Sunday, August 21, 2011
Taking a breath...
Carter started soccer three weeks ago. We had Cameron here two weeks ago. Carter started school last week. Harrison and I start tomorrow. Busy, busy, busy!!!
I am thankful for the k12 program we are using with Carter. I adore that they started his lessons slowly, so that we were able to take our time figuring out all of the technical details. I am hoping that my first few weeks back at the U will be the same way- please, Professors, take it a bit easy at first!
Kurt and I have been working together, and things are going more smoothly. We have had more scheduled discussion times and we have both made an effort to keep those times clear. We have increased our communication regarding our plans, needs, and desires. We have been working carefully to monitor our own moods, and express them to one another before heated discussions have a chance to take place. Baby steps to improvement and peace.
Peace in the home matters. The chaotic and confusing world outside is full of nearly constant ranging storms. I believe it is vital for everyone to be able to have a safe and calm place where they feel comforted and uplifted, rather than strained and stressed. In a perfect world, that safe place would always be at home. However, it takes great effort to keep a home happy- especially when the home houses little ones who demand great amounts of time and energy.
Kurt has been working a lot more hours recently. While I appreciate that his company pays him overtime on top of his salary, I was feeling pretty burned out. A large part of the marital repair that Kurt and I are facing involves both of us trying to be empathetic to one another's situations and stresses. While I understood his work was important, I was greatly missing any kind of downtime. However, rather than express my exhaustion, I wrapped myself in Kurt's needs and tried hard not to burden him with what I was going through. It didn't take long for this to translate into me becoming an overly emotional, hypercritical, and exhausted. With each day that passed I was able to do less and less while consistently feeling worse and worse. I blamed my diet, but once the Rolo McFlurries had stopped- I was eating perfectly. I blamed my missed workouts, but found that getting back into my routine didn't help. I was missing a large piece, but couldn't quite find the fix...
I have been rereading a book about raising sensitive children when I came to a section written for parents. No, not instructions about parentING, it was more like a clothing care label- it listed symptoms of burnout, and gave a simple cure. ALONE TIME. What??? Psh. Surely that couldn't apply to ME. I mean, I am alone all the time! Like... um... for example... uh... maybe not. The same day I read about alone time, my good friend Joni facebooked that she was excited because her hubby shooed her out the door early for her much needed break- in the form of a pedicure. One would think that after reading my book, and then seeing such a post, I would have thought, "Yeah, a break is important. I am going to do that now!" But... I didn't. I told myself I would be fine. I told myself that reading in my bed (with my night owl Carter reading at my side) was the same thing... it is, right? Apparently not.
Saturday came and our day was FILLED with family activity. Carter's soccer game, family outings and errands- we were booked. We came home at 5:00 and I needed to make dinner. I was ready to break down and cry... just the thought of making a simple dinner seemed like it was taking the same amount of effort as a climb up Everest. Kurt jumped in and offered to make dinner. Somehow, it wasn't enough. The kids were climbing all over, jumping around like mad, and pretending to be various kinds of animals. I love my children more than life itself, but just the sounds of their little voices made me want to scream and run away. Yeah... break time.
Kurt suggested I go out and see a movie. But I remembered Joni's pedicure, and decided to go that route. If you are not from the Reno area... take this tip- DO NOT TRY AND BOOK ANYTHING IN A SPA ON A SATURDAY EVENING. They are all booked. Most of them, I found, include cocktails (not that I would drink one!). Who knew? However, getting an appointment was a nightmare. I called every spa within 20 miles. Nothing. As my budget climbed, so did my stress level. GREAT. I finally decide to take a break and I can't get what I want!? UGH! With a LOT of hesitation I called the nail salon located in WalMart. I hate... HATE... WalMart. I was also super snooty about the price. How good could a $28 pedicure in a WalMart be? Kurt was soothing, tried to offer solutions ("Do something else tonight, and book a pedicure for next week!") but I knew what I wanted. I wanted a pedicure! Kurt reminded me that it would probably not be what I was used to, or be the experience I was really looking for... I had to agree. I mean, how could a cheap WalMart pedicure stack up to a $95 aroma experience with hot stones and specialty products? At this point, I didn't feel like it mattered. Kurt convinced me to get the WalMart pedicure and then see a movie.
I called ahead. They had an opening. I grabbed my keys and left.
Within just a few minutes of being alone in my car (what is that sound? SILENCE! No children arguing, talking, singing, or asking for stops at the toy store?!) I could feel my shoulders relax. By the time I was sitting in the massage chair I was feeling more at ease.
In twenty minutes I was VERY SERIOUSLY humbled that I had scoffed at the WalMart nail salon. Their employees were cheerful, sweet, and skilled. I was there for almost an hour, and as I walked out of the building I felt like I could take a deep breath and smile. A quick phone call with Joni made me feel brighter, and then I went to Barnes and Noble and browsed for (yikes!) three hours.
Lesson learned. My pride had almost blinded me.
A break is a break. I had forgotten how amazing it felt to be alone. It was perfect. PERFECT!
When I arrived home I felt like a new person. I felt energized, grateful, happy. When I walked through the door I found Kurt trying to manage the circus alone. Carter and Harrison were gleefully jumping around, hiding from Daddy, and trying to play instead of sleep. Because I was feeling so calm, I was able to think outside the box, and I was able to take over the situation (so Kurt could take a break!) and get our happy kids to bed in record time.