House of Cards

You've been wondering how I'm getting settled, how the new job is going, and whether or not my sanity is still intact with all the Major Life Changes happening in one giant perfect storm of less-than-ideal timing. I've read your emails and I am so grateful for them. Of course, I've responded to your displays of kindness with the cold shoulder not just because I am a giant slacker who often spends her 10 minutes of kid-free time each day with her head in her hands, wondering which of the 14,000 items on her to-do list to tackle first, rather than, you know, actually tackling one of them items, but because to explain the ridiculousness of my life right now in an email message would probably max out the available storage in your Inboxes.

I am busier now than I've ever been in my life.

The House

We are moved in, but there are still unpacked boxes everywhere. The kitchen is settled, which I suppose is among the most important areas of the house, but there are unorganized toys everywhere, which makes me extremely anxious every time I see them.

This is the view from the cutout window in my kitchen. And yes, the family room/play area always looks like this, and more often, it looks worse than this.



The kids' rooms essentially have their cribs (and Isabella has her bed) in them, a dresser, and the all-important white noise machine, and that's about it. I need to do some major unpacking and rearranging of furniture among the three rooms (for example: Isabella no longer needs her combo changing table/dresser, so she needs to swap dressers with Luci. And Nicholas' clothes are still in the dresser we had in the twins' room at the old house, which is located in Luci's room). These are only two of the several dozen little things that need to get done, but for which I have no time whatsoever.

There are walls that need painting, a rug that needs professional steaming, two fireplaces that need cleaning and many, many other projects. None are getting done anytime soon.

Most depressing for me is that my office is still in boxes and not set up. I finally have a designated space of my own, and yet being in that room causes me a great deal of stress since it's full of clutter.

The view from my desk calms me down a bit, or at least it does when I'm not being summoned away from it 400,000 times every hour.


I despise living in a state of chaos. Of course, that's pretty much defined my life for the past year, but moving into this house and then not having the time to settle it because of having three non-sleeping kids around all day long and having tons of work to do (more on this soon) means that every time I enter a room, I see a project that needs completing or a box that needs unpacking. What I would not give for 24 hours in my house, alone.

Work

The deal with freelancing is that when it rains, it pours. Not only have I begun teaching for Large Online University, but I have three freelance projects queued up as well. Where were these projects when I was desperate for work and not planning on moving anytime soon, just four months ago? I have taken all of them on because we need the money, because I want to work and enjoy working, and because I am a complete and total masochist. The timing of all these projects could not possibly be worse, but it's also forced me to put some thought into getting childcare help beyond what my older relatives are capable of. They come over a couple times a week for around two hours to help out with the kids, but because they're in their 80s, they can't watch all three kids at once, which means I still need to be visible and watching one or more of the kids (more often than not, the twins). On the rare occasion that I need to make a quick 15-minute run to the store solo, I come home and all hell has broken loose. It's too much for them (hell, my kids are too much for ME most of the time).

I have the number of a friend's babysitter's friend (follow that?) and I am thinking of having her over to watch the kids for one or two hours a few afternoons a week. I'm also contemplating dropping off one twin each at my grandma's and at my great aunt's one day each week on a day Isabella is in preschool for the morning. The only problem is that they live about 15-20 minutes from me, and by the time I did the drop off and drove all the way back home, I'd have an hour before Isabella would need to be picked up. But then we would come home and then she'd be in her room for her "Not A Nap" for 2 hours, so I could work during that time (as opposed to listening to the babies take turns screaming off and on for 2 hours, which is what I do now during their "naptimes").

I'm still working on a plan, but something's got to give because I cannot take on as much work as I have and cram it into the cracks of my day like I've been doing so far. I need childcare help, and I need it now.

Me

I am a frazzled, exhausted, hot mess. My mom took one look at this photo from Halloween, which I had posted on FB, and immediately called me to tell me I looked like sh*t (in not so many words) and to ask me all the motherly questions as to whether I was getting enough sleep, rest, etc. Oh, hahahahahahahahhaha! Sleep and rest? What the hell are those?

