Confessional

Alice will be three months old this weekend and I have never had a day to myself since she was born. I’m mostly Ok with this because she is my little buddy and I haven’t had the downward spiral I felt with both of the boys when I had no alone time. But knowing that this week also marks the end of our alone time together since school will be out, scares me. And I am sad I didn’t take people up on the “just give me a shout out if you want me to take Alice off your hands for a bit.”

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I had a zit on my nostril months ago. It’s gone, but now the area is flaky and sometimes painful. I read recently that this can be a sign of skin cancer. Have I ever mentioned that I am paranoid about diseases like cancer? I’ve already had a pre-cancerous spot removed from my cheek. I haven’t gotten it checked out yet because A) OMG how many times can you email your doctor before he thinks you’re a freak show and B) “Hi. I have a weird spot on my nostril.”

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I have no fewer than 25 drafts going right now. I have a huge rush of ideas and words and I can feel them in my finger-tips, yet something has been stopping me from writing. Part of it is life, but part of it is my own confidence. My own “why even try?”  My soul is tired and beat down.

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The school year ended for my district on Friday, May 29. I am officially off maternity leave. Now I await my teaching assignment for next school year. I’m praying I don’t have to move buildings again, but at this point I will be happy with whatever I get. I love my district and our students. I hate that the state forces cuts on us every year affecting our great teaching staff, administration, and mostly our students and their families.  I try to pay attention to what is going on at the state-level regarding education, but it feeds my depression.

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Eddie cries a lot. Not because he is sad or depressed, but because if he even thinks that maybe he got hurt, he cries. I am scared that he will become a target for other kids. I’m afraid other kids will see him as a cry baby.

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I am constantly asking myself: “is this normal? is this just hormones? am I spiraling? is that depression, anxiety, paranoia? does he hate me? did I say something dumb? will they still want to be my friends? Is THIS depression?”  It’s exhausting.

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Age three is my least favorite age yet. When Eddie was three, I thought we wouldn’t make it. Now that Charlie is three, I am afraid he and I won’t make it through the summer together. He is more headstrong and aggressive than Eddie ever was anyway, but with this new “three-ness” he is getting downright awful. He even bit a kid at daycare.

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I have a post in draft about my faith that I am scared to finish and post.

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I’m scared to have my boys home with me this summer. Last summer I was excited about it because the summer before was so fun. Then I found out I was pregnant on the fourth of July and about a week later all the sickness and exhaustion hit and I cried almost daily. Cortney kept saying “next summer will be better when the baby is here.” But I am not so sure. I lose my temper so quickly lately, with Charlie especially. And the boys fight all the time. They can’t just go outside and play nicely for an hour. They are in and out with tattling every few minutes. I’m afraid I will be the crabby, yelly mom.

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I am in the process of taking inventory of my classroom library. I expected some book loss, but it’s still so sad. I want to have a sure-fire way to maintain and replace books, but I know I have to depend on the kindness of others. It is glorious, by the way, how people step up and give. I know I need to let go of wanting to control knowing that books will come, but at the same time, I need books!

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I work really hard not to vent all my whiny crap all over social media, but looking at my Instagram and Facebook, I’ve noticed that it’s hiding a lot of pain with a lot of happy. Not that the happy is fake, but it’s not the whole story.

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I hate asking people to watch my kids even for legit reasons like appointments. I hate even more asking people to watch my kids just so I can have a break or so Cortney and I can go out. We’ve been out on a double-date ONCE since Alice was born.

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I worry about money (or the lack of it) constantly.

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I always feel like I am either A) waiting for something big to happen that will help us financially or B) giving up on anything ever happening.  And then I feel like a selfish ass because I guess I know money doesn’t buy happiness and all that, but I also feel like it was someone with money who said that.

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I am uncomfortable with myself lately. This is probably why I worry about money because maybe I want to buy things to feel better, and I know that won’t fix how I feel about myself. I know what I need to do to feel better, but it all seems…unpleasant. I am a giant wuss and an even gianter (yes, I made that word up) complainer.

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I don’t really know what “take care of you” means. How do I do that? Where is the line between taking care of myself and just being selfish? How do I take care of myself without being a jerk to my family? I don’t even know what to ask for.

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All of these things are so stupid. Right now I have a sleeping baby girl next to me and a cup of coffee. My husband has a job he loves. My three-year old has a smile that takes up his whole face. My oldest is about to finish Kindergarten and turn six. My life is super fantastically awesome. All of the above doesn’t matter and does matter at the same time. All of the wonderful is SO wonderful. And all of the other stuff is just peripheral, but it’s still there.

It’s still there.

