Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tell Me I'm Not The Only One

Please Dear Internet,

Please tell me I'm not the only one who looks back on her weekend and feels like she's totally missed the mark. As I approach weekends and eveings after work, I always look forward to one thing the most - spending quality time with the kids. In my head, it's a magical, wonderful time involving much laughter and many smiles.

In my mind, we make pancakes together or enjoy a nice bike ride around the neighborhood, or explore our local library. The kids say cute things and ask me inquisitive questions revealing their ever expanding and curious minds. We make up funny stories and share our own jokes. We nestle together on the couch and watch a movie. In my head, it's an amazing time that fills that void in my soul that needs love and attention after a long busy day (or days) at the office.

Except it's not like that at all. In walks reality. The fantasy world dissipates and I find myself in the middle of an apocalypse disaster zone. Often Ryan doesn't nap and erupts into tears at the slightest wrong touch or word. I put Jon down for a nap but the other two kids keep waking him up so he's a clinging, crabby baby for the rest of the day. The oldest two constantly fight. Ryan is forever rough housing with Jon and making him cry. Jacob disobeys the house rules over and over and over. It's not intentional, he's just too focused on what he wants to do that he doesn't see what's happening around him. Every five minutes someone is demanding something of me (food, snacks, drinks, binky, help going potty, bottle, reaching a toy, more snacks, potty again). They run around the house leaving all the lights on and doors open. And me? All I do is nag and yell and scream and put people in time out and cook and clean.

By the mid afternoon I'm COUNTING down the hours for everyone to go to bed. And when bedtime finally arrives, after supervising all the potty trips and pajama dressing and room cleaning, the damn kids won't even go to sleep. Ryan whines for me to lay in his bed. I oblige and then he's on and off his bed to grab books and toys and stuffed animals. So I threaten to leave and he still doesn't lay down. So then I actually leave and then he cries for twenty minutes. And then Jacob complains that he can't sleep. Then he needs a glass of water. Then he has to go to the bathroom. And I lose my shit about three times before I give up and lock myself in my bedroom door.

Even when I've folded and put away two loads of laundry, ran and emptied the dishwasher and made a meal (with leftovers) for the upcoming next two days, I still walk away from each weekend feeling like I've completely fallen short.

The other day I was exhausted and thought maybe we could at lease bond over a family movie night. Movie nights can't be disasters, right? WRONG. HORRIBLY WRONG. We sat down to watch a movie and there was a ten minute squabble about what to watch. And then they spilled their popcorn all over the living room (and Jon kept trying to eat the mysterious reappearing kernels), and then they didn't even watch the movie but kept throwing blocks at each other and playing pig pile and then crying when someone got hurt (duh, that's what happen when you smack each other with plastic). Then someone sat on Jon and everyone was either crying, whining, or screaming, so I gave up. I turned off the TV and forced them all to go to bed early. I was NOT very popular, as you can imagine.

By the time I lay in my own bed, I'm completely drained of everything. And all I can do is ruminate over my failures and short tempers and nagging and angry outbursts. Did I even enjoy the weekend like I had wanted to? No. But not for lack of trying. The kids are impossible to enjoy right now (at least all together, they are awesome individually). And even though I desperately want to spend quality time with them and make fun memories because I know I will never get this time back with them, the reality is that they destroy my very soul and I can't wait to head into the office on Monday morning where no one verbally abuses me, ignores me, shits on me, demands that I hand deliver all their meals, or comes running to me to break up a fight every three and a half minutes.

Please PLEASE dear internet. Please tell me that I am not alone, that this is normal, and that children cannot die from being over-nagged. Cause I may need an intervention soon.

I honestly don't remember any of this shit from my own childhood. We sat and ate snacks and enjoyed movie nights as a family. We went outside to play during the day and left our mom alone. We said our good night prayers and went to bed at bedtime after being tucked in once or twice. We didn't bludgeon each other with toys (at least not often). Am I mis-remembering my childhood or are my kids honest to goodness demons? Is there any hope for me? How soon is too soon to be thinking about boarding school?


  1. You're not the only one! I work all week, with the weekend held in mind as a prize, and then when I get to it I seem to work all weekend. I do the laundry, the housework, the grocery shopping, etc. And then I feel resentful because the "golden weekend" I was working towards just felt like a lot more work. Sometimes it feels like we have just too much on our plate. Don't know the answer. But you're not alone.

  2. Hell, I only have one kid and I feel like this. Not all the time! But yeah. I practically ran out of her school today because I was so delighted to get to the office. She was A PILL this weekend.

  3. You're not the only one! A couple things that have helped me: I realized I was way undercaffinating on the weekend because it impossible to drink 2 cups of coffee while still hot & watch children. I now make a jar of iced coffee & carry it around with me & I am much less grumpy. Also, even if I have to watch children all day, if there is a way to swing getting outside by myself or with one child for a little while really helps my mental health. I hate that feeling on weekend afternoons of being tired and having never left the house. Good luck & you're doing great!

  4. wow, you have once again recorded my exact thoughts! (minus the 3rd baby). it's amazing how many times reality with kids v. fantasy is completely WRONG. and i honestly think having boys v. girls is a big factor. i've hung around lots of friends who have little girls - they are NOTHING like the rambunctious, constantly twitching, running, yelling, squirming, rough-housing, dog-piling animals known as little boys. i thank the universe EVERY MONDAY when they go back to school.

  5. Me. Too. It's like there is never an oasis. Weekend used to be that time to build up the reserves, but now all day every day is just one long slog.

    I've found that trying my best to work one day, or even a half day, from home is very helpful. I am good at multitasking - i.e. keeping an ear out for the laundry and keeping it going through, even while drafting an MSJ. Also, being home ALONE is better than anything in the world, at least in small doses - at the office everyone stops by and chats and disrupts flow so many times. At home w/kids is obviously like trying to fill a sandbox that has a hole in the bottom - you have 3 demons working against your every effort. But at home w/o kids means it takes 10 minutes to clean up, mere seconds to scooch laundry along, and I can have homemade soup or spaghetti sauce bubbling away on the stove while I work - and then suddenly, the weekend is much more free of chores. Then if I can get the 3 kids out of the house most of the weekend and keep them out, the house stays nominally in order, I feel un-trapped, and Monday is much more refreshing.

    This is the unicorn I chase. Very occasionally, I catch it, but most weekends are just like you describe - they feel like wasted time . . .