Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How are things going?

I get asked that question, or a version of it, at least twice a day - always by a well-meaning friend or acquaintance. And I always answer with as much of a smile as I can muster and some version of "Things are going OK." But really, most days I don't mean it.

What I really want to say is this:

Things are not going well. I'm barely holding myself together.

I knew having four kids was going to be hard, but I was not at all prepared for just how hard it is. It is constant, constant work. There is always someone needing something, and it's usually not the baby, who is pretty laid back. Campbell is in constant motion and in constant danger of falling off of or under something. Lily is coping with the shift in the family's dynamics by turning up the waterworks. I want to scream each time she starts crying over something like a shoelace that's not tied correctly. Ella has reacted by suddenly throwing tantrums that could peel paint and by arguing with us over EVERYTHING - from whether she can have another chocolate-covered strawberry to spending an extra night at her cousins' house.

I am so busy keeping the house and kids and B going that I don't have time for anything extra like running or showering, let alone using the gift certificates for a pedicure and massage that I got for Christmas from my darling husband, who really is tremendously helpful.

I also don't have time for projects at the house - like cleaning out closets - that have been nagging at me. I cringe each time I have to go in Campbell's room because it needs to be repainted before we put Elizabeth in there, but I know it's not really going to happen.

I am so far behind in my paying work that I don't know how I'm going to get caught up. And I'd give up the work, but we have mountains of hospital bills coming in from Elizabeth's delivery and NICU stay, and that's after insurance.

I cry at least once a day from exhaustion or frustration or both. I know things will get better eventually. I'm just not sure if I can hold on until then.

But people really don't want to hear that sort of thing when making polite conversation in the pick-up line after school or at a social brunch. So I grit my teeth and smile. But one of these days, some poor nice person is going to get more of an answer than he or she bargained for.

11 comments:

calicobebop said...

Oh dear, you sound so overwhelmed! I wish I could hand you a glass of wine and say "take a couple of hours for yourself - everybody will be fine." I hope that things start to get easier for you soon!

FishyGirl said...

I know. I so know.

I wish I lived in Texas right now. I'd pop over and watch your kids and let you run AND shower. I felt like that for a year and a half. But now? Now is good. GOOOOOOOD good. There is light. Hold out for it. And vent to me ANY TIME you want.

The Kretzings said...

Let me be that "poor nice person" that may get an earful.

I'd send you a hug, but I know a hug won't help that much right now, esp. since it would be taking more of your free time away. Hang in there, HOK.

WA said...

Ohhh.
It will get better, but that doesn't make the days go any smoother.

I'm going to e-mail you something funny right now.

W.

Cathy said...

I hear you--I hate faking a smile when I'm going through a lot of stressful stuff. Try to hang in there and just let some stuff go for a while.

Shelly said...

I can only imagine how tired you must be! I think you are holding it together remarkably well!

Becca said...

ooh that all sucks so bad. I am feeling the same way right now and i only have one kid. Like I need a vacation from my life.

HUG

bernthis said...

You know what my answer to that question is:

Do you really want to know?

They usually never ask me again and sadly, you are right. Many don't care but that is why have us blogger friends and family. Vent away my dear. that is what we are here for

Memarie Lane said...

This period of a baby's first few months is so hard. I read a news story the other day about a woman who shot her boyfriend because he wouldn't let her sleep. I told Brad, "you know, someone had to do it. Maybe now people will take us moms more seriously when we weep from exhaustion."

knittergran said...

Oh, dear. Get some sleep and don't shoot B!!!

knittergran said...

Oh, dear. Get some sleep and don't shoot B!!!