Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Down Side (Rant)

When they were asking
do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?
and all that...
why oh WHY didn't I have them add:
and do you solemnly swear that you will not give so much of yourself to your work that you have nothing left to give when you come home?
I DO
and do you solemnly swear that you will work no more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
HUH?
okay, 9 hours?
UM.
last offer, 10 hours?
I DO
EXCELLENT! MARRIED!
oooh! what a deal that would've been! 10 hours a day would get him home by 3:30 every day, including commute time! But way back then, 10 hours would've seemed ridiculous. 8 hours seemed 'normal'. Why does 10 seem like such a deal now?
Or at the very least, why didn't I get a signed contract? I got him to sign one saying he wouldn't watch TV sports during dinner! (his dad does) It took some doing, but he did sign it! And I still have it.
But why would I have ever thought it necessary? His dad worked 7am until 3pm longest, and took every Friday off! And Brent always said he didn't want to be one of "those" men who lived for work and lived uninteresting lives because they were obsessed with work and money. We moved to Vernon because he was being fast-tracked into upper management by the developer he worked for in Calgary. Slower pace out here... wasn't expected that you'd work crazy hours... ski when the snow was good, and all that...
Somewhere along the line he's changed his mind and it's affected all of us. He is "one of those men" he once pitied. And I am a cranky-pants.
I think the biggest thing for me is that the kids will in the future remember that he was an amazing dad. Couldn't have been better. and all that...
Because he IS amazing. For 1.5 hours of their waking weekdays, on good days, and only for the weekends on the weeks when things are crazy. And at least he IS here on weekends. every weekend. And that's what I keep telling myself. It could be so much worse. He could work Saturdays too! Lots of men do. and all that...
And I keep telling myself it is what it is and every single night when I go to bed after having grouched the kids into bed I think starting right now, I CHOOSE this. tomorrow will be different. it has to be. tomorrow I will embrace motherhood with my wholebeing and NOTHING will pull me off track.
Oh, I'm not always grumpy. Most of the day I'm engaging and fun and full of patience and energy and loving and everything I want to be. But somewhere along the day,
I.simply.run.out.
of everything.
I hear myself lose my patience, being sharper than necessary...
I hear it, but I can't seem to stop it.
I am just empty.
The kids will likely remember me as that. Empty. Life as a grind rather than a groove. Cranky. Impatient. Yelling.
It's not what I ever wanted. It makes me cry to think of it. I've tried everything to stop living this regretful way... exercise...diet...deep breathing...reading...writing...calling a friend...locking myself in my bedroom... But what I truly need is for somebody to come and relieve me. And so as much as I can temper my frustration, the resentment shows and it's making for a regretful life... the one thing I always said I would NEVER do.
Not many people "get" this. Most have husbands who are home more, or have less demanding jobs at the very least. Some somehow worked through it way back when and either don't remember or somehow found a lot more strength doing it all on their own than I've managed to.
I want to know how. I want to know how to do this motherhood thing, for 12 hours a day after sleepless fever-filled nights, without regret. I want to fulfill my vision of myself as the soft-spot-to-fall, the never-ending-patient, calm, loving, never-snappy, never-grabbing-an-arm-too-hard, never gritting-my-teeth, never-wanting-to-truly-run-away MOTHER.
I've wondered if I need to let go of my 24/7, 365 day ideal?
Would school help? I can't imagine it -- getting empty kids back in exchange for 6 hours to myself?

