Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Clean your closets

This is a public service message from your local beat down, put upon, stuck in hell mommy of 4 to those of you finding yourself similarly mired in some sort of muck that makes any progress on any front impossible.

Clean your closet. Your closet reflects your state of mind and your state of  your life. That is my firm opinion. I cleaned my closet today, and you know what? My house was set free from eternal escrow bondage, my children were well, I'm making better eating choices (yes just one day) and I feel like a million bucks and I bet it's going to continue.

Next I need to clean my car, my purse and my dining room table. And then my life will be free flowing and successful as it can be. I just know it. Too bad it's another holiday weekend and I don't get another morning child free for a week. I'll figure it out. A few minutes a day will make progress. I'll see signs of change. I'm excited. Because I have been stuck stuck stuck for so long. I couldn't see what I was doing to stay stuck and I couldn't see any way out. I am not going to be stuck anymore. The house will sell, my new house will be found and purchased and I will find myself again.

I even found some sense of humor in the back of the closet while I was cleaning.

No, really, I don't think it's a coincidence. We'd been waiting on the results of a re-appraisal of our house for sale for 3 days. Suddenly we get it and it's better news than we had even hoped for. We will be getting a reasonable amount for our house and we will be free by the end of next week. Free to find our dream home and start a life where my kids have room, privacy, good sleep options, freedom to do crafts, run in and out of a house, and even help mommy in the kitchen.

I can't wait. It's going to be great, with the usual spots of pain in the butt. Moving is never easy. Finding a home is never easy, negotiating sucks, and we will have to spend more than we want to but it'll all work out.

I'm on my way! Oh I'm relentlessly cheery today aren't I? Hard to even recognize me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The learnings

Over this complete hell of a Christmas week I have learned many things I think you could benefit from hearing. I had 4 sick children, too much to do, no nannies, The Flu and two pinkeyes myself, and too much family exposure. Lets see what we can take from this.

1. Get your freaking flu shot. It is WORTH IT. The flu is days and days of total destruction upon your personhood. And if it happens when you have no nanny and your other helper is sick? You're screwed.

2. Nobody really cares if mommy has the flu. Just get your arse out of bed and do your job.

3. The more you need a nap due to being on your deathbed with the flu the less likely your 4 children are to take naps.

4. Movies only distract toddlers, not 10 month olds.

5. The croup comes in many flavors. One is sneaky and practically silent.

6. When you put your baby to bed sounding like he's breathing under water? It's hard to sleep.

7. When you put the cold air humidifier on full blast all night, the whole room is soaking wet in the morning but the croupy baby sleeps like

8. Opening presents is only fun when you can see them.

9. Your daily evaluation of how you look in the mirror with receive a total upgrade after seeing yourself with tragic levels of pinkeye for a week. Just be lucky you can actually see yourself.

10. Vicodin and pinkeye are not friends. One dries out the eyes and the other....dries out your eyes.

11. If you screw with your pinkeyes too much you will end up with 2 black eyes. Think you have explaining to do in public with 2 pinkeyes?

12. Your kids don't care if you can't see when it's book reading time. Read.

13. Driving your kid to the Dr. with two pinkeyes is a bad idea. I'm pretty sure it's worse than texting, breastfeeding and watching a dvd while driving.

14. When the baby has finished barfing and you're talking to him soothingly and he looks at you and opens his mouth? CLOSE YOURS.

15. The baby has never finished barfing.

Monday, December 27, 2010

emotional reactions

I'm a very emotional person, I know that surprises you all terribly much. But I don't hold much back, well that's not really true, because I do actually censor myself a lot or else I'd have no friends or family left at all, but for the most part people know how I feel most of the time. This came about due to a childhood where I felt unheard and invisible, my reaction was to shout louder so maybe someone might hear. The less I felt heard the more I cried and yelled and talked about how badly I felt, hoping surely if I got dramatic enough someone would react.

No one really did. They just didn't have the capacity to see someone else's pain, they were too wrapped up in their own mental illness, alcoholism or narcissistic way of life. They were not going to take notice, and thank god I didn't do the final act I dreamed about: doing some dramatic suicide attempt so they could discover I was really in trouble and finally do something about it. Knowing my luck and circumstance, no one would have found me in time, and just look at what I would have missed.

