Handling Everything at Once

I distinctly remember the week before MLK day in 2007. It’s a weird time to remember, ten years ago but it vividly sticks out in my mind. Monday I began my master’s program. Tuesday I switched classrooms at work. Wednesday hubby and I officially got engaged. Thursday I broke my foot. And Friday an ice storm moved in and we spent the entire 3-day weekend unable to leave the house.

A few weeks later I was hot, stressed mess and hubby couldn’t figure out why. I remember screaming at him “because everything happened in one single week!” And that’s how my life seems to go.

Almost three years later, we were visiting hubby’s family for Thanksgiving, we had found out the day before we left that I was expecting Sugarplum and that Black Friday we got the call that we were moving to Dublin in January.

Two years ago, I turned crazy. I blamed baby Pipsqueak inside of me (hoping he was sucking the goodness out of me and it would pass after he arrived.) And while I’ve had my good moments and I try my hardest to not be a raging lunatic, I unfortunately can’t say I’ve calmed down much.

But hindsight is an amazing thing and now I can see exactly where everything went sour for me:

August 2014 we began our homeschooling journey.

and four days later my Gran’ma passed away. She was my last grandparent and we had lost two of hubby’s grandparents that year.

That fall, I got more serious about blogging but it wasn’t easy as Facebook, Pinterest and others changed the way they delivered information.

In November, Doodle had his first “episode” and first trip to the ER as I struggled with learning how to feed him with his special dietary needs.

December 2014 we found out our hope of returning to Dublin was not a reality just days before I found out we were unexpectedly expecting Pipsqueak and I spent most of those early months unable to get off the couch.

That fall and winter, we visited Denver, New York City, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. and

It was a lot, all at once. But it’s didn’t end there.

The spring of 2015 we lost hubby’s Grammy, our very last great-granparent.

And in May we moved to our new house, 30+ minutes away from everything we had ever known, to an area we were unfamiliar with and everything we knew just far enough away to make it inconvenient to go back.

That summer we got to go back and visit Dublin which was amazing but the more than two weeks away derailed my unpacking and home organizing.

And then, of course, in September we welcomed Pipsqueak and that same week the girls began dance, gymnastics and homeschool classes at all new places.

We’ve settled into our new life. I feel like I’m managing four okay and we’ve made some wonderful new, lifelong friends.

But it hasn’t settled down. Life just seems to stay crazy and just when I think I’ve got a handle on it, more piles on top of me all at once (like last week when my sister was visiting, I had a few big blog deadlines and all my kids got sick.)

I’ve struggled with managing everything, I consistently feel like a failure at all life things.  And while I try to keep my positive outlook and I do make a concerted effort to be on my best behavior, I still find myself lashing out at people who are simply trying to help lighten my burden (usually my husband, kids or mommy).

My husband (thankfully) is an avid cleaner but I find myself lashing out at him when he criticizes the chaos around our house instead of helping and his response is always “I don’t help because everything I do is wrong.”  But that isn’t at all how it feels to me.

I confessed to him a while ago that I feel like I live on another planet.  I, apparently, see things differently than other people and it frustrates the hell out of me when people don’t comprehend what seems like common sense to me.  It is also exhausting and overwhelming.  And it’s cause me to feel like I need to do everything because if I don’t it won’t be the way I like it.  Or, really, the way I feel I need it to be.

I need things to be easy.  I need to know where things are because if I can’t find it it’s nearly impossible to get my husband on the phone to ask him where he put it (and then there’s the very real possibility that he won’t even remember having touched it at all.)  I need things arranged a certain way so I can quickly access and use them when I need to because there are never enough seconds in my life before I get overwhelmed and lose all interest in doing anything at all.

I’ve realized recently that it’s not a control issue in the sense that I need things done a certain way like someone with OCD needs things a particular way.  It’s more that I feel so out of control with everything in my life that I am constantly grasping at any tiny chance I get to actually feel like I am in control of something.  So while having help sounds like a good thing, really it causes me more stress because not doing them my way makes my life feel more chaotic.

And while I can sit here and tell myself I need to just let it go, the thought of finding the time to “let” other people help is too much for me.  Because the entire time people are doing things for me that I think I need to be doing my mind is racing with “that’s not right,” “I’ll have to fix that later,” “that’s not how I like it,” “I could have had that done by now,” “that’s not how I need it,” and I get nothing else done in the meantime because I’m too distracted.

I’m well aware that this all makes me look like a total wackadoo over here (and yes, it’s a word…I looked it up because I also can’t hit publish on something if I doubt the spelling or meaning of something) but really, I’m just trying to maintain some amount of sanity in my world where there is never enough time, energy or patience. In my life where I am alone most of the time trying to care for, raise, educate and just plain manage 4 kids.

I try so hard to relax and take it as it comes but then the expectations just pile up and the inadequacy feels more intense and the feelings of failure are inevitable and I eventually just feel like giving up altogether. Except I can’t because if I do, everything falls apart.

When I stop trying, the house becomes a disaster, the kids constantly argue with each other and me, I don’t accomplish anything worthwhile and everyone is miserable. Except nobody notices but me because it doesn’t usually last very long and it’s all put back together before other people even know that I’ve given up.

But I know. And those moments dig away at me little by little as life.

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