That Day I Got A Break

Last week Monday night I was feeling sorry for myself.

I was already stressed about getting my grades done, having parent/teacher conferences later in the week, and having absolutely no time. At all.

Cort is gone three nights a week:  Tuesday for league bowling and Wednesday & Thursday nights for class.

Monday night, he had also made plans to get a drink with his brother.  The plans had been made weeks ahead of time, I knew they were there, and I totally approved.  Cort’s brother is about to become a dad and since their own dad passed over seven years ago, he doesn’t have a father figure to chew the fat with.  Cort is painfully aware of this since he was in the same position three and a half years ago.  He wants to be there for his brother.

I totally get and support that.

But Monday was horrid. And busy. And stressful.

Cort left around 7pm and I was left with a cranky three year old and a teething baby.  Once I finally got Charlie down, Eddie was impossible.  He got up about a million times, was difficult, and there were many MANY tears {from both of us}.

When Cort finally got home just before 10pm, I was a wreck.

I knew in my head that everything was just what it was: busy.  Necessary, but busy.

But my irrational, anxiety-ridden voice up there kept piling on the self-pity.

I couldn’t focus and I was trying to get grades done.

A wonderfully wise friend {whom I had been texting my vents to for about an hour} encouraged me to talk with Cort that night, in person–not over email the next day when we were both busy with work–and get it all out.

So I did.

I told him that even though it made no sense and wasn’t rational, I was feeling trapped and burned out and just…blah.  That all my stress and all my worries were being made to feel even more massive because he was never around.  It was me and the boys three nights…and this week four.  And…and…Tuesdays he was out having FUN bowling. It wasn’t even class.  He got to drink beers with his brother while I played GO TO BED OR I WILL LOSE MY LAST MARBLE!

I told him sometimes I resented him.

I told him sometimes I get “needed” out and “touched” out.

I told him most days I want nothing more than to fall into bed after work because I am so tired and overwhelmed and that I am both glad for and horrified by having to keep plugging along for the two boys who do not care in the least that I am overworked.

And then I got quiet.

And he sat and didn’t say anything.

I looked at my hands.  My computer screen.  My phone.

He started doing homework.

So my Wonderful Friend and I had this convo via text:

Me: i said my piece to him and he isn’t responding. um.

WF: Huh. Is he sleeping?

WF: Like you said it in person or via text?

Me: Nopee. Just sitting here working on homework. Things now feel…awkward.

We went to bed with that awkward feeling.

I don’t ever remember doing that before.  It was…awkward.  And I did NOT love it.

The next day I got an email from Cort telling me that Saturday after he got our cars serviced bright and early, the rest of the day was mine.  He would stay home with the boys if I wanted to leave.  I could nap if I wanted to.

And he held true to this promise.

On Saturday morning I took a nap when he got home from car stuff, and later found that he left me a $20 on my dashboard for coffee treats at Starbucks.  I was able to set up shop for 2 hours with a venti pumpkin spice latte, my phone, and my laptop with my entire itunes catalog (which is unnecessarily extensive at over 40 days of music…and that is me handpicking stuff so that I don’t have our DAYS AND DAYS of Pearl Jam shows or the oddities that my wonderful husband collects from his equally wonderful best friend. I have 14,251 songs on my computer. Sheesh).

I got four posts written and and uncountable number of emails responded to.

When I got home, Eddie was just up from his nap and Cort took him to get groceries.  Charlie stayed sleeping so I got some laundry done and another post revised and submitted.

When the boys got home, I was able to take a leisurely shower and then put on real clothes and go see some girl friends for a couple hours.

And to end the night, I got some couch cuddles with my main squeeze.

I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference that day meant to my mental well-being.

Sunday I was happier and less anxiety-ridden about the weekend ending.

I started this week with a positive, rested mind and soul.

And more importantly, that one day to myself gave me more of a need to hug my little boys and to let myself be wrapped in my husband’s arms.

I KNOW that self-care is important.  I KNOW I need to set aside time to be alone and reboot.  I KNOW that Cort is not a mind-reader and needs me to ask.

Just ask.

And yet…I don’t.  I don’t want to look lazy or needy or annoying or as a burden.

So, as my psychiatrist said last week, I keep running this marathon at a sprint.

And I when I can’t keep up the pace, and I cramp up and collapse, then and only then do I ask for a break.

I can’t wait until disaster.  I can’t wait until I break.

I need to do this more often.

Thank you, Wonderful Friend (you know who you are), Cortney, and my healthcare professionals for pushing me to remember that out of all the people I take care of in my life, I can’t forget about myself.

Because without a healthy me, I can’t help anyone else.

my pretty new earrings that I got Saturday night at my friend’s house via R&L Design (click on pics to see her cutie shop)

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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. I suck at asking for help but am the first to offer it. I’m glad you got the break you needed. I hope they happen more often and before you are losing your marbles. I totally get this. Big Yankee has almost ALWAYS worked 2nd shift hours which has me working all day and parenting all night by myself. It’s exhausting and crazy making.

  2. I am so glad that you were able to get your break. I have a hard time asking to- since I’m SAHM it’s my
    ‘Job’ but there is a point where you need to walk away and just be you, by yourself, chillin’.

  3. I always, always feel guilty whenever I tell my husband that I need some me time. But I know I need it, because otherwise, I just suck. Suck at being a mother, suck at being a wife, suck at being a human being. On Tuesday, I dropped the baby off at my in laws, he stayed home with the toddler, and I managed to get two hours on my own. I lef the house, went to a cafe, ordered a cake and a coffee, and sat down to write. It did me a world of good. And yes, all I did was ask.

    You have a keeper there! Glad you’re feeling better.

  4. I am guilty of this. I’m glad you asked for time; you need to do it more often, maybe even try to set that one day a week/month/whatever works for you — MAMA AIN’T HOME THE THIRD FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH — something. (Mind you I don’t do this. I sit and stew and snap at my kids and resent my husband’s thrice weekly evening gym routine and roll my eyes and by the time I gently mention needing some time I’m already in my coat and my hat planning to say I’m going to buy bread but never coming back. Wouldn’t that be horrible? My kids would grow up being afraid of yeast. Pity).

  5. I stumbled onto your blog today and as I read this post I was all “OMG I have arrived!” I’m a SAHM and yesterday after 4 straight days of my hubby working late and me being home alone with 3 sick kids I was calling him at work with the “it’s time for you to come now or I’m going to lose my shit” SOS. And then when he got home I hid in the bathroom for 3 minutes and during that time one twin climbed the computer desk and the other twin ate a crayon and the 3 year old dumped a gallon of milk on the floor and I almost had a nervous breakdown. I haven’t had a “break” in weeks and yet I feel guilty asking for one. So thanks for reminding me how wonderful it feels and great it is for all involved. Because let’s be honest, it’s true what they say – if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Or something like that. I’m not good at using ain’t.

  6. I’m so so glad you had the chance to get out and recharge. I’ve told hubby that I feel like I need a day just to myself and I will make it happen soon… My sister and her family are due to arrive from Germany on Sunday and it will be a busy few weeks. But Starbucks, their Chai latte and free wifi are calling my name!

  7. I’m glad that you told him. They don’t know if we dont’ speak out.
    love you

  8. Im so emotional today, this absolutely made me cry. Bless your heart honey and the giant swallow of pride it took to tell your hubby how you felt. We could all take a lesson in that I am sure.

  9. Glad you got some time to yourself. It is SO important! I think most moms need this: “Because without a healthy me, I can’t help anyone else.” tattooed to their forearm.

    Pretty earrings.