But I have noticed that there are three kinds of people I run into who react to me totally different regarding my emotionalism. It's pretty easy to categorize them:

1. The over-reactor. This is the caretaker person who can't react in proportion to the problem at hand. A splinter in my finger is a code blue emergency that must be handled immediately with bandages, pain killer, ice cream, calls to the ER for backup, a police escort and possibly even a helicopter evacuation. This person drives me crazy because I then have to be all "my head hurts -butI'mreallyokpleasesitdown." My mom used to hear I had a headache and call me the next day to see whether my migraine had gone away. No, mom, headache. I'm fine.

2. The under-reactor. This person is pretty much totally uncomfortable with any display of emotion whatsoever due to whatever their upbringing where they were taught that stuffing their feelings waaaay down deep and showing nothing in public is the 'right' way to handle things and you should just pull up your big girl pants and get over it. Well I disagree. I respect that this is another way to handle your crap and sometimes I wish I could just shut the heck up but I also don't have some nuclear quality bomb growing inside me that might blow up on the wrong person and I don't need to be passive aggressive about my anger. I am healthier when I can express myself, I just think I could use a little calming down. I don't hurt people's feelings, I don't scream in the middle of the grocery store, I cry in my own home amongst family. That seems fair.

3. The just right reactor. This is my best friend. This person listens to my crap, lets me get it all out and moves on in her life without worrying too much. She knows I can handle pretty much whatever is thrown at me and just need to vent to someone safe now and then. Or all the time. Whatever. However, when I get down at the bottom of the pit and can't find my way out, she'll call in the national guard to get me out. She reacts when the time is right and she'll react with all due speed and force necessary, but she gets when and how the reaction is necessary.

We all have our own ways of dealing with life's curves, but sometimes life hands you so many lemons you get buried. When that happens I talk about it. I try to find someone who will listen. And if I feel no one is listening I lose my cotton picking mind. I just want an ear.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I come from a family of yellers. One might not be surprised that having alcoholics for parents and loud family arguments kind of go hand in hand. It wasn't until I was 30 something that I put 2 and 2 together and understood why so many family dinners dissolved into screaming and fighting and crying. As a child I also couldn't figure out why the arguments always went so wrong; I was constantly misunderstood and consequently constantly defending myself. I developed a deep emotional wound that even the smallest misunderstanding could trigger and send me into paroxysms of explaining and apologizing until I would hopefully be 'let off the hook' by those I offended.


My husband comes from a quiet family. Now admittedly, this may have been in reaction to their own family histories. Grandma on one side was known for dish throwing and temper, my guess is she wasn't quiet about it either. So her child naturally was drawn to a quiet person who dealt with their feelings in a calm way. Oh heck, my mother in law never gets above a 5 on the loudness meter even when at her angriest.

My husband chose me, however, so this aversion to emotionally demonstrative and slightly verbally intense women seems to skip a generation now and then. I instantly felt out of place in their house when I went for the aforementioned grandma's funeral, I was the bull in the china shop. My family would have feelings all over the place, including the good ones like funny stories about the deceased. Here I felt like I was in a monastery, which is emphatically not where I fit in.

However, I loved the peace and silence at times. I've written before about christmas in this family and how delightful a drama free season was (well, as drama free as it could be since my mom knows how to dial a phone,) and how I relished the safety of a home like that. Now it doesn't mean that people weren't thinking things I suppose but it sure seemed like a judgement free atmosphere and certainly no one yelled. Ever.

Except me. The funny thing is that I only have to raise my voice 2 levels to be accused of yelling by my husband. I often pause in confusion thinking, I wasn't yelling? You wanna hear yelling? But the main point of this essay is my feelings on yelling at my children. Good God, does anyone really WANT to yell at their children? There are long conversations in my triplet online group about our guilt that our triplets regularly push us so far with their behavior that we end up yelling at them. Half the time it has more to do with our tiredness or our being sick more than them really behaving any differently than usual, but those with children will agree that some days? Those kids are just full of terrifying ideas.

And they seem to hone in on when you're vulnerable due to some other trauma going on in your life and really sock it to ya that day. And you could have your best poker face on and be singing along with them when they decide to just say no to everything you say or ignore you or pick on a sibling until you are a roiling ball of rage with veins popping out all over while you shriek like some lunatic about what the heck is wrong with them anyway?

