Thursday, June 17, 2021

You can't uncork a champagne bottle slowly

(This post is primarily a massive vent-fest and has been intentionally left mostly unedited. Consider yourself warned).


The title of this post is the mental picture that surfaced when I thought about the waves of feels I’ve been riding this week. Once you pull the cork, out comes the contents, often with great force (and hopefully with some celebratory bubbles thrown in there somewhere too).

I thought I was mostly fine, or at least, I wasn’t expecting such a sudden outpouring of emotion when I allowed myself to slow down and actually consider all that was running through my mind. I’m so tired. That’s the root issue at hand. The fact that school is “out” for the summer tomorrow feels like some sick joke to me. It’s hard to rejoice in something being “out” when it feels as though it wasn’t ever fully “in.” I’m daunted by the idea of 5 days a week of kids at home with me, needing someone to create for them structure, needing for someone to keep them safe, needing for someone to take care of their every need. Perhaps this is what we all signed up for as parents but I will bet half of what is sitting in my savings account right now that no parent reading this will disagree with my saying that yes, we signed up for this, but we were also intended to shoulder this heavy load of rearing humans with a heck of a lot more support (and breaks!) than have availed themselves to us over the past 16 months of worldwide pandemic history in the making.

So yeah, I’m feeling really done. I have worked so hard to keep up my big girl panties and continue doing what I believe is being asked of me and oh man am I feeling over it. I’m so tired of being questioned. I’m so tired of people disagreeing. I have extreme decision fatigue. I’m so tired of having to weigh every situation and interaction and decide about the safety of extracurriculars because I am responsible for these 3 humans of mine, all of whom fall into the frustratingly grayer area where they ineligible for the vaccine. It's a lot to think about all the time.

Yesterday Emma made the following statement, completely out of nowhere: “I hear when you say thank you more, you are happier.”

It was humbling to hear the 4th-grade version of the importance gratitude come rolling off her tongue. Especially when not two days earlier, I had been venting to a friend how I know that eventually I will need to pull myself together and get out of this yucky ungrateful headspace and work on my level of contentment. But for right now, just for these couple of days, I wanted a guilt-free pass to just be tired with a side of angry. On a head level, I actually think this wish of mine is okay, essential even, a part of working through the layers of grief that this pandemic season has left in it’s wake. But it certainly is uncomfortable, especially when you have a constant narrator running in your head telling you that you are "supposed to be grateful" like I do. 

Some days though, it’s probably okay to just be tired. And overwhelmed. And weary.

I have to be honest. I really don’t want to do summer. Summer is typically a harder season for me to begin with – the lack of structure, the lack of alone time, the hours on end of parenting 3 humans with unique needs which means a one-size-fits-all technique never works. I kind of lost it on Graham last night when the topic of summer came up. I felt unfounded fury (which I’ve felt at various points throughout the pandemic) that he gets to LEAVE to go to work. This is entirely unfair as he is working his butt off at a very stressful job in order to pay the bills but in more clouded moments of overwhelm and desperation for a break that is approximately 1-2 months in length, these are the thoughts that surface. I am in a space this week where I would potentially give my left arm to be able to walk off the premises and release the care of my children (who, please hear me, despite the tone of these ventings, I do truly ADORE) to someone else whom I trusted. Do I really want to work full time? Heck no. Do I know what I would want to leave the premises to do? Heck no. Is that part of the problem? 100%.

So back to the title of this post. The cork came off the champagne bottle, and it's contents came out at full speed. In my emotional spewage, I expressed to Graham how I am so tired of shouldering all that I am. And how the monotony of my days makes me want to poke my eyes out. And how I feel like I have made zero progress toward anything in my time at home. He was stumped by this idea of progress. Progress toward what, he asked.

D-A-N-G-E-R! Abort mission! Whoops, wrong question to ask (poor guy – there really is zero winning in these sorts of situations).

