Times of Refreshing

I’ve had a very. bad. week.

The Ya Ya Sisterhood movie comes to mind – the part where Sidda is young and her mom disappears for days on end, blacked out, and wakes up in a hotel room on the coast. This is how I felt yesterday. I felt like abandoning my children just to get away and have to have some time to myself.

My desperation and rage was so intensified I actually called a friend to tell her, just so someone would know. That’s what you learn in recovery – that you are not alone.

This is my afternoon off. I have a babysitter come once a week in the afternoon so I can run errands in peace. But I’ve had such a bad week I decided to indulge in a little free time with my creativity. I am sitting in the coffee shop across the street from my house, with free wifi, sipping wine, and eating goat cheese with honey and walnuts. I feel decadent. Relaxed. At peace.

It disturbs me a little that I am most at peace away from my family. There is an unbalance there. It has me leaning more toward a structured week, one with specific events built in to specific days, though flexible. My kids are not of an age or personality to just play while I clean the kitchen – they must be engaged and refereed. The bad days come when I expect I can do more than I really can. The bad days happen when I pretend my children are not there.

I talked to Bryan today. He is at a conference in Florida. He told me he had eleven hours of sleep last night, and was currently at Universal Studios. I wanted to kick his teeth in, but he was not standing in front of me. I want to be happy for him for getting a day of vacation from his busy work schedule. But I fought with my daughter for an hour and a half last night to go to bed, and she still came into my room at five this morning. I envy Bryan that he is away so much he actually misses this family. I envy that. I look for every opportunity possible to be AWAY from my family. I would feel better if I missed them.

We have a renter now. We’ve always rented one of our five bedrooms to someone, but took a break over the summer for a remodel project. Posha moved in this last week and I think that will help a lot. She is smart, and funny, and understands the recovery process. She can drink wine and watch t.v. with me when I’ve had a bad day. She can stay with the kids in an emergency while I Get Out.

I think one of the things I wrestle with the most is reconciling how Good I’ve got it with how fucked up I am. We can afford to go out a lot, eat fancy dinners, hire a babysitter, see a concert, whatever. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have an anger problem, and a depression problem, and that I am easily overwhelmed. I have become what I have always feared I’d become: high maintenance.

I take solace in the concept of phases. My girlfriend currently has one child in all-day kindergarten, and another in all-morning preschool. This means she has three hours EVERY MORNING all to herself, and the rest of the day with just one child. This gives me hope, because I am not far from that life.

I am not far from having all morning to myself to write or otherwise Get Things Done.

Which leads me to the other thing I wrestle with: the fact that I am a stay-at-home mom with a husband that funds my lifestyle. Because of him, I can sit in my thinking chair every morning, enjoying my cup of coffee. Because of him, I am not also juggling a full time job. Because of him, I don’t have that much to worry about, financially.

So my complaining must be taken in context, I suppose. I am careful to distinguish the struggle of a rageful mom from the struggle of a discontent housewife. In many ways I am fortunate. But in many ways I am special – I can not do things that other moms do. I know this, because I know lots of moms and I see what they do and I am envious. I have limitations.

It is at this point that I realize I am Drunk Blogging and there may not be an end to my lamenting. So I will spare you now and bid you goodbye.

8 thoughts on “Times of Refreshing”

  1. I heard somewhere that U2 wrote “Crumbs From Your Table” over some bottles of wine at dinner one night. So many bottles of wine that they couldn’t remember writing it the next morning. All that to say that some of the most profound and beautiful thoughts can come over a good glass (or three) of wine.

    I love you and you need to know that your journey through the process is a constant encouragement to me.

  2. You don’t know me, but my friend, Cari Armbruster told me about your blog and I’ve been reading it religiously for awhile. I so resonate with much of what you say. I too am a stay at home mom with two children, 4 and 2 1/2. I’ve had a bad day myself….long story, but let’s just say, my daughter’s blind, read a blog saying that sin in our lives causes sickness, etc. got so pissed off my hands were shaking, heart pounding, sent off an angry comment to the blogger and spent the rest of the afternoon crying and writing on my own blog. If only I had a bottle of wine, but I am a pastor’s wife in a denomination that frowns upon such things…shit.

    Just wanted you to know that I appreciate your words, and I am not a weird stalker or anything! 🙂

  3. i so can relate to the ya-ya moment(s). the depression. i’ve been reading you for awhile, and will keep on reading. you write how i feel. i work full time, have a 4 year old son, and a husband in law school. hard to keep the depression, rage, sadness, etc. in check at times.

    thanks for writing. nice to hear people speak honestly.

  4. Christa,
    Hey, thanks for letting me know you’re stalking, weird or otherwise. 😉 I hope you comment more, and should you decide to share your blog address, feel free to email it to me.

    And regarding sin that causes illness, come on – didn’t you also hear that homosexuality causes airplanes to fly into buildings??? Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit I’m a Christian when some Christians make it seem so ridiculous to be a Christian.

  5. Muriel,

    Thank you so much for commenting, for your openness, and for your encouraging words. It’s tough to make it all work sometimes, especially when tough seasons seem to last forever. I hope to hear from you again.

  6. I’m constantly amazed by what a patient (OMG…I said the “P” word, please Lord, don’t confuse me with Job!) wise, understanding, resourceful, fun loving, creative, unstressed (did I mention wise?) mother I’ve become…all since my children are grown and out on their own, my grandchildren, whom I raised for 8 years live 1,000 miles away, and I’ve retired from my carreer in early childhood education!

    Unfortunately for my 4 kids and 2 foster children, all this wonderfulness came to me about 36 years too late–too late for them and too late for me. What you’re feeling Jen, is normal. It wasn’t all that long ago that it was me shaking with rage and running outside and locking myself in the sanctuary of our R.V. where I screamed and pounded and raged for a good solid hour.

    I think if I had the chance to go back in time and re-raise my children, and if I was allowed to add one skill to my toolbox of childrearing skills it would be joy.

    If our hearts can feel joy and our eyes see with the eyes of a child and we are nurture joy in and for our children. I was never able to allow myself to fully enjoy my children. Sometimes their joy, their exuberant, noisy enjoyment of life almost scared me somehow. It was like there was this seperate secret part of me that was afraid to feel good…maybe I was afraid if I started laughing I’d never stop…dunno.

    I do know that if we give children our totally undivided, fully focused, they are the center of the universe kind of attention even just a few times during the day, they will be much more likely to give me some quality time for myself, because their need for attention has been met, and in a really neat way, yours has too.

    Hang in there Jen, and open up another bottle of wine while I throw another log on the fire and we’ll give a toast to Grandmotherhood: To Grandmotherhood–that mythic golden land where your patience is golden, your wisdom is vast, and your hind-site is 20/20.

  7. It is very interesting and heartwarming to read your entry. Even though you talk of your frustrations, it is reassuring to hear that I, as a recent stay at home mother, am not alone in (what is perhaps misplaced) frustration. I loved working, I loved being a full time working mom even though it took me away from my kids because it gave me something outside of my family that I could be successful at. Something that I as an individual could be recognized and appreciated. I could see the results of my hard work and be able to measure my success. I feel that being a housewife is harder not only because I find it hard to gauge where I am useful and needed as as a person but also because I find it a constant challange to believe that I am not disposable. I look forward to the days when I can be like the grandmother and veiw my world in a different light and appreciate all the good things in my life!
    Thank you for your entry, I am glad I came accross it today, i look forward to reading more.

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