And when you're yelling you tend to say things that you really never meant to say. Things your parents used to say to you: "Why are you doing this to ME?" "What is your problem?" and "Why are you being so bad?" Those may seem minor but to a kid who isn't always sure that you love them all the time no matter what it can be poison. It can seep into their souls and convince them that there IS something 'wrong' with them. That there's some horrible side of them that makes them a bad child and that deep down inside there is some dark part of them that no one would love.

Or at least that's what happened with me, so I can't let it happen again. Mommy needs to take more time outs. Kids respect time out. Kids might learn something about being a grown up or how to control their own anger by watching mommy take a moment to calm herself instead of screaming whatever comes into her head. This, of course, is way harder than one might think. The rage is like lightening for me, one minute I'm handling the children calmly and rationally and the next the control line has snapped and I'm grabbing and spitting and yowling like a rabid cat. My own rage from childhood even feeds into the lack of control because I'm recognizing that I am not in control and my being their mother is not 'good enough.' Just like the way I was not in control as a daughter and never a 'good enough' daughter.

It's amazing and terrifying. I want to be a loving role model to my children and have a house of peace, not crazy drama like my own childhood. I am not an addict, so that's a step in the right direction, now I've got to get my rage under control. It is not fair to visit the sins of my father (and mother) upon my children. Thank god I'm already in therapy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just believe

I have never put too much stock in "the power of positive thinking." In fact, I remember that in high school I was certain that if I thought I was going to get an A I would curse myself into getting a C but if I thought I had screwed up I would definitely get an A. It sure seemed like my grades had little to do with my effort or self evaluation, so it made sense to come up with a superstition to get me through the anxiety of waiting to see what random grade would be assigned to my work this time.

I took that superstition with me in life and felt that if I ever got too excited about something or started to get my hopes up I would definitely trash any chance of it happening. I know a lot of people have small superstitions about saying things out loud and jinxing their luck but I took it further and recited the negative in my head in order to appease the gods and have a small chance of getting what I wanted. This all convinced me and others that I was a pessimist.

The truth is I'm an optimist. A brilliant therapist once said that what I was actually doing was thinking positively because I was thinking negatively in order to achieve a positive outcome. Well that blew my mind. I started to reconsider my personality type which had been sporting that pessimist label since high school.

When that whole "The Secret" thing came out and got on Oprah and everywhere I took a chance on it. Maybe I could change my life with the power of belief. Maybe I was dooming myself by thinking about what I didn't want to have happen instead of what I did. After all, hadn't I created the triplet pregnancy merely by stating to anyone who would listen in the 4 months preceding my fertility treatment that I was going to have them? Like hell I was going to go through fertility treatment twice people, so I declared to the world that my one time was going to pay off. And what do you know? So I knew it seemed to work.

And so I tried, I really tried. I created one of those dream boards. I went out and purchased poster board and magazines and cut out pictures of what I wanted and what I hoped to achieve. I meditated on it daily. And, while I haven't looked at it in a while, I'm relatively certain I did not lose weight, start exercising, or become the highest earner in my Partylite region. Hmmm.

It just felt uncomfortable, all that positive thinking. I kept worrying that I was ruining things by getting my hopes up. I kept wondering if every stray negative thought had ruined the whole set up. I eventually hid the stupid board so I'd stop looking at it. And I stopped trying so hard.

But when we got the offer on the house and the quick close was part of the package, meaning we would be free to write offers on our own future home immediately, I got excited. I declared to the world that I was moving in January. Be it January 31st at midnight or not, I didn't care. I was not staying in this apartment a minute longer. So then the anxiety set in. Was I setting myself up for disappointment if January came and went without a house? We aren't buying an 'ok' house, this is going to the The One. How can I find that in a month? Then there started to be problems with our own home, the inspection, and now the appraisal fell far short of the value of our contract. What was happening here?

Was I experiencing a comeuppance? Was this my punishment for getting my hopes up? Should I stop stating that I was moving in January? Did I need to make it more clear that I was not just moving but moving into my new house in January in case the wicked fates decided to throw an earthquake to make me move out of the apartment and into some kind of gymnasium shelter somewhere just to make a point? What am I supposed to do?

I am holding fast to the belief that I am going to find my dream home in time to move Jan 31, but it terrifies me. I know our home has been just waiting for us to be free to make an offer on it and I believe things happen the way they're supposed to but what if I'm supposed to spend 6 more months in this apartment? Good lord. That just can't be right. So, Universe?


Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inside my head

Inside my head I am a hot 25 year old redhead with great shoes and some extra cash to spend on myself whenever I want to. I am a reasonable size, I am highly educated (Masters in Education), entertaining to men and women, and pursuing my passion for rescuing animals, knowing it's my life's calling.

Inside my head I'm a great writer, who has several book ideas, mostly autobiographical in nature focusing on my crazy mother and my hilarious journey to my current position in life, and one trashy romance novel I'd like to try writing, although the sex parts make me blush to write.

Inside my head I am a cool, calm mom, who has a particularly accurate intuition into her childrens' needs and a head for handling too much at once, key for surviving a multiples household. In my head I am fair to a fault, always put others first and easily forgive.

Inside my head on a bad day I am fat, wrinkled, tired looking, lazy, a boring writer, running out of money, wasting my education, without a calling in life, an impatient mom who yells too much and prefers her iphone over her children's attention.

Inside my head it seems to be black and white, good or bad but never just average. In life I am completely tolerant of almost any failing in someone else, barring animal or human abuse, but inside my head I have no tolerance for my own. I berate myself in a way I would never do to my children, beat myself up in a way I would never show, and belittle and mock my minute to minute actions like some cruel abusive husband to myself.

Inside my head there is a small dark cloud that on most days stays isolated in a non-critical zone but on bad days spreads like a toxic plume from a burning oil spill until it fills my head and my vision with images black and violent to my psyche.

Inside my head there needs to be some major renovation, because children learn from their parents and I will not saddle another innocent child with the mindset of an addict or an addict's loved one. That crap won't fly anymore.

You know, sometimes our children save us from ourselves.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Throughout my life I have had a struggle with people feeling obligated to me without cause. It started with boyfriends in college. You know the kind of relationships where, because you live in the same building and eat at the same cafeteria, you basically move in together on day 2? Well I would just be cruising along in that style when suddenly it would all come to a crashing halt. The reason? The dude felt "obligated" to spend an evening with me when he should have been studying so now he has to break up with me so his grade point average didn't suffer. I didn't ask him to spend every second with me and if he had just said something he might have found out that I was completely willing to give him the space he needed, so how did this happen?

In the same vein, I've helped more guys dump me or not even start relationships with me than I could count. I've had these crazy conversations where they're dancing around the fact that they are not really sure if they should or shouldn't kiss me or make a move and they always ended with me saying "if you have to think that hard about it, it probably means that it isn't the right thing to do." And so it ends. Are guys really that unsure of themselves that they wrestle with the first kiss out of some obligation to the fact that they had been flirting with me for a few days? Good god, then what? After the obligatory kiss then how long are you required to date me before you have fulfilled your obligation?

The final straw was when a guy was living with me, the guy right before my husband came along, and we were struggling pretty intensely with our relationship. One evening he and I are talking through our problems and I'm saying, once again, that if you have to think that hard about it it's probably not what you're supposed to be doing (being with me of course) when he drops the bomb: well I just felt obligated since I am living in your house....

Really?  Um, don't do me any favors?

The thing is, do I really seem so weak and breakable that if you disappoint me I'll fall apart? Is it really better to pretend to me that you're interested or even keep living with me than to cut it off clean and move on so I can find someone who really wanted to be with me? What the hell?

This crap pisses me off. I do not require jack from anyone. If you want to give? Give. If you want to be with me? Be with me. But I am no frail flower. I have stood on my own two feet, quite alone, for many years. The real fact is that I have a hard time leaning on someone. My husband has to struggle to help me because I'm unwilling to accept it. I do incredibly complicated dances to ensure that no one feels obligated to do anything for me or even reciprocate something I've done for them. I bend over backwards to make people feel free to screw me over if its what they need to get by. So apparently I'm living in opposite world. The more I try to keep people from feeling obligated the more they feel obligated I guess. Or rather, the people I tend to come into contact with are intensely guilty people, the kind who manufacture reasons they have to do things they don't want to do for people who don't want them to do it.

And even knowing this? I feel guilty that they feel obligated to me. There's the irony. I feel obligated to ease their obligation that they shouldn't even feel. Perhaps I should change tactics and assume everyone has an obligation to me and the guilt cycle might end.

I wonder, are there guilt free people walking this planet? I haven't met one yet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And then it happened

The day I wrote about selling the house, we got an offer. And the next day we got a ratified contract. We may actually have sold the freaking house.