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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. Ok, I have to keep myself from responding to each point individually, because I don’t want to hog your whole commenting space (is that a thing? can a comment only be so long?)
    Anyway – I worry about the line between selfish and self-care as well, especially since I grew up hearing that I’m the most selfish person ever, constantly (from my mom). But I’m here to tell you that it’s all self-care, until you feel like you can be there for others. You need to be well! And I’m sure that you can still take all kinds of people up on the offer to take Alice or one of the other kids for a bit; it’ll be fun for everyone!
    Also – I’m your worry-about-cancer sister. Seriously. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that my search history is probably filled with “what are the early symptoms of xyz cancer”…
    Love you! xox

  2. Hi Katie – I read your blog often but don’t comment much. This post really struck a cord with me – I relate to every paragraph except the teaching ones (but I have sent you books!). I just wanted to say hi and let you know that there are other moms feeling the exact same way (especially about the three-nager…). Your openness on this blog helped me face my post partum depression and finally take medication to deal with it. Thank you. I hope you reach a better rhythm in life soon.

  3. I have learned to take care of myself without feeling selfish. About 75% of the time anyway. I take my 2 solo hours every week whether or not I feel like going out, or whether I’m feeling guilty or not about it. I TAKE IT. Because I know that I need it.

    Age 3 is the most challenging for us too. I feel you there so much. Sigh.
    Alison recently posted…The Long GoodbyeMy Profile

  4. This is one of the more honest things I’ve read lately and some of it really hits home with me. Every summer I worry abut having both my kids home. My son used to turn into a monster during summer vacation. He’s so much better now that he’s older. But I still worry. Actually, I worry about quite a bit. Because of that, I’ve realized that time to myself is so important. And if others feel you’re being selfish by taking a few hours for yourself, ignore them. It’s needed!

    I could go on and on with each of your points, especially with the teacher stuff and budget cuts (our district is an ugly mess right now due to lack of funding) but I’d probably hog your comments. Just know that you’re now the only one who feels these things.
    Evonne recently posted…When a Haircut Turns into Something MoreMy Profile

  5. Oh, hon, none of this is stupid. None of it at all.

    Take care of you is so easy to say when you’re on the outside. But this – writing it out – it’s a part of taking care of you. You need to let it out. You need to feel supported. Know we’re here. We send you hugs and love.

    All of this, so real and raw, love to you. You’re allowed to show some of the unhappy w. the happy. Social media tends to be a happy place and blogs tend to be where we pour it all out. However we do it, it’s okay. Sending loads of love. I wish I were nearby so I could come over, hold that baby so you could go out and run whatever errands/escape you needed and make you dinner. <3
    Andrea B. recently posted…Maternal Mental Health Awareness and SupportMy Profile

  6. I could write a book in your comments, responding to all of this. But I’ll restrain myself. 😉

    Three is hard. A baby is hard. Thinking about money sucks. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. Book loss always made me sad. I hate asking others to watch my kids and yet they don’t have a problem asking me, so I’m trying to understand that it’s okay for me to ask, too.
    Shell recently posted…It Wasn’t Personal… or Was It?My Profile

  7. I have learned (the hard way) that taking care of myself first is better for all of us as a family. If I feel neglected, then I tend to neglect. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Please don’t be so hard on yourself. Money, new babies, new family dynamic are all going to throw your life into the spin cycle, just hold on and know that it will stop..eventually.

    Personally? I think you’re doing a phenomenal job juggling all of it and you made three beautiful amazing kiddos.

    Take a break today, sit, think, write …nap! Whatever makes you happy.

    Love you.
    Kir recently posted…Pour Your Heart Out: 10My Profile

  8. TheNextMartha says

    Sending you a hug. It’s ok to let go, there’s plenty of people willing to listen. <3

  9. THANK YOU for being brave enough to write and post this. As a working mom of a preschooler and a 6-month-old I could relate to so much of it. I’ve struggled with depression, too, and I’m also constantly worrying about money and battling my self image. Yet I also know I am so blessed, and I truly am thankful for everything in my life. It makes for a weird mix of feelings sometimes. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone in the way I feel.

  10. I’ve started having near panic attacks on Sunday nights if I’ve been alone with the kids all weekend (which happens every now & then). Partly, it’s because dammit, I need some time to myself. Partly, it’s because I’ve been with my kids and, well, I know how they are when they’re with me — and if I’m not with them (as happens every Monday), so much could go wrong that I might not know about.
    *************
    I’m pretty sure the “doctor thinks you’re a freak” line is about 72 emails. And nostril zits are almost the worst (I believe they’re just nominally worse when in the ear canal).

    I’ve lost a significant amount of weight over the past few years . . . yet I somehow convinced myself that I have hypothyroidism, until a doctor visit, when I couldn’t explain muscle cramps.