Granted, I do look like hell, but I've become so accustomed to looking exactly like I look in this photo (12-inch-deep dark circles under my eyes and a "I-had-5-hours-of-sleep-and-12-cups-of-coffee-this-morning" expression on my face) that it's completely normal to me. In fact, I think I have to look back to 2005 (pre-Isabella) to see a decent photo of myself.

As you might imagine, I have been working late into the evening to stay on pace with my deadlines. This is the only time of my day when I know that I will not be interrupted by needy, screaming children. I have tried to beat them awake in the mornings by getting up at 6am and trying to work then, but each time I've done this, someone is up shortly after.

It's like they are purposefully trying to thwart my plans.

I may try to switch up my schedule by going to bed earlier and then getting up around 5am, but I can barely get up at 6am. Why, you ask?

Well, Luci has been getting up around 3am and crying for over an hour off and on every night for the last week or so. The hubs attempts to get her back to sleep (he can settle her down and I cannot, because she wants only one thing from me, and it's something she cannot get from him, if you catch my drift), but she wakes up and starts screaming again the second she's placed back in her crib.

I have no idea WTF her problem is, but when Mama goes to bed at midnight, Mama does not want to be awakened 3 hours later every.single.night.

Luci and Nicholas have had colds for the past week-and-a-half, making them even more challenging and needy and whiny than they normally are. By the time the hubs gets home each night, I am damn near suicidal and ready to run far, far away.

My grandma was over the other day, gushing over Isabella and the twins as she normally does, and I told her I cannot wait until the twins turn 3. I am not a baby person, and I cannot stand the level of need L & N have for me right now. It's suffocating. She, of course, told me that I will miss their babyhoods when they are Isabella's age, and maybe I will.

But two years from now, Isabella will be in kindergarten (I'm crossing my fingers that my district switches to full-day) and the twins will be in preschool (I am totally opting for the 3-day plan for them), and then?

Then, I can have my life back. I might miss their open-mouthed, slobbery baby kisses and the way they always want to be held, but I will not miss the crushing responsibility and constant attention they require.

Until that point, I see a lot of boxes staying unpacked, a lot of late nights, and a complete dearth of time for myself in my future.

12 Responses to “House of Cards”

  1. # Blogger Jamie

    Nods head in agreement.

    Hugs you to give you some support.

    Feels your pain.  

  2. # Blogger Mom24

    The thing is, memory's a bitch. Chances are you'll only remember the open-mouthed, slobbery baby kisses and the way they always want to be held, and block out the crushing responsibility and constant attention they require.

    I wish I lived closer. I'd help you out in a minute.

    (((Hugs)))  

  3. # Blogger Melissa

    I will never *never* block out the crushing responsibility and constant attention that babies require. In fact, I'm thinking of telling my children not to bring the grandchildren around until they are beyond the toddler stage. Okay, so maybe I'll feel otherwise in 15 years or so, but there is NO part of me that wants to relive the early days (other than to hold them while they are sleeping peacefully).

    It does get better. It really and truly does.

    HUGS!  

  4. # Blogger Sunny

    Holy shite. That is a LOT going on. Way, way too much. I moved with a 3-month-old while working a regular PT job, and it was brutal enough. What you are going through now is over the top!! I totally get why you are counting down the next two years. But I hope it gets easier before then... you'll get settled into the house, the babies will sleep better, and you'll get into a routine with your work.

    And don't forget to save those keep-your-sanity tips for those of us a little ways behind you. ;)  

  5. # Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom

    Wow, sounds really tough. Lots of change going on at the same time. I hope you can get childcare so you can work. I know how precious few a good freelancing gig is!  

  6. # Anonymous Anonymous

    FYI my friends from preschool (the kids' not mine preschool I mean) said they posted a "Babysitter Wanted" sign at Naz and St John Fisher and got AWESOME sitters. They both work from home (read Starbucks) and the sitters really have been great!  

