Thursday, July 08, 2010

Confessions of a Grouchy Mom

   A little over a decade ago, I decided to write a book. It was titled. The Dog Ate the Cuisenaire Rods..the not so glamorous side of homeschooling.  I spent about 2 years on this book..daily. And then? The boys wiped the entire thing out of my computer playing with magnets! I decided to let it go. After all, I had no agent, no contract..just a story. Or so I thought.

  Well..after looking over the past few posts, I realize that I appear to have mildly glamorized life as a stay-home mom. Oops. Never my intention. Especially, after my behavior in the past week.

It all started innocently enough. I watched a movie about a women's college. It reminded me of my fairly elitist childhood.

  Then? Cody and I went shopping. He bought a suit. Some shoes, got a haircut..and we went to the Gap.He had a gift card from Christmas!
 Big Mistake. I saw lots of cool clothes. (and I am not usually a shopping kinda gal)..and the looping in my head began.

 I looked at what I was wearing.(sigh) Hand me down jeans. Hand me down t-shirt with spit-up. Scuffed up shoes. A baby.I saw cool clothes that one day I could wear. Maybe..like when I work again.

I let myself imagine what it would be like to wear them.

I thought about the women in the hair salon where Cody was getting his hair done.(sigh again) They were pulled together. I was frazzled..and in desperate need of a haircut. I was carrying a baby and didn't have the funds anyway.

I know what I want. Really.

You know..a Diane Keaton sort- of cut..only with different color..like not gray. I'm not ready for gray.

Also? My bifocals..not cool. I can use the ones I have when I read.
But I want just plain old glasses..ones that are not so bulky (a requirement with bifocals) with transitions. 

So..essentially, I began to reinvent myself..on the outside. Except? It's not feasible..ya' know..financially.

Why? Because I am not a paycheck player anymore!

I tell Cody in the car that I am applying as a substitute in some private schools in SA (I am, actually) Cody..with his new clothes and haircut looks at me in exasperation and says I THOUGHT you were staying home! (Cody has his own unique wiring..so inconsistencies?..a bit uncomfortable)

I am, I assure him. I'm getting you and your brother through high-school. I haven't forgotten about this little guy. (Levi screaming from car-seat) However..I don't know how long your Dad's health is going to hold out (true statement) and I want to keep some options open..just in case.and besides ( I say with a grin) I want cool clothes too.

Cody rolls his eyes..after all..moms are not cool. THAT is a given.

So..you're going to spend your money on gas and clothes?

Before you decide this is one super spoiled kid..just know, our kids almost NEVER ask for anything. Which is why, when they do? We want to provide the best we can. They have also (my kids) had to play second string to Club kids for a long time. Time spent with them is l-o-n-g overdue.


I tell him to quit being so dramatic. Be kind. I tell him, Kindness is a good thing.

..and over the next week I begin to slowly get more and  more frustrated.

Relying on someone else for an income is always a humbling experience.

Big B is a generous guy. We share his income.  Most of it goes to support our kids...you know..things like food, and co-pays. 

Fast forward to 4th of July weekend. We are at a party.  It was lots of fun. We have my nephews with us.

Oh..you had a baby. says anonymous guest. I didn't know you were pregnant. 

I laugh. It's my nephew. He's just hangin' with us for now. 

Are you sure? You LOOK like you just had a baby?

How do you respond to that?
I mean..you know..you're wearing that just had a baby look.


I change the subject..and remember how at least 4 nurses at the hospital walked into the room where my sister, the baby and myself were sleeping..and said..So..you're grandma?

I mean come on..my sister is only 3 years younger than me! Good grief..I  think, I really want that haircut! (because at this time in my looping..haircut is the solution for everything..)

..and then yesterday? The boys leave to play ultimate frisbee.

Big B calls. He is on his way home..no side jobs, nothing.

I think..AHA..we could have dinner..just the two of us.

I make fish (at his request) because I haven't cooked anything he likes in a long time..and I want to. I look forward to having a dinner with just us. ..and you got it . He doesn't come home. He stopped by a friend's garage, so eventually he returns...but by then? I'm done.

I decide to feel sorry for myself. I focus on the fact that I don't even have shampoo I like. Just the guys shampoo.

