Monday, February 2, 2009

Moaning Monday

At six am the alarm was blaring and I had to get up. I had to get my son up. He doesn’t wake to his alarm. I imagine I’ll have to be there when he’s forty, creeping old rickety bones to his bedroom and standing over him like the grim reaper... “Son, get up. You have a board-meeting at 9:00 am.”

This morning my eyes were (are) puffy. My nose was (is) stuffy. I didn’t sleep well. The kitten spent half the night on my face and the other half attacking my feet. I was having stress dreams. It seems I was a restaurant manager. No one respected me. Lucky me I garnered the "I hate you so much I’ll spit in your face" kind of disrespect. I also had no authority to administer discipline and therefore earn respect. The restaurant owners didn’t understand why I was failing. I quit that job just before I woke up. I woke with no income, nothing in the pipeline and the alarm screaming.

After he showered and dressed the boy came down wearing a shirt that didn’t belong to him. I have no idea where it came from. He did not eat breakfast. His eyes were also puffy and tired. I don’t know when he went to sleep. He was sent to bed at ten.

The other two kids were still asleep and it was my morning to drive. The hub was already at work. I left the girls sleeping. The eight (nearly nine) year old knows she’s in charge for the twenty-minutes I’m away. I flashed back to my latch key days. It’s not a good memory.

I dropped the boy off at school and came home to start a load of laundry. There, in the basket, were his gym clothes. This is the first time they’ve come home since September. Today he’ll have to borrow clothes. His grade may be docked. Another check in the failure of parenting box.

Next I woke middle daughter. Grumpily she stumbled to the shower. I sat and read the school newsletter that miraculously made it home last week. The TAG (talented and gifted) testing was done. Parents of potential TAG kids were notified. Nobody called my house.

And here's the thing -- middle daughter is very bright. Very very bright. And she is bored. This year she’s losing interest in school. She hasn’t been turning in her homework. For that matter homework hasn’t been making it home. I was hoping she might have other opportunities next year. Something to challenge her. Looks like TAG isn't it.

I was in TAG (actually it was called GATE; gifted and talented education). In the fourth grade I had to stay after school and learn to balance a check book while my friends went out to play. I also had to wear a chin cup to correct an under bite. Understandably I was quite popular.

I’m not a fan of TAG, per se, as I did not enjoy it. But my daughter needs something different than she is getting and I’m at a loss as to what to do.

I shoved some (hopefully salmonella free) peanut butter toast in middle daughter’s hand as she headed out the door. Her hair was gnarled. She didn’t have time to brush it.

And there you have it. My morning in a nut shell. It is nearly 10 am. The five year old is still asleep. I’m sitting in my reading chair drinking coffee and staring through greasy fingerprints at the world outside.

I wonder if it's too late. Too late for my kids and too late for me. Have they already lost their potential? Is the kinetic energy spent? How to get moving again. How to move in the right direction. I wonder if my children will survive me. Will they blame me for squandering their childhood?

Little sis will soon be up. I’ll have to feed her. Provide her with mental stimulation. I also need to plan dinner. To shop. To cook. To clean. I’ll continue to check the failure box as I’m confronted with the daily reminders of my short comings; homework not done, breakfast not eaten, dirty dishes, filthy carpets, laundry strewn about, a backyard full of pine needles and a front walk covered in ice. I’ll let the baby play Toon Town while I struggle to manage the house. Check. Check. Check.

Where is the balance? The peace? The contentment? Why am I having such a difficult time today? I do not know. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it’s lack of sleep. Maybe it’s me putting my head in the sand for too long. Me with my hands over my ears -- naaa, naaa, naaa, I don’t hear you. It's all good. All good. All good.

The sun is out. It is supposed to be warm. I think we’ll try to talk a walk. A long long walk. Perhaps that will change my perspective. In the meantime I guess I’ll get down to it. First step -- greasy fingerprints from windows; I need to clear the view.


Gayle said...

We all have times like that, worries like that, at least I think we all do. I do. And then things go smoothly again and all is good for a while. I think that if our children know they are loved and learn to be good people and to be loving people, we have done the most important part of our job well. They have plenty of time to realize their potential and if they have that loving background, they will.

ELK said...

you are not alone in your concerns and demands if that makes you feel any better...i hope that as you read this your day has had some brighter "clearer" moments.

motherhood ~toughest job ever!

Jamie said...


Molly said...

i get you on all of this. i detest having to wake my son up every morning a good two hours before his body is actually ready to get up. last week i didn't find the hairbrush until after he left and thought, "i'm the mom who doesn't brush her son's hair before school." and i had similar thoughts about GATE when i read about the testing in last week's newsletter. i was in GATE and really enjoyed it. funny thing you mentioned balancing checkbooks because i didn't learn how to do that until the stress of college prep math got to me in high school and i dropped out of algebra 2 to take business math (taught by the gym teacher). the other day i realized that my children will grow up whether or not i worry about how i'm harming them on a daily basis. i just hope they realize one day that my intentions were good.

Honorary Indian said...

Well. Have you crawled up into my seemingly pea-sized, under-stimulated brain and written about MY LIFE????

Where do we find the energy to persevere with energy and a positive attitude? Both of with we need for ourselves...let alone in PARENTING?

I don't know. But, I've struggled with this for a couple months now. Not brave enough to blog so honestly about it. But, thank you for sharing it. If that makes you feel any better.

Digging deeper to give my all doesn't seem to do "it" anymore. "It" isn't enough. I barely have enough to give myself....let alone my husband and children. I'm sinking slowly. Drifting further and further from who I thought I really was.

Some days are ok...correction: some MINUTES are ok. Then, in the blink of an eye, my life seems as if I can not succeed or even half-way succeed at anything. Even folding the laundry.

Sigh. Time for a bath and bed. For me.

Bridge said...

oh mama! i hope you did indeed find the time to take a walk. i can say that I relate to your feelings. sometimes, its easy to get lost in the daily "doing" and worrying about our children.
as you know there are ups and downs, here's hoping it heads up soon.

the Lady said...

Yeah, but are you guys happy? If so, to hell with the system. It's lame. I was pretty smart too, only got to be in GATE for one year though! Ha! I quit school at 16 (depressed and bored and mom offered to let me "unschool"), completed a degree, and am totally fine.

You have 4 kids. Give yourself a break some times, especially if they're reasonably clean and fed. And if he's in gym class, he's old enough to learn how to do laundry. Sigh. Boys and grime. Go together like peas and carrots.

The potential is not gone. Nothing is over till you're dead, even if that's how you feel.
Consider homeschooling, go to the beach, look at the stars, go somewhere you feel small and insignificant and overawed and realize that it is all ok, all in your control, and you really can do whatever you want, even if it doesn't feel like it.

And get the family involved in chores. Many hands speed the work.

may the Beauty said...

I continue to think it's funny that when my son was a newborn, people repeatedly came up to us and said, "don't worry, it'll get easier." He's only 10 months and I'm already convinced that they're all lying. It gets DIFFERENT, but not easier. Remember how much patience people had for you when you had little ones? I'm extending that to you now. Because if you feel like a failure because of laundry and smudgy glass, I'm a failure because of laundry, smudgy glass, mice in the house, and a baby who is off his nap schedule.

Gayle said...

Shalet, I tagged you for a sixth folder, sixth picture meme on my site. Please don't feel obligated to do it, but if you want to, I'd love to see your sixth in the sixth. Hope you're feeling a little better today. From reading the comments you received, it looks like we're all in the same boat. Sometimes gentle and calm waters, sometimes stormy.