I feel like I’ve been swimming in negativity this week. So many factors have been coming together and drowning out any optimism and peacefulness that I might normally feel.
The week started with me thinking for the second time in two months that I’d actually get to go to Ireland this fall. Ireland is more than just a travel destination to me – it’s the best place on earth. I’ve wanted to go my entire life, Greg and I finally got to go on our first anniversary, and it lived up to everything I had hoped it would be. I’ve been desperate to go back again for the last nine and a half years. Twice this year I thought I would go again. Twice this year I let my excitement get the best of me. And twice I was extremely disappointed when it didn’t work out. I’ve come to terms with not being able to go on the first available trip because it’s just way too expensive for me to ever be able to justify. But this second trip that arose? It would have been $1000 max for eight days in Ireland, bed and breakfasts, airfare, and an upgraded automatic car with insurance. It was honestly about the best deal I could imagine. But the kicker, of course, is I would have needed a travel mate. While I was waiting for a friend to decide if she could come, all the cheaper fall dates were quickly filling up. By the time she gave me her answer, it was too late to try and make arrangements to go with Greg instead. I was upset, to say the least.
On top of this, things continue to be very challenging with Caden. He’s angry, he’s difficult about everything, he’s constantly pushing everybody’s buttons and thinking it’s hilarious. The name calling is getting out of control. He’s not like this every minute of every day, but enough. More than enough.
I’ve also found myself irrationally angry at people around me for decisions they’ve made. Decisions that don’t directly effect me, but irritate me nonetheless. I haven’t been in the mood for compassion, empathy, or just letting these things that truly have nothing to do with me go.
And I’ve simply been feeling sorry for myself. I’m very isolated and have almost no contact with people other than my family. And Greg is usually too distracted with the boys to ever have an adult conversation with. When I do get the chance to talk to people I feel like I suddenly don’t even know how to hold a conversation! I can’t think of anything worthwhile to say to anybody.
I’ve been near explosion level on household responsibilities too. Namely, cooking. I’m SO sick of cooking. Sick of arguing about breakfasts every day, sick of agonizing over what to pack in lunches because Caden is never full and Shepard never wants to eat anything remotely healthy. I’m sick of the dinner complaints, making separate foods for separate children every single night, just to avoid the epic meltdowns. I’m sick of planning, sick of shopping, sick of three meals a day, 365 days a year, falling on me. I’m also sick of parties. I love that I can have parties in our new house, but I think I’ve had six or seven in the last two months. I’m exhausted and I need a break. From everything food related. Too bad as a mom taking a real break isn’t an option!
Anyway, if you’ve stuck through my moaning and groaning so far, I’ll try and turn things around. Despite how many sad and angry thoughts I’ve had this week, I haven’t let it get the best of me. At least not entirely. I’ve been actively trying to do things that will pull me out of the pit.
Monday was the hardest because I was so upset about Ireland, the boys didn’t have school, and Caden was being a nightmare. But I gathered up every ounce of energy I had left, threw a bunch of snacks in a bag, and told them we were going on a hike. Fortunately, the weather has been amazing this week! 50’s and 60’s for a February in Wisconsin is miraculous! As soon as I said we were hiking, the boys were actually intrigued. Usually they can’t stand going anywhere – ever – particularly Caden. But this sounded like a good plan to him.
We went to the Yahara River Trail in DeForest. We stumbled across this trail a couple of years ago because it’s near the DeForest splash pad; the closest splash pad to our house, though still half an hour away. The trail is paved with occasional boardwalks and goes through hills and forests along the Yahara River. The only bad thing about this trail is that it doesn’t go in a loop, so we’ve never made it to the end, knowing we’d have to walk all the way back. The last time we went this past summer it was incredibly hot and we only made it a half mile in. This time we went a mile and a half. I think if it were just Caden and I we probably would have done the whole thing. Shepard is still working up to walking that far without complaints.
Going on this hike was about the best possible thing we could have done. The boys, with their bags of Doritos, were having the best time running as fast as they could ahead of me and then stopping to take breaks while I caught up.
The fresh air and exercise were exactly what we all needed.
About a mile in they realized they could be more adventurous and stray from the trail. That’s when our walking progress really slowed down! But they were having the greatest time climbing over fallen trees and pushing away bushes. It reminded me so much of my own childhood, exploring the woods near our house with my best friend. I think back to the places we went, walking down train tracks on bridges between a lake and a marsh, and realize how much potential danger we could have been in! But it was an amazing slice of my childhood and I want my kids to have those memories too.
When we were walking back we started talking about our upcoming garden plans this year. Gardening is something they’re still really excited about and I’m hoping this year we’ll have more time to plan out and execute a garden that really works for our family. It’s one of the rare things they’re actually interested in doing with me, so I’m looking forward to getting it started in a few months.
After the hike, we had a late lunch at Burracho’s. It really turned out to be an awesome day. I felt connected to my kids, I was physically exhausted in the best way, and I was happy again. The circumstances around my earlier bad feelings hadn’t changed, but it also didn’t feel like it mattered as much anymore. I was proud of the fact that I actually knew I needed to change something to make my day better and I actually did it!
That’s kind of been my recurring theme for the whole week. Bad thoughts keep popping up, but I keep creatively trying to challenge myself to find ways to lighten my mood. It’s really helped that the weather was nice for most of the week. I went on a lot of long walks and met my step goal four days in a row – for the first time since around Thanksgiving. (And then the sleet and snow came back. :() I spent one entire evening just reading in bed while letting Greg deal with the boys. I worked a lot, probably too much, but also made a lot of sales. I spent a day running errands, but was sure to throw in a couple of fun stores and browsing through the home aisles. I also took a morning nap yesterday because I was in a terrible mood after waking up at 3:30. It’s not easy trying to encourage myself to be happier. I don’t think I’m naturally a very happy or optimistic person. But I’m trying, which is a lot more than I’ve done in the past.
And just to address a few of my other issues… Greg and I are going to go to Ireland next spring. Hopefully. I’m really hoping that Groupon deal, or another equally good one, will be available again. This year goes back to being the vacation-less year while we pay for some home improvements and tools that we could really use. And hopefully next year we’ll be able to plan another trip of our dreams. It’ll be worth the wait.
Mealtime issues will for sure always be a problem. My only plan of action at the moment is to just keep things simple. So if there’s complaining, at least I didn’t spend hours slaving over the meal ahead of time. Shepard basically wants to eat nothing but pizza right now, so he’s just plain never going to be happy. I have to stop letting it bother me so much.
Otherwise, I just need to let myself accept the things that drag me down, but not let them get the best of me. I have an awesome husband who sometimes enrages me because he sleeps in three days a week, but he also does so much more with the boys than I ever have, so I certainly can’t complain. I have two kids that will sometimes drive me crazy, but also bring me more joy than I ever thought possible. I have a beautiful, albeit messy, house with space for all of us to be ourselves and do our things. And I have an incredible job that I can do at home, with total freedom and creativity. Life isn’t that bad. 🙂