It’s after school and it’s a balmy 75 degrees in March. I open her backpack and read her daily note to discover that she’s had yet another bad day. She kicked a boy in the head and refused to apologize, told her teachers “NO!” all day when they wanted her to work and topped it off by calling the grown-ups by their first names. She spent recess in the office for her bad behavior.
But then Olivia hops on her Ambucs tryke and takes off. All by herself. I am clapping like an idiot and tearing up at the sight of my baby girl riding by herself.
And then she’s done 5 minutes later.
She wants to play catch with me. Awesome. We get situated on the driveway. I roll the ball, she catches. Then she rolls it back. I’m so excited that she’s actually playing this with me. She’s rolling it right to me! She’s catching it!
And then she’s done 3 minutes later.
She takes off down the sidewalk running and is at the neighbor’s house two doors down before I can even get my almost 36-year-old body up and out of the indian style position I was sitting in. Damn I’m sore from that workout yesterday.
In the meantime the boys want to have friends over, they get mad when I say no, they want a snack, can they have a pop, when are we going to Grandma’s, can you find my scooter, where is my helmet, did I tell you about what Johnny did in class today, don’t forget I have that assignment due tomorrow and I need to practice my piano and what’s for dinner?
I catch Olivia and thank God she didn’t make it to the street. I encourage her to head to the backyard to jump on the trampoline or play in the playhouse. I turn my back for 5 seconds and she’s chosen to sit in our lovely sandbox that’s full of melted ice from winter and filthy. She’s now soaked and dirty. I strip her naked on the back porch, hang the clothes on the fence and make the boys watch her while I go grab new clothes. I get her dressed, clean her up and ask the boys to jump on the trampoline with her.
I go in to put the dirty clothes in the wash and I go back outside and she’s in the fucking sandbox again. Luckily this time just the bottom half of her jeans is wet so I just leave her. I can’t do it again.
I try to entice her with a show up in her bedroom. Yes, I’m that mom right now. Please watch TV so I don’t lose my mind. I get her settled, go downstairs to start dinner and drink a much-needed glass of wine and hear a boom from upstairs. I go up and she’s taken down all of the decorations in her room that I spent 2 hours putting up the day before. She’s also torn up a stuffed animal and the lovely tiny little stick-to-everything balls that make up the filling are everywhere. She’s emptied the baby wipes bin all over her room, torn them up and eaten a few. She knocked over the vacuum cleaner that I forgot I left in her room and broke it. I’m seriously going to lose my shit but I take a deep breath. What good will yelling do? Oh did I mention she’s naked? And peed on her bed? I forgot that. At least it’s not shit this time.
I clean her up, clean her room up and bring her down with me to try to make dinner this time. I feel guilty because we’re only having spaghetti tonight. Somehow I’ve got it in my head that if it’s not a gourmet dinner, I’m a failure. My kids need all-natural, healthy foods at all times, not white noodles, right? Damn it. The kids like these kinds of meals better anyway. Why don’t I make nuggets and mac-and-cheese every night?
I finally get dinner on the table and we’re all enjoying decent conversation when Olivia dumps her chocolate milk all over the floor. On purpose. Did I mention I cleaned the day before? I don’t yell because what’s the point? It’s a joint effort to get it cleaned up because even the boys know I’ve had it today.
After dinner we jump on the trampoline. All 5 of us. We laugh, I only pee a little 3 times and then it’s time for bed.
I hate bedtime. I think it’s because I’m SO done by then I have no patience and everything drives me crazy. The boys ignore me, I have to do everything for Olivia and I just want to curl up in bed and read my Kindle. Matt is so stressed out because of work and just got home right before dinner so I don’t ask him to help even though every fiber in my being is screaming “PLEASE COME DO THIS! I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!”
Did I mention that while they were at school I worked all day? Chasing failing students who don’t call me back or come to class or turn in any work at all?
I finally get the kids to bed after threats of taking video games away and teeth are brushed and stories are read. I feel guilty because we only read 2 books; they weren’t even good books, just the shortest ones I could find.
I brush my teeth, floss, wash my face and take the 2 sleeping pills I take every night if I even have a hope of sleeping for 4 hours at the most. I collapse in bed and escape into my Kindle. I feel guilty at the laundry that piled up, the dishes in the sink, the husband that I’m annoyed with but that I love with all my heart, the phone calls I didn’t make today, and did I yell at the kids too much today?
I try to fall asleep although my thoughts won’t go away. Where can I get diapers for Olivia because she’s almost too big for Huggies? I should really be using cloth because did you know it takes 500 years for a disposable to decompose? We waste too much water; we need to be better about that. I just read an article about how much water we waste and we need to be better. Tomorrow I need to make lunch stuff and snacks for the kids because they eat too much processed food and that’s terrible. I also need to eat better and work out more or soon I will have not one stitch of clothing that fits. What happened to me? To my body? To my mind? I also need to pay more attention to Matt and be a more sensitive, caring wife. I’m so shitty lately. Have I talked to my sister this week? Is my Mom ok? Is she happy? Will she ever date again? I want her to be happy, deliriously happy. I have got to get those Girl Scout cookies delivered this weekend. Do I have everything for my Mom’s birthday dinner on Saturday? What will happen to Olivia when we die? What will happen to her in junior high? Dear God, what will she do after high school? Gabe is turning 10 soon. 10. In 6 years he will be driving. How did that happen? I hope he’s not disappointed in his birthday presents. That reminds me, I’ve got to get working on his decorations. And go to the party store. Oh and call those moms to make sure they’re all set for the sleepover. Jesus Christ if I fall asleep now, I’ll get 5 hours. I’ve got to fall asleep. I’m so sore; my fingernails are sore. I swear to God I’m getting old. That reminds me. I need to research anti-wrinkle creams to find the best one. I’m not getting any younger. Oh my God, Matt’s turning 40 in May; what will we do to celebrate? I need a vacation.
It’s like that. And some days I can handle it just fine, thankyouverymuch, and others I can’t. But I do know this: when I get over this, I’ll be stronger. I promise you that.