spread way too thin

I, I’m spread way too thin
Everybody wants to know what’s happenin
I, I’m spread way too thin
What’s the big rush now, tell me why you’re rushin’*

Last night (Tuesday) I started a post about a small moment with Eddie that made me so filled with happiness I almost burst in our local grocery store.

I started the post at 8:30pm after putting him to bed.  I had quizzes to grade, but I figured that since the event was fresh, I would hammer it out, hit post, and move on to my quizzes.  It takes me about 30 minutes per class to mark them and enter them into the grade book, and I had three classes to do.  That would still give me time to get to bed by 10pm–something I desperately needed after all the running I did that day.

Instead, I got about 2 paragraphs down before Eddie got out of bed a total of 6 times.  It wasn’t just getting up either, he was doing ridiculous things each time like taking all his bedding and clean laundry and stuffed animals and his bean bag and putting it all in a pile in the middle of the room and then telling me he couldn’t sleep because his bed was messy.  O_O

All this time he was fighting bedtime, he was also getting very tired and very whiney and very VERY sobby.  I was getting tired and stressed and angry.

If you have read this blog for any amount of time you know that when Eddie and I clash, things get ugly because we are the exact same person.

By the time Cort got home at 10:15pm, there was a broken humidifier (Eddie’s doing), a crying three year old (my doing), and a crying mommy (our doing).  I was lying in bed with him and we were apologizing to each other and crying.

Cort took over and I stayed up until 11:30 getting my grades done, but not the post.

People?

There are cracks in the foundation.

After Cort came upstairs after getting Eddie calmed, he sat across from me.

It was all too familiar.

Me in my chair, him on the couch.

His worried, concerned face.

My tear-stained face.

Defeated, I covered the same ground I did 3 years ago.

It’s happening again.  Just like after I went back to work after having Eddie.

I want to do it all.

I want to be the best mom and the best teacher.  I have the passion for both.

But I can’t.

When I am busting my butt to be a great teacher and really do all the awesome things I want to, I am neglecting everything and everyone in our house.

When I say “no” to grading a bit longer or staying at work a bit later to plan, stuff piles up.  Deadlines become frantic (like the progress report deadline of 8am tomorrow {Thursday} that I am avoiding by writing this out).

I can’t win.

My weekends are jam-packed with things I totally want to do, but adding that to the already non-stop work week means that other than sleep, I am getting less than an hour TOTAL of Katie time a week.

The cracks in the foundation are rapidly starting to become fault lines.

Well everybody’s callin’, but I just need some time
Yeah I just need some room to breathe again
A way to clear my mind

While changing a poopy pants the other day I had a quick vision of myself sitting in a room of my own.

There was a desk with a nice area for grading and planning.

My laptop was there for writing.

My notebook was open to a fresh page.

There was a window looking out to trees and flowers and singing birds…or a rainy day…or a snow-covered lawn.

There was a steaming hot cup of coffee next to me and I was wearing yoga pants and a hoodie.

And I was at peace.

And then I looked down and realized there was poop on my hand and the baby was crying.

This introvert needs solitude to recharge.

And that is not happening.

Right now, my entire existence is for others. Every ounce of energy I have is being squeezed out for others’ needs.

And I am left empty and broken.

*Lyrics from “Spread Too Thin” by Dirty Heads

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Oh, Katie. I wish I had magic words. Or a wand that I could wave to make more hours in the week. Or grade papers for you.

    Or I wish I could just give you a hug.

    Even though you’re not a hugger.

  2. And Emma just posted that for me before I was done.

    Part 2: Finish each day. Let go of the things that aren’t absolutely necessary. All of these things are things I know you know. But give yourself permission to let go of them. And furthermore, give yourself permission to survive, by any means necessary. You will make it through this.

  3. Oh no, this sounds all too familiar. I tried going back to work twice, once when my middle daughter started preschool and then again when my little one was almost two. I only did the part time gig and still it was too much… Trying to be the best teacher I could be (writing great lesson plans, finding fun and age appropriate activities etc) and maintaining the house hold, keeping my three kids and the hubby happy… it wasn’t happening. So for all our sakes I quit my job and stayed home again. I hope, that you will find some Katie time very soon and that things will settle!!! xxx

  4. Finding a balance is incredibly difficult and if you don’t bend then something has to break. Try to let go of the things you can and be flexible on the things you can’t. Eddie’s behavior is likely a result of him trying to adjust to the new schedule and changes in his life. You will get through this…I promise!

  5. Have you been reading my diary/blog? 🙂

    This was me 1.5 years ago… except I didn’t hold it together and went on stress leave. This year, I’m teaching less, and while the $ issue is scary, losing my mind was scarier.

    Before these “lose it” moments become too frequent, ask yourself what your priorities are and live and make choices accordingly. You must keep your cup full in order to share with others.

    Do what you need to do, not just to survive, but to have joy.

    I always think to myself, if it’s the right thing to do, God will bless it.

  6. I had a daughter 9, almost 10 months ago. Before we decided to get pregnant, my husnband and I had a frank discussion. Parenting was stressful for me and although he’s available, he works between 1.5 hours and 2 hours away, so I couldn’t really count on him to be physical support. At the end of the discussion, we decided that upon the having of our next child, we would consider me becoming a stay-at-home mom. I wanted it all, but realized that I was sacrificing the family that I really wanted to hold together since no one else in my family managed to. I couldn’t do it all. Not only did my priorities change, I’m really enjoying it. Instead of a 9-5, I consult. That way I can keep my days flexible, deadlines are a little longer, and I don’t have to spend the day face-to-face with people who interrupt me while I’m trying to be productive. It’s not tons of money, but it’s some and it’s nice.

