I lost it with the boys again this morning. I didn’t yell, but I did raise my voice and got super frustrated with them – launching into a lecture that I’m sure sounded a lot like the Peanuts mom.
Then, per usual, I end up stewing over my failure throughout the day. Why am I still losing it? Why is this so hard, even when I’m doing everything “right” (working out, better sleep, attempting mindfulness & meditation etc etc)? I mean, I KNOW what I need to do, but in the moment I just can’t seem to rise above my emotions and do it.
A year ago, I might have REALLY lost it, and yelled or been forceful in a mean way with the boys, so maybe I’m improving, just a little? It’s so hard to tell.
Some days I feel more encouraged than others. Today, not so much.
So I’m going to sign off with this thought: I have twin 4yo boys. That in and of itself should be an excuse for losing my shit every once in a while.
No longer an excuse to drink though!
I’m grateful that my husband brought dinner to my desk tonight, when I got caught up in an urgent (and currently ongoing) situation at work. I’m grateful that there is yoga in my future. And I’m grateful especially today, on International Women’s Day, for all of the strong, graceful, wise, generous, intelligent, beautiful women in my life who inspire me to be better. I definitely got lucky in that department.
Well, nothing like trying to multi-task on a Snow Day. It started with rain, so school cancellations felt ridiculous. Right around when they would have been letting out, the snow started in earnest, so I guess maybe it was warranted in the end. But it left all of us working parents in a frenzy of figuring out Plan B which is always fun.
Thanks to our neighbor & friend, I was able to get work done while boys were happily playing with her downstairs. Right now, I’m juggling full-time agency work while also creating and managing a number of websites, a job I didn’t intend to get myself into but that’s life.
The only alcohol-related thoughts today have been regarding C’s drinking and how it affects our relationship. And whether he would ever quit. And how I might approach the conversation with him (or if I even should), and then I start to go down a familiar negative mental pathway, despairing about our lack of connection and time to have the more serious conversations about us, our kids, our future, when we can barely manage to find a way to talk about the upcoming weekend and who will be paying the daycare bill this time.
I think this is just Life right now. And whenever I feel myself slipping down those mental roads, I need to stop and think – “What do I have the power to do to make myself happy or to change a situation?” Not “Why isn’t this or that working out the way I would like?” or “Why isn’t some other person making me happy?”
Because that’s all I can do. And that will always need to be enough.
I’m grateful I was able to chip away at a number of things today in spite of the weather’s wrench in plans. I’m grateful the boys played happily with J, that they love her so much. I’m grateful for the great workout I got in last night leaving me sore today. And I’m grateful that it’s only 8:30pm and I’m pretty much done for the day. Headed down to spend a few minutes with C before he heads to bed. Some conversation is always better than none, right?
A swirl of activity in all directions. If multi-tasking were an Olympic event, I would have taken Gold today.
Just alcohol-related thoughts though? Listening to Beyond Addiction on the way to an appointment, and as the intro explained how alcohol and other drugs affect our brains (a story I’m now becoming familiar with), one thing stood out from the rest. Alcohol affects our cerebral cortex, the part of our brain responsible for “putting the brakes on”, for curbing our lizard-brain impulses, for acting more like humans than animals. No wonder people do stupid shit while drinking.
And maybe that’s why it’s been noticeably easier for me to stick to more “adult” goals of self-improvement and self-control.
Now, if only I could better apply those cerebral cortex brakes to my tongue when it comes to kids and marriage…
That somehow in the midst of the crazy, it’s all getting done. And I’m grateful that I was able to fit in a quick workout before the day began.
Feeling exhausted after a long day at work, sleepless night last night, and rough morning with the boys…but I’m also grateful that as I came in the door, C was already upstairs getting boys into the bath, giving me a short break to decompress.
Thanks to my long commutes I’ve finished This Naked Mind, and am hoping to post about some of its highlights soon. Lately, it seems I’m doing my novel reading at home in the evenings, and saving my audio books for self-improvement topics and commutes, when I seem to have the most brain-power. Nice to have brain-power on reserve, even when the stress hits. Given that this is a new development, I think this resilience is thanks in part to being alcohol-free.
I’ve moved on to a book called Beyond Addiction, that came recommended by someone in a private FB group, when I reached out in exasperation about my husband’s drinking and how difficult it was to be around. On Chapter 2, and I can already see that this has the potential to be helpful in a number of areas in our marriage, not just the topic of alcohol. We’ll see if it lives up to its promises. I’ll post on this book too when I’m done.
Now, the evening shift,: boys to bed, then 15-minute workout, then dinner & evening chores, then hopefully time to read/meditate/relax and head to bed early.
