Thursday, June 2, 2011

Capacity (this is a long one, baby)

FACT: I am good at managing a house and a schedule, but . . .
FACT: kids are neither a house nor a schedule.
FACT: I do not like this.

When we are home, I do pretty well with the ebb and flow of little ones. I can handle an illness, teething, and off-days. I can keep a clean home, cook fairly healthful meals, and even host others for playdates and dinner parties. But I do not do well when I have several things to do in a day or when something is out of routine, like in traveling.

(And by not doing well, I mean I have a short fuse which ends up burning those closest to me.)

Tuesday, for instance, what should have been music to my ears was a total annoyance. Coralie said my name ("Mom", not even "Mommy"-- when did this switch happen?) at least ten dozen times. I should have been able to smile at this and have the way her little voice sounds imprint on my memory, but instead I did enough (irritated) sighing to inflate a blimp. She wanted a snack, wondered if she could watch a video, needed assistance on dressing one of her dolls, wanted a drink, wondered what Madeline was doing, wondered what our schedule for the rest of the day was, wanted to wear pants instead, wanted me to watch her jump, and on and on and on. I wanted to re-orient myself to being home, work on my to-do list for the week, catch up on my blogs, upload photos, and write a few posts.

Last weekend at the lake, we had a very rushed Sunday morning trying to get all of us dressed and out the door by 9:45. We were going to be gone until after lunch, so I had to make sure I had not only church activities for the girls but also lunch accessories for the girls. I was doing just great until Mads wouldn't stop screaming in the van on the way to church. No one sitting near her could calm her down (not their fault), so Ryan had to pull over so we could do what amounted to a Chinese fire drill so I could sit next to her and calm her down. Done. Then, only slightly frazzled, we headed into church. Madeline wouldn't sit quietly for very long (she wanted to tear the song book instead, and we wouldn't let her), so Ryan took her out to the nursery. That left me to manage a curious three-year-old. In a tiny country church. In the second row. She was crawling under the pews, standing up, digging through my purse, asking why the preacher got so loud all of a sudden, and generally causing me anxiety because she wasn't sleeping like Grandpa was.

After church, everyone said how well Coralie behaved during the service. I was relieved they thought so, but this made me think I was taking crazy pills. Was my expectation for her to sit still way out of line? Can I not handle normal kid behaviors?

Then all eight of us piled in the van again to go to Grandpa's restaurant of choice. Thirty minutes away. Madeline was exhausted and unhappy still. Then we learned that after arriving at the restaurant and eating (and feeding Madeline solids and managing Coralie's burger-to-fry ratio and drink spillage and and and), we would have to go to Walmart to pick up a bottle of eyeglass cleaner (random, I KNOW). After all that, we would finally be able to make the thirty-minute drive home (while trying to bottle-feed Madeline, which is never a pleasant task) to put the girls down for a nap (which also involves potty-ing and diaper changing) an hour and a half late.

I was so wound up about all of this! Kids just further reduce my normally paltry go-with-the-flow attitude. Ryan and I both became snippy, which I am not proud about. (In our defense, this would not have sent us into a tizzy at home. The combination of Coralie's shortened naps and night-time sleep and Mads' skipping of her morning nap made all four of us extra cranky and inflexible.)

*VERY IMPORTANT NOTE* We were not at all frustrated by the people we were with or the places they wanted to go. The mature part of us was actually so, so happy to oblige Grandma and Grandpa and go to church with them, eat at their restaurant of choice, and help them run errands. This anecdote is not meant to be a complaint-- it is just an illustration of how frazzled I can become for the most ridiculous reasons.

I don't really ever hear of other young parents feeling like this, stressed out because kids are being kids. And most people our parent's age only say how precious having small children is. They never talk about the stress of daily life or the short fuse or the insane amount of times a day one hears one's own name called.

I guess what I am trying to learn is whether or not I am normal? I'm not trying to fix this about myself (yet, anyway). . . I just want to know if this is unique to me or not. Is there something about me so totally un-suited to having small children, or does everyone feel like this most days?

I do love my children, and I love being with them and playing with them, but managing them? Not my fav thing to do.

Thoughts, anyone?


  1. I am the same way. I'm very schedule oriented so if we have to do something out of the ordinary, I try to deal with it. But, like you, I get irritated when others aren't exactly thoughtful to others with small kids. I try to make it known "if we are going out to lunch, we need to go now and have it be quick." Or if we have to go get something, "make it a very quick stop, otherwise we can't go." I might be a brat, but I'm the one who has to deal with my child being cranky and not them. I would blog about it too but everyone I would "complain about" reads my blog. Ha!

  2. Being stressed out about kids being kids IS normal to me, ha! I really think that when people say being a parent is nothing but rainbows and happiness, they are lying right to our faces. Just yesterday morning I had a bit of a meltdown - Izzy wouldn't let me go to the bathroom, go the kitchen to get something to drink, or pick my freaking nose without tugging on me, crying for me to hold her on the couch. So, I basically had a meltdown because Izzy loves me and wanted to be with me. What. Is. Wrong. With. Me. But, the more I think about it, the more I cut myself some slack. Everyone that's honest about being a mom will tell you they've had the same moments. I absolutely love my daughter and am so thankful I'm able to stay at home with her. But yes, sometimes (pretty much all the time) I think there is something wrong with me for not being able to handle the hicups that come along with being a mom.