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    I believe “tired” is just my default state these days. If I were naming my blog today? It’s be “daddy is fucking tired”.

    And I have 17 drafts . . . including 7 copies of the same post for which I’m just not emotionally ready to hit “publish”.
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    My wife’s last day is next Thursday — she’s working as a librarian, but because of the way the school year went, she’s, technically, been a long term sub all year. She interviews for a job that she’s been doing, by all accounts, exceedingly well tomorrow.
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    Kids grow out of the crying bit. CJ cries whenever he feels that “something might hurt.” Yet, when he actually does get hurt, he’s quick to shake it off . . . I think it’s mostly an anxiety issue, and it just brings itself out in odd fashion at present.
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    You do that too? There are days where I spend more effort contemplating the state of my sanity than I spend anywhere else.
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    Three sucked. Kids wanting to be able to communicate as well as adults, but getting frustrated in not being able to do so. Kids wanting to be able to do everything that adults do, but growing frustrated in not being able to do so. Potty training issues. Learning what “no” means. Learning to be defiant. Seriously, the age three can suck a bag of dicks.
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    That’s one of my 17 posts, on this end as well — though I’d be curious to read yours . . . part of why I haven’t posted mine is because I’m pretty sure I’d offend 2-3 of my last remaining readers.
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    My wife will be home with the two kids, all day every day . . . and I worry for her. I find myself actually trying to figure out what I’ll be able to swing, schedule-wise, to ensure that I’m home as much as possible . . . just because I know how crabby I can get if I’m with my kids all day. That said — art projects and the pool and the park and riding bikes . . . there’s lots of good stuff that can come about from being home.
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    Books are wonderful.
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    I know that “social media facade” is a very real thing. I worry when people are able to tell the difference between my smile & my fake smile.
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    I hate the same . . . I have my mom, my sister, my mother in law, my sister in law, and two other couples who all practically BEG to watch my kids. Yet, I’m reluctant to ask, and only ever do so when presented when, essentially, the only alternative is to have my kids playing with legos under a boardroom table during the day.
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    Yeah . . . money issues suck.
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    I’ve given up on anything big happening to help, financially. I’ve given up on ever not living paycheck to paycheck. The worry is exhausting.

    Every now & then I try to sit down to figure out what it would take for me to *not* worry about money . . . no rational dollar figure from a potential windfall fully eases my concerns.
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    This is why I focus so much on diet & working out . . . I feel the need to make things better, but I feel like my sphere of influence is about 2 inches outside of my skin.
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    Same here — no clue, at all.

  11. Oh the money… Me too. And I agree about that money can’t buy happiness line. Maybe not, but I bet I would stress less if I didn’t have to worry about it all the time.
    Jennifer recently posted…Netflix RecommendationsMy Profile

  12. Rather than try to keep it from being there, just focus on not letting it consume you. It’s hard as hell, I know, to keep the bad feelings, bad thoughts, worry at bay.
    Arnebya recently posted…The Songs That Made MeMy Profile

  13. I relate to so much of this. Age three, summers with all of the kids, money, self-confidence. I have gotten better at self-care and I hope you can, too. Sending all of the love and knowledge that you are NOT ALONE.
    Greta recently posted…We Had A Day Out With Thomas #Giveaway!My Profile

  14. I read this early today on my phone and did not comment.
    Then, before I came here from my computer, I saw the Anne Lamott piece you shared.

    So. Imagine I said all those great things she said.
    That’s what was in my heart, I just didn’t have the words.

    I’ve been there, at the precipice of a long summer between teaching gigs with little babies/children and no normal routine because I didn’t work year-round but couldn’t ignore the months I was home…

    You are not alone. Talk to your mountain. Remember there are others with you standing at the foot of it.
    julie gardner recently posted…ListsMy Profile

  15. I could also write a novel in response to this post!! I’m wiping the tears from my face in solidarity… I’ve so been there, hell, I AM there on some of these confessionals!

    I *dread* summer! I’d sign up for year-round school in a SECOND! My kids would too! By the end of July, we’re all frazzled and… READY. And I’ve been in a writing FUNK. I have a couple dozen drafts floating around as well… I just can’t break out of it.

    You are not alone.

    Also, I know we’re not close-close… but… I know we don’t live far in proximity! So, seriously, if you ever want to meet for alcohol, say the word. Sending a hug in the meantime. 🙂
    Kelli recently posted…Beer-Candied BaconMy Profile

  16. I feel like I need to tell you that I bit all my nails off the other day. 😉

    I hope you feel better after writing this all out…
    Elaine A. recently posted…Sum-sum-summa Time!My Profile