Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This Ain't Working

Two or is it three?  weeks into summer, and we still have not exactly found our rhythm.  And unlike summers in the past, there is no camp or trip to Nana and Poppa's to look forward to. (shhhh, I haven't broken the bummer news on that last one yet.) Going into summer, I had just one or two expectations, (or so I thought), of being relaxed with the kids and just hanging out around the pool, combating my workaholicism.  I even talked with a friend about helping one another plan fun things to do. 

So far, it has been anything but relaxed.  I have found myself totally on edge, snapping at everyone, frustrated with myself, and downright angry with the kids.  I am appalled by my own behavior, alternating between making excuses and making lists for myself.  "How's the workaholic thing going, Vanessa?"  I would say kinda lousy.

Finally, in a sit-down with Robb (punctuated by at least 4 interruptions), it starts to clear up for me.  I'm a work-at-home mom and I just added three people into my life and routine.  And then I wondered why it wasn't working. Duh. I failed to adjust my expectations.  Summer means kids, pool and garden need my attention now too.  It's no wonder I was angry and on edge. I've been trying to do too much. 

I've been reading Geri Scazzero's book "I Quit."  Geri is Peter Scazzero's wife and co-writer of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality book that Robb and I read last summer and then studied as a church together at Vintage this year.  I'd like to have coffee with Geri.  Actually, I would have liked to have coffee with Geri when I was 25.  That would have been really helpful.  Last night I was reading her chapter on Anger, Sadness and Fear.  It seems so elemental, but she wrote, "Through anger, God may help us discover what we really want, get us to pay attention to  even deeper emotions, help us identify unmet expectations and sometimes, see the folly of our sin." 

I was annoyed with myself for being angry. It didn't match with what I wanted to be this summer. I felt defeated by my emotions as I saw myself pushing Robb and the kids away by my brusque attitude.  I could feel myself slipping further and further into a negative quicksand that I couldn't seem to escape. 

Now what?  Well, I'm blogging.  That's healthy.  I'm having coffee with a first time to get out of the house alone can't remember exactly.   I've asked Robb to make dinner a couple of nights a week and help with menus to help shoulder the load of feeding my three charming Bottomless Pits three times a day.  And I've made a schedule for the days that helps me keep track of what I need to accomplish daily. And we realized how much we have missed our family morning prayers since school ended, so we're trying to have them in the evening now.  Probably the biggest difference, though, is recognizing unrealistic expectations.

So I'm curious about other work-at-home moms and dads.  How are you managing your summer work-load? 


natalie said...

vanessa, i would LOVE to take the kiddos off your hands once every two weeks or so. i know they do not know me all that well (not at all actually, hah!), but i love having fun & learning with kids. also, the company would be nice :). just let me know when you are free. i have to travel to fayetteville for groceries, errands & CULTURE pretty often. i am thinking a morning or two every month so you can get a break & just "be." let me know your thoughts.

Ness said...

Natalie, you are amazing.

You know what would be awesome? If Mattie could hang out with you. Charleigh can play her brains out and Vin has buddies in the neighborhood, but a day out with somebody other than mom would be an amazing gift for my Mattie. You two would have a blast together!

natalie said...

that sounds great & i'll bring madelyn along :)! once your family is out of town, just call me (ask kathy or message me if you don't have my number) & we can arrange a date & time!

Jonathan, Lyndsy and Heath Manz said...

Sounds like I need to read Geri's book. Those are some powerful insights. I am totally guilty of such things. The most recent- having Jonathan navigate me in the wrong direction then go to sleep as I drove 50 miles to Kentucky instead of Virginia. The ration in my head kept telling my emotions to let it go, but man oh man did my emotions want to just scream. I wanted to spit I was so angry, instead I just swore and gave death glares and honked at other cars pissing me off. So I'm working on debriefing all that and thinking that our EHS study is probably some good reflection material. =)

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