  7. # Blogger Jesser

    You got a hard gig and you handle it well. I am always impressed. I do hope you can find someone to watch the kids now and again. Have you thought about an in-home daycare? Our sitter charges $40/day and charges that only if the kids are there ... this summer I'd drop Tabby off and have a day just with Ben or both of them when I had to get into work for a little while. $40 or $80 well worth it.

    Hang in there, lady. I am sure you will miss it, but it is not easy, this baby stage. It is what will probably keep me from having anymore.  

  8. # Anonymous Ness

    Childcare. Childcare. Childcare.

    WORTH EVERY PENNY.

    I get the whole "when it rains it pours" thing, because it happens to me, of course my catastrophe was a broken computer (still waiting for the new one) and two sick kids (consecutively, not concurrently).

    Seriously. Do not listen to the voices of the SAHM's who think it's ludicrous to have someone else look after your child. They spout oppinions and then go back to color co-ordinating the toy blocks.

    Being a WAHM is INFINITELY harder than a SAHM (even though both are a challenge, yes.

    At my eldests school, I was chatting to one of the moms who's boy and girl are the same age as my two boys. She had hired a full time nanny (7h30am till 4h30pm) to take care of her daughter (18mths) all day, and her son (3.5yrs) in the afternoons after school. She is a graphic designer working from home, in an office off the lounge (with an actual door separating them) and she said she's now considering putting the younger one into a 'not at home' nanny/day-mom situation in the mornings as well, because she said that even though she has a perfectly delightful nanny to entertain the little darlings, the interruptions DO NOT STOP. (I concur with this, because my 4yr old is home from noon each day). My 18 months old little tiger is at a 'day-mom' with 4 other little dudes his age, and loves it. I *love* it. He gets to spend all day hanging with his homey's, napping, eating, and learning, from someone who has dedicated their life to making his life an absolute pleasure. Instead of someone who is stressed, crabby, exhausted, and NOT IN THE FREAKIN MOOD TO ENTERTAIN.

    As moms we really put TOO MUCH PRESSURE on ourselves to be everything. I will happily raise my hand everytime if someone asks to see the moms who love their kids, but really aren't that great with the kiddy stuff. This way, I get to work uninterrupted in the mornings, put up with minimal distractions from the older one from 12-4 and then juggle the evening routine. Next year, the situation will alter somewhat with the older one being busy till 4, and the younger one till 12, so they are both getting undivided attention from me at various phases.

    Anyhoo, taking up your whole comments box here.

    Childcare. (points finger).

    It's a good thing!  

  9. # Blogger Sasha

    I am 100% with Ness, but then you know that.

    You have to think of a portion of your income as automatically gone to childcare. You will be happier, although probably not AS happy as when your kids are five.

    This stuff is so hard. SO hard. Do not feel bad about needing help.  

  10. # Blogger Christine

    Depending on what you can afford, get you some childcare. Even if it is for just a few extra hours a week, so you can get work/you stuff done and not need to worry about a kid or three needing you. Maybe a responsible high school student who can hang out from 3ish until 6 a few times a week? I did that in high school, and it worked out great, the money for me was amazing, I liked hanging out with the kidlet, and kidlet's family was able to do the things they needed to do.

    Good luck!  

  11. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    Good luck with everything! And with finding a sitter. Does your church do a mother's day out? It wouldn't get you tons of time, but you might get a good 3 hour block 1-2 times a week.  

  12. # Blogger Simply-Mel

    "...Then, I can have my life back. I might miss their open-mouthed, slobbery baby kisses and the way they always want to be held, but I will not miss the crushing responsibility and constant attention they require."

    Amen sista. Hooligan has been in school 5 morns a week for the last 10days and my life is bizarrely normal. I can scarcely recognise it.

    And I have learnt not to despise myself for recognising that paid childcare makes me a MUCH NICER MOM AND WIFE. So its worth every friggin cent. (ask my husband!)  

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