Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do I amaze you? Only because you know so little about what's going on....

Kat cracked me up tonite with her sweet comment:

Have I ever mentioned my amazement at your energy and creativity? :)

Kat, my friend, I thank you for that. But after the past day/week that I have been having, it seemed ironically, tragically, puzzlingly, insanely laughable. As in, laughing myself into an insane stupor.

Tonite we had a birthday party to celebrate our son's 11th birthday. Although it all went well and he is very, very happy with how his big day went, it was fraught with a bunch of stress and I-feel-like-a-terrible-mother angst.

This year has had me feeling off-the-rails for many reasons. We were hit with a super stressful bunch of crap in November that dragged on and on and only just resolved this month. Christmas shopping was a struggle. I never wrote a Christmas letter or sent out cards or gave anything nice to a single one of our very wonderful neighbors.

In March our "birthday season" rolled around. All of the birthdays at our house fall between March and August. We have one in mid-March, 2 back-to-back in early April, others in April (for extended family), a single birthday for May, June, July, and August. Each birthday seemed to catch me off guard. "Oh crap! Another birthday! What the heck?!" and then I would begin the dance of the overwhelmed mother with no energy or creativity. What to get? What's the budget? Am I too late to order it online? Do we have to have a party?"

Sadly, my feelings about several of these should-be-special days was just great relief at crossing another one off of my list. The pressure felt terrible, I was unprepared, and felt like crap because it's not like I don't have fair warning that everybody gets a birthday every 12 months.

To make matters worse, I totally blanked out on my mom's birthday AND Mother's Day AND my grandmother's birthday. Which is terrible and I still haven't recovered from it. I love my mom and grandmother both a ton. But it was like my brain was broken. I could see the dates away on the horizon and would think, "Hey, I need to think of a gift to send..." and then all of the sudden the day was upon me or past me and I would think, "Shoot! I missed it. And I still have no idea what to get." I guess I could have sent flowers still, and maybe I should have. But it seemed like a cop-out and a lie. Because really I was just too mentally exhausted to think of anything or do anything about it.

For this birthday I had fair warning. These kids start telling me what they want for their birthdays p-l-e-n-t-y far in advance, and I even had a nice itemized list of what Jake wanted for his special day. Finances have been tight, so I was holding off on the purchasing, which meant payday this past Friday. My husband and I decided to do our shopping in The Big City Saturday night, which would include not only a trip to the health food store, but also birthday shopping. As it turned out, I guess my brain power was on low again, because we skipped our chance to go to Toys R Us to look for the stuff, mainly because we also had to go to Walmart and I was confident that we would find the stuff there.

And that was a bad, bad gamble. Because they had neither of the two most-desired gifts that my son wanted. Which was not good.

I was already exhausted, sleep deprived, and stressed from a bunch of other things during the week, and now I had no gifts for my child. And his party was today.

My husband's solution to this was so simply do an IOU sort of thing, and get the stuff for him later. And that just wasn't what I wanted to do. My kid told me well in advance what he wished for, and it was due to our own lack of planning and whatever that we were in this situation. My kid deserved to have actual gifts, not 3x5 cards to dash his hopes of a special new Lego set or cool new game to play with. I was determined to drive back to The Big City on Sunday after church and track down his gifts, by hook or by crook. (and I did)

Well, I could go on and on, but basically, I had plenty of ammunition in my brain to remind me of ways that I feel like I have been failing my kids and not being the kind of mother I want to be. I am sick of being unprepared, being too tired, being behind and late and sorry.

I thought of this mothering manifesto I used to have on my wall back in the olden days before I had 6 kids to homeschool, businesses to run, and a million more business ideas running through my brain. I thought about how so often I feel that I am not doing what I want to be doing and should be doing. And I feel like it is time to get back to the basics around here. No, it won't mean that I'm quitting my businesses. That's important in it's own way and has a worthy place in my life too. But I know that I am off the rails on several fronts that can be repaired and renewed.

Some people would excuse me and say that I have plenty of reasons to not be doing so great. 6 kids! Multiple businesses! Husband works a lot! Whatever! Yes, well those things are true, but I also know that I find plenty of time to waste and avoid doing things that need to be done. Though I will never be a perfect mother or home manager, I can certainly do better than this.

It is nice that sometimes people say very complimentary things to me about what it is that they see of my life. But I am never fooled by other people's opinions of me. There is always a whole lot more going on than the bit that gets revealed. And that's true for all of us. Isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Oh! I am sorry if I said anything to upset you. :( I just enjoy reading your blog and you are very much more talented in the creativity department than I (if I can make a stick figure I am doing well!). Life is not perfect...but for me you are still a (still in progress as we all are) good model for me in many ways. You love your kids and husband and you find joy in them...pretty cool in my book!

Dollymama said...

Kat you didn't upset me. It was just funny that you said that, considering how down I have been feeling lately. It was good for me to air it out. Today has been much better.