I used to look forward to Spring Break more than just about any time of year when I was teenager. I grew up in Corpus Christi, so Spring Break meant I got to spend the time at the beach that I had been longing for. My mornings were early. I'd wake up, throw on my bathing suit, grab a towel and tanning oil, maybe a chair and head out. I'd usually meet friends out there or pick a couple up. And off we went to waste our days away out at the beach. I can remember lying out in the sun with my radio blaring, sometimes reading a book, sometimes just closing my eyes and listening to the steady rhythm of the waves crashing in and rolling back out. We usually played some beach volleyball and would just walk the beach looking to see if we knew anyone else out there. My tan would be a beautiful bronze by the end of the week. My hair a little blonder.
Today was day 1 of Spring Break 2015. My plans were to sleep in, but my dog had a different idea. As my husband left the house sometime around 6 a.m., she decided she wanted to come play. So up I go to let her out of her kennel and outside. I lie back in my bed only to have to get right back up and let both dogs back in since the other decided to bark his brains out. I don't think all of my neighbors would appreciate that much.
So I'm up. But at least it's quiet. So I enjoy my breakfast: a divine bowl of lucky charms and try to find something "grown up" to watch on T.V. since this is the only time I get to do so. All I can find is yard crashers. I guess this will do. As I sit, eating the brown pieces of the cereal first so I can leave all the marshmallows for last, listening to the t.v., I savor the quiet only to have it broken by the dogs doing what I can only describe as wrestling. Two big chocolate labs, one gnawing on the back leg of the other. The female pouncing on the male. The male growling at her to leave him alone. She takes this as encouragement to aggravate him more. I just wonder when life will ever be quiet again. There is just so. much. noise. All the time. Seriously. All the time.
So, I go back to bed. I'm probably lying down for about 20 minutes when my oldest son comes in. He's not a morning person, so I know better than to try to have a conversation for at least another 30 minutes. He asks for cartoons, and I oblige. After all, the sound of t.v. doesn't bother me. I can sleep with it on no problem. Then, in strolls the 3 year old. Forget it. I'm done. He's nothing but noise so I know my attempts at sleep and relaxation are done. Into the bath I go. Here comes Lillie, my female lab. She wants to climb into the tub with me. I'm continually having to shove her 65 pound body off the edge of the tub where she's trying desperately just to dangle her paws in the water. She's so cute, but she's aggravating.
I give up on a relaxing bath and quickly wash my hair. The boys are both watching cartoons and I decide to fold the two loads of laundry I washed last night but left in the hamper. I swear my home life is consumed by laundry. I don't even know where this all comes from, but if I don't wash and fold at least 1 load a day, I end up buried in a pile of clothes that I swear multiplies on its own the longer I leave it in the hamper.
The rest of the morning goes much like this: I tell the boys to do something, they whine, complain, grunt etc to make me feel like what I say does not matter. Getting clothes on is a battle. The three year old brings out a spider man shirt and black sweats that have a lime green stripe down the side. Did not match at all. That becomes a battle. You'd think it'd be an easy win but good Lord Almighty this boy is STRONG WILLED. He HAS to have spiderman though...until he see his Houston Texans jersey. Now he HAS to have that. The oldest continually picks fights with the youngest. Much of my morning is spent yelling at them to leave each other alone until I feel like a broken record and seriously wonder how long this sibling rivalry will last. For God's sake I didn't know it started THIS early. I get the boys to help getting their laundry put away, but of course not without much protesting from each. Finally, it's out the door because I have errands to run.
This is the easy part. Walk out. Go to the car. Get in. Buckle Up. Right? Wrong.
It goes more like this: walk out, grabs bikes, start riding around the neighborhood even with Mama telling you to come back. Finally come back. Argue around who won the race. Make little brother cry. Put bikes up. Fight about where the bikes go. Knock a bike over. Make little brother cry again. Get youngest in carseat and buckled. Youngest demand Mama's phone. Argue. Oldest climbs up front. Argue with mom about sitting in back where he belongs.
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture.
Even lunch is a battle. My boys are running through the restaurant. MY BOYS. I tell them to come sit down several times and they do. Only to get right back up a few minutes later. I am so close to blowing a gasket. So, I grab them. We leave.
The youngest is crying. A few men are walking in and say, "Aww. Someone is NOT happy."
If they only knew. Yes. Mama is NOT happy. Mama feels inadequate 95% of the time, unappreciated, overlooked, taken for granted. Mama is tired. Mama wants a little peace and quiet. A getaway from everything. Mama wants Spring Break to be a time of catching up on relaxation.
This is the life I always dreamed of though, so why is it so much harder than I imagined? How much of what I feel is "normal"? I love my boys. I love my career. I love what I do. I just wish that sometimes I was able to get a little break from it all. I know if I could, it'd be an opportunity to recharge and give my best in all aspects.
Anyway, the dog is whining again and I still have another load of laundry waiting in the dryer.
To all the other overwhelmed moms out there: I know it's hard to admit that this isn't easy. I hope you know that you are not alone. We don't all have it figured out. Some of us can make it look like we have it all together but we are truly hanging on by a thread. You. Are. Not. Alone.
And I know I'm not either. Keep doing what you're doing and don't forget that it truly is a blessing to be a mom. Hang on to the little glimmers of hope that you catch when the boys are sitting nicely together watching Monster Jam videos and actually sharing the phone. Or when they go out back together and can be heard actually playing...together...without fighting or crying. There is hope. Keep setting your expectations and holding the kids to them. Give consequences. But more importantly, give them love. Praise them when they remember to say "yes ma'am" without being told. Praise them when they are playing nicely together. Praise them when they help each other out. They need to know that they can do something right...Just like you'd like to know you're doing this right.
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