I whine about shampoo. Big B takes me to the store to buy shampoo.

Then? I get really angry that I have to ask him to pay for my shampoo!

I have convinced myself that the fact we both allow ourselves a certain amount of money for the week is irrelevant. I just happened to spend mine on..you got it..one of the boys..and it was something they needed (not wanted) Meaning? I had no money for things like shampoo.

I am not being nice. I am being extremely unkind..and I can't seem to stop!

I hate it when that happens.

The boys return home.

Austen looks pale..beginning of migraine pale. I am starved. Cody wouldn't let me eat..he kept telling me to suck it up.

I send Austen to the fish dinner since it hadn't been eaten and all.

I start to fuss at Cody. Who responds. I DID NOT! I don't feel good...my head hurts!" 

They banter back and forth...and I blow up. Telling them to quit behaving like this. I'm sick of it, etc. I fuss at Cody for being unkind. I fuss at Austen for not listening to Cody.

In exasperation I look at Big B and say Do something! Talk to them..they can't keep behaving this way!"


Big B..just nods his head and watches t.v.

I start to remember a job add I saw for a private girls highschool in SA. I am so tempted to apply.

  and then I do the math? Tutors for the boys, gas, clothes (yes..I would need clothes), someone to cook food for Austen if we aren't here to do so..and I know it is not an option.

I continue my pity party. While Big B goes to sleep! 

 I wonder..how he can do that.

Austen withdraws to his room.

Cody takes a shower.

I begin to feel guilty.

I spend some time with Cody. It is not that I don't care he doesn't feel well. It's not that his brother is a "favored one".

It's that Austen is simply more medically fragile

Cody and I spend a lot of time discussing the effects of swelling in the brain stem, scarring of a frontal lobe, thalesemia, hypoglycemia..chronic pulmonary disorder, etc. Stuff  I haven't taken the time to really explain to Cody.

The importance of monitoring our diets for Austen. Not because we don't care about what the rest of the house wants..but because when Austen starts to get sick..it really scares me. I realize, I am simply waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Poor Cody..still fighting a headache through all the medical info overload. But asking genuine questions..I give him an aspirin..and bite my tongue and refrain from saying Here's an aspirin..see how lucky you are. Your brother can't take one. I refrain, because that? Would be tacky..and I have been tacky enough already.

I remember that anger is a secondary emotion. Austen looks and feels (overall) healthier now than he ever has..other than his weekly migraines. I am really angry at circumstances, not my family. Not feeling broke.

I kiss Cody on the head and tell him goodnight.


This morning over coffee, Big B and I talk. I ask him to bear with me..because I am not transitioning as gracefully as I would like.

We review our options. We contemplate again..whether he should stay home and I work..and then I panic. Why? Because I WANT to be the one here...because being the sole bread winner is a scary thing..and because I don't want to miss what is going on around here..even when we are all not-so-nice.

..and that is yet, another, AHA moment.

3 comments:

Christina said...

Karl Jung called them strengths and shadows; in the business world we call it polarity management. No matter what you tag all this with, it sucks to be in the middle of it. I understand the push-pull and that sometimes you (I) really want one side more than the other; thank goodness for that moment when the benefits of the other side pop up again.

Wants and needs - do you know someone that you can barter a haircut from? or do you have a couple of girlfriends that you can have a "spa night" with - just a couple of hours of doing each other's hands & feet, drinking a little wine, and giggling. It doesn't have to cost money to bring you the escape you need. Good luck.

Sardine Mama said...

So who told you you look like you just had a baby at my party? You do not. You do, however, look like someone who is trying to take care of a newborn without being able to nurse a newborn. So what? And you DO NOT look like his grandmother. I've been called Jasper's grandmother. It sucks. I know how you're feeling at times...I had to buy a dress for Hannah's wedding and I got caught up in the cute clothes and what the eff has happened to my life loop...then I see my kids and I'm like, "oh yeah, that happened." Shall we start planning that retreat? Hair looks awesome btw!

grillledcheesechic said...

yes..retreat, retreat!

AND, I am not telling, she truthfully meant no harm. Just being factual and making conversation. I think she was so stunned that there was a baby (other than Max..she was expecting Max) She just said what she was thinking...only outloud.

It's all good;)