Here's how my day started out:
8:10 doorbell rings. I pull myself out of sleep to find tree-cutter-men (2) at door to give me quote. My throat is so sore that I can't talk (laryngitis) plus the fact that I haven't spoken yet and had to wake up Heidi to answer door with me... I get outside and realize my shirt is on inside out and the zipper to my skirt is undone and I didn't take the time to pull on underwear. Lovely.
9:00 boy arrives to cut weeds. I still haven't changed or brushed my teeth and he looks a little scared to be dropped off HERE by his mother. I don't blame him.
10:00 racing off to doctor, praying all the way that Brent really does show up for this appointment. We're 5 minutes late. He's not there.
Neither is the usual receptionist who loves my children and knows us well. eeek!
I begin prepping Annika for watching Heidi (who's going through severe separation anxiety at the moment) for me in the waiting room.
This is only the second time I'm seeing this doctor (who took over for my long-term-doctor), who's just emigrated from England, and who is FAR too handsome to be performing the impending breast exam and pap smear!
I'm called into the exam room, and Heidi immediately throws herself on the floor and begins sobbing and calling "mama! mama!"
F#$@!
I decide she has to come with me so I pick her up and take her into the exam room. One look at the table full of shiny instruments and I change my mind. She'll have that tray tipped onto the floor tuit suit. No go.
double F@#$!
I call Annika and tell her, just take her, breathe deeply, relax your body and sing to her.
Right. Absolutely!
It's just exactly what I need to do, but isn't going to work on this one year old who has completely relaxed her body, become a dead screaming weight in her big sisters arms and is now screaming louder than any of us predicted possible.
I break the world record for undressing and putting on the lovely blue paper 'gown' (who the hell ever decided to call it a GOWN?) and call Annika back in, thinking maybe I can hold her during the exam. No. She screams louder. I think maybe Annika can hold her on the chair and I'll sing to her during the exam. Nobody can hear me over her screaming.
Doctor pokes his shocked-looking-not-nearly-so-handsome-face-now through the door asking if this is going to work.
???
NO! it's not going to WORK.
2.5 seconds later all is absolutely quiet.
Doctor says he asked receptionist to help with baby.
I think he's bloody brilliant.
Until his next statement.
So! This could be rather interesting as I haven't done one of these as yet in this office, and have never done one on my own! (no less terrifying said in his lovely English accent!)
Excellent.
Somehow I'd forgotten that they have their helper standing there handing them instruments, adjusting the light, wiping the sweat off their brow and holding their frigging hand through the laborous procedure! CRAP!
There I am, legs splayed, most vulnerable bits of me open to the world, English doctor flayling around trying to reach the swab, trying to reach the tray, reaching above his head for the light that's way too high for him to reach, muttering that he can't find my bloody cervix, switching speculums, flayling again above his head for the light (I finally pulled it down with my toes! okay, that bit does make me giggle even this early into the horrific memory of the entire experience), etc. etc. etc.
My face is brilliant red.
I'm actually amazed at how terribly embarrassed I am by all of this.
I pull my clothes on fast as I can whilst making sure skirt zipper is firmly UP, shirt is most definitely inside RIGHT and race out to see where this new receptionist I've never seen in my life has gone off to with my children. They're on the street! Pointing at cars as they drive by, pointing at helicopters in the air (fighting the local fires), everyone having a gay time.
We pack into the car. I take the 15 seconds to text my husband (not pretty), drive over to Midian to get frozen carmel lattes to deliver back to doctor and receptionist, take a deep breath and we're off to the next appointment.
THAT is a mother's life. Plain and simple.

Men don't get it.
How could they, really?
Not just the being alone with 3 children for a pap, or the strange embarassment even at 40 at having a pap done by a strange male doctor... But just the whole thing about being a mother. My husband does not understand why I'm empty or cranky. Ever. He knows I get precious little sleep at the best of times, he knows how full on it is having the dynamics of 3 kids around allllll the time. He knows that, but he doesn't get it. He's tried. He thinks he gets it. He doesn't get it.
And lest you (or I, in my darkest hour) think my husband is simply just not that into me or us, I assure you that he is. People who really know him, know that he is absolutely dedicated to us and completely in love with us.
So why does he pour himself into work like this?
Why does he choose to do what it takes to get the job done right at work? but not so much at home?
Is it because I am so bloodyhell capable? Does he know that somehow I CAN and WILL get through a pap on my own? Or dinner prep? Or a throwing up kid? Or all 3 throwing up kids? Wilst throwing up myself?
Does he have more confidence in me than he does in the idiots he employs at work?
Would it behoove me to be less capable?
But we can only be who we are.
And who I am is capable, absolutely, but not thriving being on my own with my 3 amazing kids this many hours a day, this many days in a row... Who I am is feeling a lot less capable after the annual exam saga today... Who I am is searching for answers just now...

2 comments:

Dragonflydownunder said...

you REALLY SHOULD WRITE A BOOK, AND THEN YOUR HUSBAND WOULD NEVER HAVE TO WORK AGAIN!!
YOUR BOOK WOULD BE A WINNER - HILLARIOUS!!

cherry said...

oh my dear-heart, bless. SO hard, can SO relate and i am only just started with two babes. what happened to communal living at a distance hey? the big rabbit-warren house with someone with spare hands living at the other end to come help when you need them? being 'too' capable is better than caving in and your kids remembering you for falling and not getting up right?! kisses xx