We may actually have sold the goddamned, dead weight, chain around my leg, holding me back from beginning my new life, pain in the arse HOUSE.

Now I think that's funny. Was I supposed to blog about the lessons I'd learned in my long tenure in this stupid apartment? If so, would that I had done it a wee bit earlier so I could spend christmas in a new home? Oh how irritating.

In any case, I am now on the hunt for the dream home. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am almost free of this crazy prison we call a temporary home. And that makes me completely crazy.

In fact, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel makes the tunnel feel like 100% of the crap it has been all along and I haven't admitted to or allowed myself to feel crappy about all this time. And so it hit me hard on the day after the ratified contract when I went to look at houses to buy and found not one with what I needed in it. And then I came home to sit in this uncomfortable place with all its problems and things that make life harder and I began to lose it.

And because I was already starting to lose it, it snowballed. The next day started terrible, stayed terrible in the middle and ended terribly. I tried to start over Friday and was defeated almost instantly. Saturday the baby started in on me at 4:20am. I had no chance to recover. I'm not sure what the formal name for it is but when you are losing your mind, there is this tendency for the world to keep kicking you while you're down. Or so it seems.

I hope to regain my balance soon, but it's tough. Knowing that I'm almost there but not there yet. And not knowing an absolute end date. Until I find our new home I can't make and end date and I am determined it's not going to be another 6 months but who can say when your dream house will appear? I have set my mind to the determination that I WILL be moving into our new home in January. That means I'd better work fast.

Anyone know of a great home for sale?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An apology of sorts

I'm the child of an alcoholic. Actually two, but my mom was less obvious in her way until she got into pain pills. Then she was terribly obvious. But I was raised by a kind, gentle, friendly man who was a great success in life and generally happy until he drank too much. Then he got belligerent and argumentative.

My aunt is a lovely woman, I always refer to her as one of my favorite people in the world. That was always true and still is today despite what happens between us. I have never spent a lot of time judging people for their ways of coping with the pain life brings. Some choose God, some choose working themselves to death, some choose therapy and some choose addiction. My aunt became pregnant at an early age, married an abusive man, and in her early twenties had to decide between abuse and single motherhood of 4 children with a high school education. She then proceeded to help my grandfather through his old age until his death, my father through the loss of his son, then lose her own son to a stupid medical mistake and finally lose her best friend, my father, too early as well. I have the benefit of not being an addictive personality so I can't sit on my high horse and judge her decision to drink more each time a blow came. When she's sober she's wonderful. I love that woman. I wish I could be with her more often and I relish phone conversations and cards from her.

But I can't stand drunk people. I can't even stand my happy drunk husband when he's just celebrating in a seemingly appropriate manner. I get mad, uncomfortable, and close up. And put me with an angry drunk person who is someone I admire and look up to? I get mad.

And so I did, and I aired my anger here. And who knows if she ever read it or ever will. I hope in some ways she gets some of the message but not like that. I don't ever want to hurt her. She has never intended to hurt me and it's I who went in with unrealistic expectations of her and the situation. I knew her well enough to know what the risks were. I had no right to expect her to be a different person than she was. The problem was I hadn't ever been honest with myself about who she really was. And the childhood fantasy was finally over, nobody's fault, but over. And that's crushing. Add in my helpless feelings about my sick child and not being able to save my aunt from killing herself with the choices she's making and I felt doubly overwhelmed.

As for my cousin with the jerk husband? Who am I to judge a marriage? Many people might look at my marriage and not understand it. Everyone struggles in their relationships. Who am I to say what is and isn't worth it when someone will love you and raise a child with you? I am told he was in worse form than usual and who knows if he felt he needed to show off to me but whatever the case, I don't have the right to sit in judgement on that one either. I don't have to like him, but I have to suck it up if I want to spend time with her and I do.

Who knows, maybe I've burned these bridges. I hope not. Family is very important to me but I can't help my scars showing and my wounds bleeding in public sometimes. I happen to have a sharp weapon here in this blog and I have wielded it rarely and always with bad consequences. I like being honest but I have to be sure I'm ready for the results it may cause. And if I've hurt someone I love that's not ok. And if I spend hours feeling guilty then I know I've gone too far. At least I figure it out eventually.

And now it's off my chest.