I’m grateful for having the backbone to stand up to someone today, pressuring me to be part of an early meeting for which I’d need to sacrifice family time. I offered to try my best, but said, ultimately, meetings at this time would be an issue for me, and this was why I chose to freelance. I’m grateful that C is doing baths tonight. I’m grateful that my pants are fitting looser. And I’m grateful for the yummy PeiWei lunch I had, sushi & salad. It’s a cornucopia of gratitude today!
Today was relatively uneventful mentally, except for a phone call with my uncle H. My mother’s brother who lives on the other side of the US and runs a busy medical practice rarely has time for a call to family this far away, so this was special.
I found out he quit drinking last year so had reached out via text, and he surprised me with a phone call to chat about it. In the end, our experiences were similar: neither of us had bottomed out (yet), but it was negatively affecting our lives and family relationships, and we felt a loss of control that we didn’t like. He quit cold turkey, no moderation attempt, and hasn’t looked back since. For him, it was a 3-finger whiskey habit that often ended up more like a 9-finger night. I think for both of us, having hard liquor as our drink of choice accelerated the process of becoming dependent.
I was interested to hear more about how his relationship with his wife had helped spur his desire to quit (her previous 2 marriages had ended due to alcohol issues), but we ran out of time, and I also didn’t want to pry too much.
But it’s a topic that holds a lot of interest for me. Can a spouse encourage their partner to look critically at their drinking habits, and even encourage them to quit, without damaging the relationship or driving them the opposite way? If so, how?
Then I remind myself that, really, it is impossible to make another person change their ways… and I need to focus my energy on myself.
Plenty there to work on.
Ending the day exhausted, but the good kind, in my muscles and in my brain. Lots of healthy activity today. I’m grateful for the time spent with my good friend S talking about deep life shit, and I’m grateful that our boys enjoy hanging out with each other as much as we do (in fact, we’re joining them for yoga tomorrow!).
While it hasn’t been a particularly easy week, I’m wrapping up today feeling especially grateful. Lately, I’ve been feeling a depth of freedom that I haven’t felt…well, in years. Freedom from the compulsion to drink. Freedom from something I knew was harming me, but couldn’t seem to stop doing. Freedom from myself.
I’m headed into a weekend full of family commitments, freelance work, personal projects and hopefully, some exercise and rest. But the desire to drink isn’t there. The idea that somehow this weekend will be lacking without the booze is completely gone. In it’s place is a sense of centeredness.
Life hasn’t changed – it still has it’s moments of stress and angst – but I feel so much more in control. Content with what is, and hopeful for what comes ahead.
And without the willpower needed to moderate, or wait for 5pm, or the weekend or whatever, I’m finding I have more willpower to commit to exercise goals, to stand up to the boys constant battle of wills (and MAN is that tough), to hold my tongue when needed. Turns out research has shown that willpower is an exhaustible resource. I could have told you that after running out of it on a daily basis, around 3pm, due to battling it out with the twins. I’m grateful that I’ve found deeper reserves since quitting.
I remember this time last year, heading into work up three flights of stairs and getting tired 1/2 way through. My thought at the time was, “I hope that in a year, I’ll be bounding up these stairs two at a time, feeling energetic and healthy”. And a year later, it’s happened. And with this physical change has come a mental change that I’m grateful for in spite of the ever-changing craziness around me.
To continue on Tuesday’s theme of the Hot Mess Mom, anyone else noticed an up-tick in Moms Who Drink memes these days?
I mean, I get it. Momming is HARD. And according to social media, not only is daily wine drinking healthy for you, it’s also a necessary part of motherhood. Ya know, to tolerate your demon spawn kids and all the stress associated with getting your husband to help out running a household.
So, of course the answer is more alcohol! Of course!
But this is so completely wrong. Forget that alcohol actually makes us LESS able to cope with the stresses of raising kids, LESS present, LESS energetic etc etc etc … Think about what this says to our children.
You’re so difficult, I need to get drunk to be around you. I need to mentally check out in order to deal with you.
When you really think about it, it’s heartbreaking.
And even though my boys are only four, I have no doubt that they pick up on things like this already.
This mom puts it beautifully in a story about the birthday of her young daughter:
I am so grateful for the way this morning started. W ended up in bed with me around 1am, so I snuck out of bed without waking him (score!!!), tip-toed downstairs and managed to fit in the workout AND a 10-minute meditation before the boys came downstairs. A complete and total miracle, which ended up being fundamental in my ability to cope with this morning’s challenges. Little C started the day in the same manner he ended yesterday, as if he hadn’t even slept. Immediately on waking, he went into a full-blown temper-tantrum (for reasons that were beyond my adult logic) and was impossible to reason with or convince to do much of anything for the first 45 minutes. If I hadn’t had my wits about me, I might have strangled him. So I guess he can be grateful too.