my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

July 30, 2015

controlling the volume of my voice

one thing that i have always appreciated is silence. it's not that i have ever taken it for granted and then am reminded of how awesome it is when the kids are away (like now). no, i have always loved the quiet. as soon as they go to bed, i shut off the tv and just sit. even when my hubby and i are up watching shows together, and we stay up much later than we should to watch just one more show on netflix, even then when he wanders off to bed and wants me to join him, i will sit in the silence of my living room for a little.

too much noise has always been too much for me. when the world around me gets too loud, the voices and thoughts that are constant in my head start turning up the volume. then everything feels like it's shouting and i can't reason or think or function. i feel swallowed up by the noise. i need quiet to breath and to think and to calm myself. because if things stay too loud for too long, i feel like i get wound up, going around and around, tighter and tighter until i can't breath. and then i feel like screaming.

so yes, i appreciate the quiet, i enjoy the silence, i need to be noise free everyday to recharge and regroup. but in this house, with three boisterous children? silence doesn't happen. not very often during their waking hours at least. as they all get older, they have gotten louder. they shout over each other, vying for my attention, until they are literally yelling at me and i can't process what they are saying. so they yell louder, thinking that turning up the volume will help with understanding.

i am trying my very best to get them all to understand that being loudest doesn't mean that you win, it's the one with the best reasoned argument that gets the point. also that taking turns speaking means that everyone can be heard, and it doesn't matter if you were the first one talking, and it really doesn't matter if you get the last word in. most days, though, these finer points of debate are lost on my children.

and so they talk loudly at me, as excited kids do, and they talk very loudly at each other, to make sure they are heard. then, so that i know i am heard, i talk louder over them all to get them to be quiet. there have been many days when my husband has come home from work and heard me yelling at them for quiet, i can only imagine what my neighbors think.

today i go and pick up all my kids from their grandparents, with whom they stayed this last week. and though it might make me sound like a terrible mother, i would love to leave them there for a few more days. i don't mind physically taking care of them anymore, making dinner everyday and making sure they've bathed, picking up after them and laundry and driving them places and all the other million things that make up my day. no, all of that gives me something to do. i am loathe to get them because i will miss the quiet.

July 27, 2015

13 years

i am not sure how it happened, but i woke up this morning and realized today is my 13 year wedding anniversary. it's still boggles my mind. it also happens to be the 15 year anniversary of our first date, because back then we were super sappy and decided to marry on our dating anniversary.

ok, full disclosure, i wasn't super sappy. i'm not still. but for whatever reason, the people i knew felt like remembering when you went on your first date was an important milestone, as was when you had your first kiss and your first... everything else. but i'm terrible at dates, so i decided to make it simple for myself and have just one anniversary date. especially since i knew there would be eventual children's birthdays to remember and i have a habit of losing my calender. so that is the real reason we picked this date to get married.

well, i picked it. my hubby back then didn't care what the date of the ceremony was, as long as it was happening. like i said, i'm not super sappy, never was never will be i suppose, but he is and always was. he likes to say that he knew from the moment he saw me that he would marry me. and he did try for a very long time. like he kept asking me to marry him early on. i didn't exactly put him off, i just told him i wanted to take it slowly. so we dated for a while. then, because i'm very particular about my home environment, we moved in together to see if we could successfully share a space. and things seemed to go along pretty well so i decided that we might as well get hitched.

i was very practical back then, i tried to be very rational, and there are benefits to being married, through jointly filing taxes and sharing health insurance and such, and so because we got along so well, i said yes. less then six months later, we were married at a very intimate ceremony that we planned and paid for ourselves. honestly, i do have some regrets over how we handled "our special day," but i never regret saying yes.

as someone with a dark history like mine, i had very few qualifications when it came to finding someone to spend my life with. first and foremost was someone that would always be there for me. they didn't have to be the best person for the job, or the most qualified, or even the most capable, but i needed them to be there, to keep trying no matter what happened and to never give up. because i know how crazy and terrible and wonderful life can be, and i needed someone who would help drag me through the bad times and stand by me through the good times. i never needed fiery passion or butterflies in the stomach, i needed a rock and a support, and i knew i had that when i met my husband all those years ago.

and there have been trials and hardships, dark times and tragedies. we haven't always gotten along, but we've always been together. and there have been many good times too that we've celebrated together, wondrous joys that i never thought i'd find in this life. intense emotions can sometimes fade over time, but i knew that finding someone who grounds me and supports me and can lift me up when i need it, would help me get more out of life than i ever thought possible.