I would pay money if I knew where I wanted to make progress! Progress toward greater contentment? Progress toward feeling fulfilled in my day to day? Perhaps finding a role somehow somewhere where I am compensated for my work? Sheesh. Pandemic or not, I certainly didn’t predict these inner wrestlings with "what I'm doing with my life" when I birthed my offspring! And I know I am not alone. I haven’t met a fellow mom yet who doesn’t struggle with satisfaction with their level of contribution. Should they be working more? Or working less? Kids grow us in ways we never foresaw coming.

So technically the cork actually came off the bottle in my therapy session at the beginning of the week. Last night's additional flow came after someone shook the bottle for another round. 😜 I almost canceled my appointment on Tuesday because I felt I had “nothing to talk about” (ha!) and was unenthused about spending an hour on a zoom call in awkward silence with my therapist. Surprise, surprise, I actually did have just a *couple* things on my heart that morning. As I launched into a tirade about my feeling so tired and done and trapped in the monotony of my life with a huge side of COVID stress, staring down summer with no sign of a break in sight, my therapist reminded me that I felt this way before, back when Jack was beginning kindergarten. I was wrestling with feeling unfilled and bored and wanting something new and different. I realized how much frustration I’m carrying that I am STILL in this same place. And then I remembered:


Oh yeah. That. 

Intellectually, I know that the pandemic has turned everything on it's head. But it’s super easy to lose sight of that fact in the moment and forget to extend grace for all that has gone on over the past 1 ½ years.

So many of us put our lives on hold. Our passions. The things we were hoping to pursue. Our free time. Without teaching certificates to our names, we have donned the role of “teacher,” spending hours upon hours, teaching, coaxing, motivating, reminding, dealing with technology we never wanted our children to have, trying to provide physical activity for them and us, supporting them emotionally and socially while also trying to keep them safe. We have spent 16 months protecting and fighting for these little humans, all the while trying to put on the we-can-do-this face so that no one loses their momentum (meanwhile, our own adult relationships have been put under massive strain but press on we must). Most of us have done all this without babysitters, without grandparents for a good portion of the time, without our communities of support, without daily in-person school to help shoulder the load.

It’s NO WONDER WE ARE SO FLIPPING TIRED. And that we kind of want to run away to a job, or a solo vacation or even to the woods all alone. When my therapist reflected back to me all that has been sacrificed this year, all the protecting of my people I have been doing, I totally lost it. I wanted to hug her through the screen and yell “THANK YOU!!! Thank you so much for saying that!” Suddenly it made complete sense that I was tired. Some of the guilt over feeling so many yucky emotions (like wanting to run away from my kids) lifted. Any sane human would feel this way after all that we’ve endured this year, all the closeness, no margins, no personal space.

Where do we go from here? This morning on my run, all of the songs that played on my Pandora station were about being tired and thirsty and coming to Jesus for eternal water. I found this super annoying that Jesus was being so in-my-face about needing to come to Him for sustenance. I knew that was ultimately where I would land, but I wasn’t there yet and I still wanted a hot minute to be mad and have a mini pity party and just be tired. I hate that I need to just wallow in the yuck for a bit but I’m working on being ok with it. As unattractive as it may be, I wonder if it’s not a part of the normal process to work our way through emotion and grief to get to the other side. It goes without saying that I had a major store up of rage-y tired emotions that were begging for release. I hope soon I can move to a place where I can get back on the saddle and hone in on "saying thank you more," to quote my 4th grader. But one day at a time.

I don’t know what exactly I’m hoping for in sharing all this. I know us mamas are really “in it” right now and I’m wondering if a fellow mother might see themselves in some of these words and relate. And then realize their feelings are okay and nothing to be ashamed of. Solidarity is always nice. I was so grateful to have someone reflect back for me all that this season has entailed for me personally. We've been asked to give constantly in roles this year that we didn't particularly ask for. There is good reason that we all feel so done.

If you've been stuffing some feels, take off the cork (warn your loved ones to take cover if need be) and let the emotions begin to flow (or explode if you are like me). The release is healthy, though admittedly at times very uncomfortable. Perhaps the release might be just catalyst needed to get you that break you’ve been so longing for (we can always hope!!!) 😜

No comments:

Post a Comment

posted by kelsie