new year’s revelation: we’re burned out

Imagine that you work in an office.  But at this job you wake up in the morning already at your cubicle.  Before you can grab some coffee, or even pee, there are two demanding coworkers hovering over you.  They follow you to the bathroom.  They bark orders while you eat.  They need projects to be completed before the last one is cleaned up.  They create busy work and fight amongst themselves and rarely give positive feedback.  Lunch “break” is more of the same.  Dinner, same.  You get two hours of “free time” a night, but half of it is spent preparing for the next work day.   No matter how early you go to bed, you most likely will be woken up at least once to work.  Oh… and no weekends.

Would you apply for this job?  Of course not.  But that’s what the life of a stay-at-home-mom feels like sometimes.

Am I complaining about my lame little 1st world problems?  Yes.  But it’s entirely possible for a person to go completely bonkers in a safe cozy home stocked with food and equipped modern conveniences.  I’m just trying to gain some perspective and explain why I’ve been a big giant raw nerve lately.

Let’s brainstorm some of our Roadblocks to Sanity:

  • The end of naps means the end of any kind of daily break for me.
  • Violet and Graham are not “easy” kids.  They don’t play independently for more than 5 minutes (and trust me, I’ve being trying to instill this ability in them forever).  They need more stimulation and energy than I can possibly give them by myself.
  • Graham is unbelievably mommy-centric.  He will not allow Rob to do the most mundane chore for him.  Put on socks?  NEVER!  Make lunch?  FORGET IT!  (Tickle monster chase?  Sometimes…. ) It’s much easier to give in than withstand yet another hour of screaming.  The result is that Rob is on the sidelines at a time in our parenting lives when I need more help than ever.  This is seriously frustrating for a great father and husband.
  • Because of the above, our to-do list grows ever longer and more overwhelming.

So what can I do about this?  I’ve got some ideas:

  • Sit in a coffee shop with my computer both mornings they’re in school.  SIT. JUST SIT!  Try not to spend the entire time working.
  • Spend more time with friends.  Drag myself there.  I always feel better afterwards.
  • Eat well, exercise, vitamins… yada yada
  • go out on more dates
  • more wine?

Any others?    I know this stage is not forever.  And please understand that I also realize how lucky I am to have healthy kids and a wonderful husband.  Nevertheless, I’m endlessly surprised at the always-changing ways this whole parenting thing is HARD.  We want to find ways to enjoy it, not fight it.

Thankfully, no office coworkers are as cute or sweet as Violet and Graham… and I’m assuming they don’t snuggle as well.

9 responses to “new year’s revelation: we’re burned out”

  1. Mom

    I remember being looked at as “less than” because I didn’t hold down a paying job while you guys were little. It was the beginning of the women’s movement and there was a lot of pressure on us young mothers to have a career outside the home. Imagine feeling overwhelmed like you do and then being criticized for not doing enough. You are doing a superb job my dear and I encourage you to do all those recharge activities, and then some more!

  2. Cheris

    Oh that still goes on, trust me. And since the next generation grew up hearing it, we’re beating ourselves up because we can’t do it all.

  3. Shannou

    You can do eet!

    I always admire the frankness and honesty you have in talking about being a parent.

    Let me know if I can help with the “Spend more time with friends” part!

  4. Amber Walter

    You are a great mom and you are doing a really good job. This job sucks a lot of the time. Add to the list, let friends take kids away for a while. And thumbs up to the hanging out with friends, especially with ones whose kids are the same age as ours. I need it too. And yes, more wine. Though moderation is always key since they never let you have recovery time the next morning. (just had to relearn that Sunday) Big love.

  5. Heather

    Oooh, I love your new look.
    And this post.
    I fear the end of naps.
    This is the most taxing job there is, and it’s valued so little in our culture. It’s hard not to internalize that.
    And hard to function on so little down time, while watching that to-do list grow. It feels like things are out of control, and I say that only a few months into the two-kid thing.
    I wish we could hang out more (or ever).

  6. Kristen

    I have gone on a few mini-mom-retreats here (involving yoga, visualization, journal writing & reflecting, and sharing circle = LOVE IT!) which have recharged me and helped me rediscover what “centers” me. I find hiking outside with the kids, lighting candles inside, reading instead of watching tv, getting a wee bit of alone time, a hot cup of tea….all help me regroup. I insist on “quiet time” for the lost nap time and I also allow for 1 hour of tv for the little people. That makes for a bit of self time in the day. I also learned that unwinding by watching tv does NOT relax me as I always think it will. I think we need to have things/activities to center us which involve being alone AND being with the kids — because we are always with them. Hiking or going to the beach are my favorite kid activities (without partner help). I am dying for Spring! Oh, and baking with them is really fun too! Good luck keeping yourself from burning out…you need to take care of YOU, Mama!

  7. Katie

    I’m a big believer in unstructured time for recovery. Sitting in a coffeeshop isn’t bad. Neither is saying that you are going to lay on the couch for that time with the lights dim and do nothing but listen to music. The truth is that we live in our heads more than we do our houses.

    I say take those mornings and really aggressively do nothing. Think of it as a kind of meditation. S. wasn’t an easy kid at all. He is now, but I anticipate that is just another phase and we’ll face the monsterkid again.


  8. best year yet

    […] On the first day of summer vacation we woke up late. (Yes, 6:30 is late.) I made pancakes (not from the box!), omelets (from our backyard flock!) and plenty of coffee (for me, not the kids.)  The rest of the day we puttered around, played games, cooked, read, went to the gym and had a leisurely bedtime routine that did not include homework, packing a lunch, or a organizing a backpack.   I am actually enjoying summer vacation.   That says a lot.  A year and a half ago I wouldn’t have felt this way.  In fact, I was at a very low point. […]

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