July 24, 2015

guilt and shame and selfishness and motherhood

i could write pages and pages on guilt and shame. i feel guilty over everything, whether it was my fault, whether it was beyond my control or not, whether i even actually did anything or not. and when my anxiety flares up so much that i am frozen in place and can't actually do anything, then i remember things that i did in my past to feel guilty about, or i feel guilty about all the terrible thoughts running through my head, even when i don't act on them or share them with anybody else.

and the shame, oh the shame. i feel shame for feeling guilty about all the things that i know in my rational mind i shouldn't feel guilty about. i feel shame about who i am on the most basic level, so much some days that i can barely function. and so starts the cycle over again.

now, if i had another life, i don't know if i would still feel like this all the time, if i would always find some crazy, not my fault, thing to feel guilty about, but i am a mother, a job with guilty built right in. any failing on my children's part i take as my personal failing, and so i feel guilty for it. every time i failed to protect them (even if i tried and they didn't listen), i feel guilty. all the times that i feel like i should be doing something with them, something more helpful or enriching or pinterest inspired perfect, and i'm not, i feel guilty.

and then comes the shame of feeling that i've failed them. or that i can't be the mom that they deserve. or that if i was somehow magically better or different or not me, they'd all have the perfect life. and so i feel ashamed of just being me, even if that's all i can be.

this is all to say that, because of all my shame and guilt and random feeling bad for not being enough, i don't take much for myself. like ever. even the times i actually need a break from them, some time away to recharge, or really need to buy myself things to replace falling apart shoes or clothes worn through, i don't. i feel like i have such little time to give them, with taking care of this home and running the household and trying to find time to spend with each of them individually, that i don't have any time left over to take for myself. (unless i forgo sleep, but running days on little sleep with no way to catch up doesn't make things better.) and i don't go out and buy things for myself, even when my hubby says i should, because for every shirt i pick out for me, i think of all the other things i could be doing with that money. i know kids want things, they are kids and they want all the things, but as their mom i want to try to give them all the things that i can.

and so most days it all comes down to the fact that i feel guilty for not giving them everything i think they deserve and in the same breath feeling guilty for not taking better care of myself so i can take better care of them. i know i need to be selfish, but taking time to relax and then feeling guilty the whole time isn't terribly relaxing. i'm still striving to find a balance, something that works for everyone that i can feel good about. some days i feel closer to it than others, and i think i'll know when i achieve it. i've been a mommy for almost 12 years, maybe in another 12 i'll find it.

July 22, 2015

droning on and on and on

let me preface this post with the fact that i love my kids, i really do, and hopefully no matter what i say that fact remains unquestionable. there are many facts, many truths, that pop in my life, some which seem contradictory. such as the fact i love my kids, but there are days that i can't stand them. that they are a joy to be around, but i really don't want to be around them all the time. that i know they love each other and miss each other when they are apart, but they fight like cats and dogs when they are together, and i am surprised there hasn't been more blood spilled (literally) when they do get into scrapes.

but what is true for all relationships is true for a mother and child bond, that i can love them more than anything but that doesn't mean that i love everything about them. such is another one of those tricky truths that i am working hard to accept. and it doesn't mean that i want to change them, because they are not clones of me, they are their own people with their own personalities. still, they have these little quirks that drive me up the wall, such as monologging.

seriously, they monolog like super villans, talking on and on with no pause, whether i am listening or not, whether i am trying to pay attention to something else or not, about whatever they are doing or thinking. and i've told them before that i don't care, i've told them before that i am busy and if they want to talk to me they need to say "excuse me" and wait for my attention, and i've told them that if they want to narrate their own life, they should try to do it quietly in their heads and not bother other people. or write everything down on a stupid blog on the internet.

really, i haven't said most of those things to my lovely children, even though i've thought them, because i have enough guilt from all the things without adding that i yell at them to shut up. i have become adept at tuning them out though, because all the rambling and senseless talking drains me. i can't handle all the noise, the way that i recharge is in silence. too much sound overwhelms me, it's really one of the main reasons that i don't like going out places or doing things with other people. i have so much going on in my own head, too much sound on the outside makes the voices on the inside shout that much louder. and then i'm done, all panicked and crying in a corner, social anxiety for the win.

so yes, i love my children. and i do love that they are creative and imaginative and expressive and clever. i want to know what is going on in their heads and in their lives, what their opinions are and views on life, just some days i'd like the cliff notes version.

July 21, 2015

starting again

i am floating along and feel like life is missing something but i'm not honestly sure what that is. and so i've decided to bring back into my life some of the things i used to have and use and do, things that gave me a small sense of happiness, so see if that might be what i am lacking. so i'm reading more and writing more, and now i've decided to try blogging again. not that it ever made a huge social impact, but this was really all for me anyway.

which is really the point, isn't it? making something now that is for me and about me and from me, which all sounds terribly selfish, but it's important to be selfish sometimes. for so long my life has been lived only in relation to those around me, my hubby and my kids, they took all of my time. in truth, i gave them all of my time, i can't stand back and blame them for not living a life of my own. i let myself be defined by my family. and along the way, i lost myself. but as my children grow older and more self sufficient, i find i have more time on my hands that i can be using to do the things i like to do. though it's been so long, i've kind of lost what those things are. which brings us back to this, rambling on, stream of consciousness style, about whatever pops into my head, whether or not it has anything to do with those who share this roof. because maybe, along the way, it'll help to remind me of who i am, beyond "mom."