I feel like I’m coming unraveled. This is so much tougher than I thought it would be and I’m trying to figure out why.
I mean, I’ve always had these (very common) issues when my mom comes for a stay – feeling criticized, insecure in my own choices, struggling to relate to her interjections into my life.
But this time around, it’s so much tougher – I’m wondering if it’s because I’m feeling all the feels this time. Not numbing them with alcohol. I don’t know.
At the end of another day of juggling work, kids, work, kids, mom, kids, work all day long. That in and of itself is not easy – very tough to feel needed in all directions and not have a clear delineation between the work and home responsibilities. Then, adding the layer of my mom, who is trying very hard to be helpful but not imposing, which requires that I find helpful but not overwhelming tasks for her to handle and often provide the instruction along with it (this is how you turn on the grill, this is how you play a DVD for the kids etc)… and all the fine details of how we both relate to each other, the tension we both feel and the desire we both have to relate well without pushing the other’s buttons.
It’s a lot.
Giving the boys a bath tonight, I started struggling to hold back tears – all because she was encouraging me to consider some decor upgrades to the downstairs living room (she thinks it could use more warmth, had ideas on how to change it, and why do we still need the dog crate there?). I think she opened this conversation because she knows I love to decorate and often don’t get the chance to dream about it because C is usually opposed. So if I had to guess, I’d say she was bringing it up as a favor to me.
But after a 1/2 hour of discussing it with her while trying to simultaneously get two obstinate and tired 4yos upstairs and bathed, I only felt more and more overwhelmed. It was a reminder of how poorly C and I communicate about certain topics (even if I feel like I’m making headway internally), and how much I have been turning a blind eye to around the house (and in our relationship in general), and how far it all has to go, and how discouraged I am with the impossibility that we’ll ever get to a “normal” or healthy place, and then I found myself spiraling down the negative rabbit hole and falling apart inside.
The boys could see it but I pulled myself back from the brink and finished the bath. When I finally turned around to face my mom and head into the bedroom for PJs, the tears were gone.
But it’s tough right now. I’m going to be giving some thought to why it’s so much tougher than normal next week, when life is back to it’s normal rhythm.
If nothing else, this week has made me realize what a good partner C is. We do a pretty solid job of raising these kids and maintaining the day-to-day responsibilities together, even if we can’t decide on paint colors to save our lives. And that’s my gratitude postscript.