June 12, 2010

Raw truth

Yesterday while talking with a friend I had a momentary breakdown. Out of nowhere and in the middle of our conversation I had this angry, hurt, sobbing, vulnerable, raw moment. Like an overflowing toilet all of these emotions started roiling up and spilling out beyond my control. Emotions that I either did not know I had or have suppressed for so long that I was now helpless to stop them from spilling out.

We were talking about the simple acts of going for a walk or a run without kids in tow. The hair or nail salon, the gym, whatever.... Getting to do something for yourself without the kids. All of a sudden I could feel it. There is often a little rumble inside me when I listen to my girlfriends talk about their bike rides or hikes or massages; or when I see their newly cut hair and perfectly manicured nails and toes. But I always manage to ignore it and I’m fine. I have a good life. I like my life. But yesterday was tantamout to a damn bursting and it took me a few minutes to gain control of the overflow.

So I believe my meltdown started with the facts that my Stroller Strides buddies are about to participate this Wednesday in the 3rd 'Mom’s Night Out' they’ve had since I joined. And…. for the third month in a row I am unable to join them. That coupled with the fact that Brian is on a 2 week road trip.... The weekends with him away are always the worst for me. My friends’ husbands are all home, they have plans and lives, leaving the girls and me to fend for ourselves for 48hours….Just the three of us.

So, back to my meltdown- I was telling my friend about another amazing friend I have here who saw that I might need or want some help this weekend and sent an email to me saying. “I know you hubby is out of town this weekend…" and then made offers like- “Come over for dinner/lunch; Leave the girls for an hour or two and get out of the house; Come for a swim with us this weekend; pick one or take us up on all.” I was so touched that someone was thinking about me and cared enough to ask if I needed help - but in the middle of my telling this story and singing the praises of this friend it got dark… I got dark… The next thing I know I am angry and crying and spilling my guts about never having any help….

My poor girlfriend- I am sure she had no idea what to do or say. Out of the blue I am sobbing and saying things like. “I don’t have any help!! It’s me and my girls all day every day. I don’t get to go do anything alone! I can’t wake up early and go for a run or a hike… There’s no one here to watch the girls! I can’t leave in the evening and go swim laps or run to the store or get a pedicure, there’s no one here to watch the girls! I don’t know why no one seems to understand that!”

After I gained my composure again, and hung up the phone with my, I am sure shell-shocked, friend I realized. Why would anyone understand that? The question I am most frequently asked about my husband’s job keeping him on the road the majority of the time is; “How do you do it?” I always make some joke about it being “easier when he’s on the road", and something about "the girls and my routine" or some bull shit. Or say "it’s all I’ve ever known."...He’s been traveling for work for years"…. Because, what do you do? Pour your guts out about how hard it is? Cry that you are so tired and overwhelmed you don’t know what to do??? But the truth is – It’s hard. The truth is I LOVE MY GIRLS but I need a break! I really, really, really, need something for me. Sure I get to go to Stroller Strides three times {hours} a week… But the girls go with and I spend most of the hour figuring out how to get them the snacks they’re asking for, the different toys/books/bubbles they want, make them drink more water, etc… while still getting the max I can out of my workout. It’s not exactly 'me time'.

What are you going to do? It is what it is. I have a good life; a hardworking, amazing husband; two truly good kids who have their 'moments' but in the end are really good, kind little girls. I cannot complain. I just wish I had time every now and then to leave the house sans offspring, but… we always want what we don’t have right? And although I have an amazing neighbor and friend who would watch my girls every once in a while so that I could have a break – It would have to be something I really, really, needed to do before I could take her up on it. I would feel like I was taking advantage the whole time I was out and about and it wouldn’t be worth the time away.
{You know who you are… From the bottom of my heart, Thank You!}

So – My fix… I am going to enroll Grace Elizabeth in tumbling classes on Saturday mornings. That way when hubby is on the road we at least have some reason to leave the house on Saturday. And normally the girls and I would go to my Aunt and Uncle’s for Sunday dinner, but this weekend my aunt is back in Western Massachusetts. Our weeks are pretty full and seem to pass quickly. I think the key is to fill our weekends too… We shall see. Maybe now that I’ve finally let the hurt and anger and resentment out I’ll be okay. So to my poor shell shocked girlfriend who let me pour my heart and guts out … I owe you. Thank you for always being the one I can just be me with- Flaws and all – I love you!!


monica said...

We have all been there and felt the same way! Just because you state how you need some "me" time doesn't mean your girls don't mean the world to you. I know how much you love them.

I know our schedules don't really match up anymore but we do need to implement a day when we can help eachother out and have our "mommy moments." They are so important and get us mommies through those crazy days!

Keep your chin up! Our babies are growing up and some day you'll have so much free time you won't know what to do with yourself....

Rachael Schepemaker said...

Shelbi, I feel you sista. I can't imagine how much harder it would be to have a spouse whose career takes him away often. Here are some thoughts...feel free to disagree.

1) Envy will eat you away
2) Carve out alone time -- free time by yourself and free time with you girlfriends. When Brian is home, leave and get away. If you aren't good, no one will prosper. Rely on friends to help when Brian is gone or get a weekly sitter.
3) Get plugged in to activities outside the house. I will be better about sharing ideas/places with you ie VBS at Community Church of Joy. It is cheap and good for everyone. Unfortunately Lily is too young for it but Grace would love it.
4) Get a gym membership. Drop the girls off at childcare and work out,read, sit in the sauna or whatever. I would die without it. Plus they offer once a month childcare for parents night out on weekends.
5) Let me watch your girls wednesday night so you can get out and have some fun. Don't worry about making it up to me. Friendships "shouldn't" keep track of rights, wrongsn favors. I've learned that to get good friends I have to be a good friend...so hard to do all of the time.

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

I understand the temptation to martyr yourself sometimes,,,, and sometimes you just forget but yes, take the time for yourself. Maybe make a rainy day fund jar dedicated to the mani pedi or heck, just having the baby sitter so you can go for a long walk.

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