    I always think of the saying “No one ever said they wished they would’ve worked more on their death bed.”

  7. Katie,

    I wish I could do something to help you. I wish I could make your load lighter. I know you will figure it out… you are a fighter. You can do this. It will be ok again.

    Much, much love.

  8. Imperfectmomma says

    Why do we always have this persistent need to be superwoman? huge hugs person I am just getting to know. Hope you find a peace soon

  9. After I tuck the boys into bed, I lock their bedroom door from the outside. Oh yes I do. It took just a few nights, but now Gage knows he can’t get out to stall for more time. Around 9pm when I come back upstairs, I unlock it. That 90 minutes of the locked door works like a dream.

  10. TheNextMartha says

    I’m so so sorry. I really hope those cracks can get smaller. You deserve time too and not in your own head while you have poop on your hand. I hope you can get some.

  11. “my entire existence is for others…” Those words are right out of my life. I know the longing for solitude. It’s such a fantasy… such a necessity…
    Hang in there, Katie. It gets better, it gets manageable – you know it does. This is not forever.
    *hug*

  12. Learning to cut things out and slow down and make space (instead of cracks — which makes me giggle because I think of butts hehheh buttcrack and now you’re giggling hehheh two buttcracks) anyway where was I…
    Oh yes, it’s the hardest thing to figure out but my children and my response to them is my best barometer. Because they are just being kids (getting out of bed, not listening, not being flexible, not being predictable) and it took me years of planning around what I expected of them and then getting mad or embarrassed or stressed or overwhelmed. Not always and all the time but enough that I had to let go and let God take over more. I had to do less and have less commitments and friend time to make more Alex time. It’s weird and hard but it’s worth it now and I just trust that down the road when my kids don’t need me as much or they are more predictable, I can pick up some of that stuff again.

  13. I’ve just had two days that seemed like one long day, because I was trying to do it all AND squeeze some me time in. I just ended up exhausted and worn out and trying not to be resentful.

    I don’t have any advice, my sweet friend, I wish I do. Except maybe to breathe. And allow yourself to just be for a few minutes a day. To know that no one can do it all and do it all perfectly. We are designed to take time off. From everything and everyone. It’s the way we are, and we can’t fight that, or we’ll just be a crumpled heap on the floor.

    Love and light to you. xo

  14. Oh hon. I feel your pain. I was just talking to a friend today that I’m divided over the things I NEED to do – work, feed my kids, pay my bills (shite. I forgot to pay my bills today), and all the myriad of things a mom does – and the things I WANT to do – garden, can, write, cook real food instead of a box of mac and cheese with frozen fish sticks and a pretend vegetables. No really. Sometimes I’m too tired to fight about veggies so I just pretend I put them on the kids’ plates and they ate them all up.

    It’s hard because sometimes the things you want are also the things you need, but they’re not things you can make happen. Does that make sense?

    Just know that even though there are cracks, you’re not alone and if I ever discover the secret to adding hours to the day without taking them from sleep, I’ll share the info.

    xoxox

  15. OH GOOD LORD, I know this so well. Bless your heart; you need some sleep. You lovely, passionate woman– I just want to give you the gift of more time. WIsh I could.

  16. I’m a fellow PPD survivor (turned Bipolar). What you said here is what happens to me almost every day. Every freaking day. It’s why I do not good things to my body, for a release. If I’m hurting physically I can’t hurt mentally, right? Wrong. I want to be the outstanding mother, have a gloriously clean home and spare time for just me and spare time for me and my family. It just doesn’t work that way. I’ve been using every weekend to lay around and do nothing in between the cleaning, cooking, kid caring, etc…and that’s not good either. I wish there was an easy way to spread everything out. If you figure it out, please share. Unfortunately, I think this is just life. Monotonous and never changing unless we sacrifice in other areas.

  17. I think that every one of us, as mothers, wives, women, feel this all too often. The space and time we need to recharge, to regroup, to be EFFECTIVE in any of those roles is shared with wanting to do what we must as those women.

    I find myself so guilty for wanting to just “runaway” from my family or my chores on a daily basis, not to get away from them, but rather to be BETTER for them, to be the best person I can be FOR THEM.

    I wish you knew how I see you, how much I respect and envy the way you live and how you share it with us, because if you could, you’d see that I know that your heart is in all the right places and things are going to work themselves out.

    xo

  18. I wish I had more hours to give, more arms to give.

  19. I have no valid advice . . . only, well, you’re not the only one . . . I have a list of things that I want to get to. Things I want to write, songs I want to learn, people whose words I want to read, friends that I desperately need to catch up with . . . but between family & work, none of it gets done.

    And I want to cry and throw things and, well, act like my toddlers do when they don’t get their own way.

    And it sucks.

    And then I think that I suck.

    And that’s the start of something very, very, very bad.

    So I bury myself in the work (be it the paid work or the family work) and I start to lose myself, which is just as bad, but I don’t realize that it’s bad at all as it happens – only when I stop for air. And then it’s worse.

    So, as someone who is spread quite thin — all i can say is “hug”. If there was a way that I could give you extra hours in the day, or a house elf to take care of the more mundane stuff, I would.

  20. I really don’t know how you do it Katie. I stay at home all myself and that is extremely daunting. It’s silly. Throwing a job in the mix would send me and a car into a pole.
    Try try try hard at making that time for yourself. You need it to survive this.

  21. Sending you many hugs and lots of understanding. I hope you get some time just for YOU soon.

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