Monday, November 7, 2011

17 years of experience, and yet I still don't know what I'm doing...

Yesterday I had a nervous breakdown.  Just a mini one unfortunately.  It would be kinda nice to have one of the major ones that would result in a vacation at the local psych ward where I am sure I would find more sanity than my home offers most days.  

Most of my life is spent in a "kumbaya" state of mind where I 'don't sweat the small stuff' and all those other cute li'l sayings that make me wanna vomit on the days when my 'attitude of gratitude' is MIA.  Why is it that life can being rolling along nicely and then suddenly you are hit with just an overwhelming feeling that the only thing missing in your life is you?!  While 99% of the time I am fine with being known as someone's mom, or SFC Hollen's wife, that 1% of the time when I miss just being me can come out of nowhere and hit pretty hard.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I really, really hate it when those days hit, because I don't believe in living life wishing for anything other than what I have, but there is a little catharsis in being the one crying, "What about meeee????!!!!!" every once in a while :)

I've been a parent for a while now.  Over 17 years to be exact.  (Hmmm, I guess "over 17 years" isn't what some might call 'exact', but it works for me, and this is my blog gosh darnit.)  In any other 'profession' 17+ years of experience would make you an expert at what you do.  When it comes to being a mom, not so much. It's all trial and error, and mostly error.  I think most of us have a list in our heads of what we will not do as a parent that is based on our experiences growing up.  As an adult, that list shrinks because you realize stuff like having to clean your room isn't a form of torture and/or abuse.  There is stuff on my list that I still feel is valid though.  I just can't seem to find the middle ground between being the type of parent who would do anything for their children, and being the family doormat.  In my quest to try to remember what it's like to be their age, and the value in supporting their dreams even if I know the odds are against them, it seems like I've not done a very good job of teaching them that in this family we are all a necessary part of the team, and no- you are not the MVP.  Basically this means I have three kids who have no idea that the world does not in fact rotate around them.  My life in a nutshell:

If I lie down, someone needs something.  If it's Jace, the older two have either A) suddenly become deaf and can't even hear him asking, or B) help him out but make sure to complain loudly because their TV watching, book reading, game playing, etc. has been interrupted.  If I start to jump in the shower, Parker was just headed that way.  If I have to use the bathroom, someone else needs to more.  If the dog needs to go out, it's ok if I have to completely get dressed first, because Heaven knows that expecting one of your kids to do the same is like a fate worse than death.  

You know our current living situation is little old lady in the shoe meets any given episode of Hoarders, but Parker refuses to believe that she can in fact get dressed in any room other than the bedroom.  She fully expects anyone who's in there to immediately stop what their doing and evacuate so she can get her clothes on.  Will on the other hand, will drop his towel no matter where he happens to be and just yell for everyone to avoid that room 'til he's dressed.  Both of them seem to believe that taking their clothes to the bathroom with them and getting dressed there after they shower is foolish and emotional abuse.  Jace is just Jace.  His middle name is after Thomas' great-grandfather who was nicknamed Boss.  Had I known that Jace would feel compelled to live up to that reputation, I would have named him something else...  Obviously somewhere along the way I have failed them big time as a parent.  What else is new?

What does all this have to do with yesterday's breakdown?  I'm getting there, I promise.  Yesterday was like any other day.  Will and Parker were celebrating the life of leisure that they feel is their birthright, (seriously the princes Wm and Harry probably feel less entitled than my kids,) and Jace was being a holy terror.  I had mountains of homework, a house that wouldn't let me rest until it was clean, and a flatulent dog with diarrhea.  What happens when you mix flatulence with diarrhea, you might ask.  One word:  Sharting.  FML.  Add to that the fact that I am so popular in my home that no one can be more than two steps away from me at any given time, and you get a basket case waiting to happen.  As I was trying to get ready to go to a movie (Footloose.  Funny stuff, though I'm pretty sure it wasn't supposed to be.  Angry ballet, anyone?) the dog needed to go out one more time so I asked Will to take her out.  Cue scene of dramatic collapse:

Will:  Ok, but I'm not going in the yard because I don't want to get my new shoes dirty.

Me:  Well you have to go in the yard because she uses the bathroom in the very back.

**I look outside and see Will trying to figure out a way to hovercraft himself to the designated bathroom area.  By all appearances he thought he could simply Go Go Gadget the arm holding the leash and Molly would be able to reach the back of the yard.  In a move that pretty much sums up my entire parental shortcomings, instead of making him prance his ass out there, I succumbed to my usual, "I'll do it myself!" huff.  So now I'm back there trying to get Molly to go to the bathroom- btw, what is up with all the turning and sniffing??!!  Anyway, as I'm at the back of the yard with Molly, Jace decides he has to have a ball that is dangerously close to Molly's 'bathroom'.

Me:  Jace, don't go back there, you'll step in dog poop.

Jace:  I have to get this ball.

Me:  No, you don't.  We are getting ready to leave.  Go back to the house.

Jace:  But I 'meed' it.

Molly- turning, sniffing, turning, sniffing, turning, sniffing.....

At this point for some reason I start crying.  Not full fledged boo-hooing, that came moments later.  I give up on Molly using the bathroom, tell Jace to get in the house, and I sniffle my way across the yard.  The only good thing is that even though Jace wouldn't stay away from the ball, he didn't step in poop.  The only bad thing?  I did.  Wth?  By this point, I'm on the front porch, where I am full on sobbing, while kicking my shoes off and hurling them across the yard.  Parker, Jace and Will are staring at me like I've grown another head.  If I could have heard the thoughts going through their minds, I'm sure it would have gone something like this:  Ok, is Mom hurt, or is the nervous breakdown she's been threatening for years now?  Which totally reminds me of the other day.  Apparently anytime my kids are fighting I say either, "I'm running away, or I'm gonna blow my brains out."  (Go on, add that to the parental failure list.  See if I care.)  This particular day, I used the brain blowing threat to which Will replied, "All talk, no action." Ahahaha, yes.  Retched little monsters that they are, I love my kids.....  At least they "get" me.

Anywho- so while I'm lying in bed sobbing hysterically and saying stuff like, "I can't do it all myself, and I never have a second to myself," Jace is on top of me saying, "Aww Mommy, it's ok."  Cute in retrospect.  Parker decides that she should get Jace off me and let me have my tantrum in peace.  After a minute I pull myself together and start trying to undo the mess caused by my torrential downpour.  Like it really matters what I look like.  I'm barely even human...  I'm the mythical creature known as a mom.... Anyway, I look out the window and there is Jace getting that effing ball that he was after in the first place.  In between my first thoughts of "who will watch my kids while I go on an adult's only all inclusive retreat" and my gut impulse to beat my head against the wall I hear this:

Jace:  Ewwwwwww!!!!!  There is poop on my toes!  It's diarrhea!!!

Which brings me to my final parenting bummer.  In every other situation in life there is such joy in saying, "I told you so."  Not so for a mom.  All it means for a mom is that there's another mess to be cleaned....

If only all this had happened after I watched "Footloose".  I could have avoided all the tears and just stomped around pulling at my shirt and tossing my hair.  Added stress release if you can find a chain hanging from a ceiling somewhere that you can swing yourself around on with lots of smoldering drama....  At least it seemed to work in the movie.  **sigh**