them in front of the TV just so I can get a moment's peace without them hitting each other or yelling, or asking me for something. Not what I had envisioned.

It's tough, and because I'm no longer able to take care of myself and get what I need, I'm always short and one whine away from yelling. I haven't had a good night's sleep in more than 5 years. I'm not doing well. Frankly, the highlight of my year is the 6 days they spend at their grandparents and I get to stay home alone. How sad is that?? Is that normal??

On the money side:
Our credit card bills have been gigantic since Christmas. It seems like I just can't get ahead anymore, between the mortgage and the preschool bills. I'm used to being able to sock away big chunks of money, but it just isn't happening.

I recently cancelled the newspaper subscription, and the cable tv, which will save us about $600 a year. It isn't enough though.

It's always something. Either we had to spend $2000 on plane tickets to a family reunion none of us really wanted to go to but were obligated to attend, or hubby had to pay $300 to recertify for work, or the plumber had to come and that was $200, or I had carefully scrimped on groceries, etc, but hubby decided to go buy some $400 part for his super computer and I didn't know it until I opened the bill, so the whole plan was off.... You know how it goes, and it goes on and on and on. This year, it just hasn't stopped. (This week is costing about $500, thanks to sharing costs).

Then, at tax time, I realized federal, state, and city tax ate up more than 60 percent of my pay last year. So I worked all of those hours and wrote all of those articles for virtually nothing. All that stress, all those late nights writing, all those trying to keep the kids occupied so I can make a work phone call days. For so little. I spent a few nights crying about it. I decided to try to work less, since the money isn't great, but the work doesn't seem to have slowed down. I have two more weeks of my lowest paying high stress gig before the official hand off to someone else, and it seems as though a million other small projects have crept in to fill the gap. It seems impossible to say no to freelance work, because it's feast or famine. You either have too much work or none, and if you say no, you might not get asked again.

And, because I am so exhausted and aggravated all the time, I overspend. I don't have time to shop around or clip all the coupons or plan menus (plus I'm mad that I have to plan all of that and do all the cooking-- which I do not enjoy. I thought college would magically free me from the fate of being a housewife, but lo and behold...)

So yes. I have lost sight of a better future. I am feeling truly low, despite the scenery. What can I do to change my life? How can I be a better parent? Or, at least, enjoy parenting at least a little bit? Right now, it all feels like such a crushing responsibility.