There is a fine line between giving too much of yourself and refusing to help others for selfish reasons. I tend to burn out because I give until I have nothing left. I'm not bragging, I'm admitting that I have issues. I read an article about 'me time' when my five were younger. It was interesting, but probably propagated mom guilt up the wazoo. The writer asserted that you can never have too much 'me time', thus you expect two hours alone during naps and you are irritated when life happens and interrupts that time alone. That well deserved time alone, which she said wasn't a right, was a monster which crept into our lives until we wanted more and more of it. I bought into that short article and bear many scars as a result. It took a long time for me to realize that it's okay to do something for myself. I still feel guilty, but I know that without taking care of myself I can't take care of everyone else.
It's a "put on your oxygen mask before helping those in need" lifestyle. The past few days have been busy. That doesn't do the chaos justice. Lovely chaos, as I am watching the Bigs help with Littles. I ask each of the kids once a day how they feel about the new additions. I'm hoping to head off any feelings of irritation or anger by lessening a burden if they mention that. But, no one is taking a poll from me to see what I might be feeling. Did I mention my husband left Monday morning and won't get home until tonight? If he gets home tonight, since he just texted me to tell me that all planes are grounded.
It's Everett's birthday. Fifteen years today. Blows my mind. He told his friend he couldn't do an amusement park this weekend because he couldn't leave me with all of these babies.
Sweet guy...maybe. I question his motives. Where was that attitude last night? He had a cross country pasta dinner at 6, the girls had soccer practice at 7, and the babies were wailing to eat. Actually, everyone was wailing to eat. So I scurried, and realized that I was the only one scurrying. Between the high chair and stove and back again and in the background...is that Wild Kratts I hear? No time for me to call for help, I continued scurrying and Everett moaned about being late to the pasta dinner. Then he disappears, while I'm throwing meatballs and bread on plates and scooping the messy baby up to accompany us around the corner for Everett's dinner. He is no where to be found and finally after yelling several times I catch a glimpse of him sitting in the van.
He's calmly waiting for me to chauffeur him to his party. Deep breath. Another one, because, really, I'm sweaty and hungry and toting a baby that he's going to feed as we drive and frustrated because I was looking everywhere for him. Upon my return, the whole house greets me in the yard. The Escape Artist is sans clothing and covered in marinara. She's full and smiley so that makes me smiley. Then the big four open their mouths and yell four different requests.
"Ella's new cleats are both left feet! You need to take her back to the store!"
"Can you take me to Speedway to buy a soda? You promised!"
"She's covered in pasta and touching everything! Make her stop!"
"Mom! I can't find my..."
I might have cried, if I had the energy. Instead, I just covered my face and quietly whispered, "I am so hungry. I am so tired. I need your help."
Quietly whispering is scary to kids. I heard that at a women's breakfast. Experience has taught me that it's true. Suddenly, baby was in another's arms. I had a plate of pasta sitting in front of me and the kitchen was a flurry of cleaning. Then, the two girls rode off to practice on their bikes, Everett texted me that he had a ride home, and the house was still.
We did baths, books, and bottles. And realized after severe withdrawls that pacifiers are like a drug to some children and losing 'their' pacifier is akin to stabbing them repeatedly in the ear. Or so she made us believe. We did find a second best lost in the lining of the diaper bag, but only after enduring screaming and writhing for 30 minutes.
After that, I felt that I deserved a run. I was taking ME TIME. Even when two kids begged to join me, I held strong. And you know what? They weren't heartbroken. They didn't even really care. They played cards and were happy.
By the time I finally left it was dark. I hate running in the dark, but I was desperate. It was dark, quiet, and cooler than it had been all day. The run felt soothing. Did I mention it was really dark? Dark enough for me to break a leg by tripping on the sidewalk. I had to cramp my ninja-running by using my phone flashlight to shine on my path. Still, it was a great run, I felt great about finally taking 20 minutes to myself. I felt great because it was so quiet and cool. I was a ninja gliding through the night. Then a bug shot to the back of my throat and I dry heaved.
In the dark, quiet, stillness I stood dry heaving in my neighbors grass. A Perfect finale to my day.