I should have known this would happen.
It took a few days to create a schedule that actually built in time for things I’d been mostly missing for the past few years: simple things like sleep, showering, and exercise – things I really want and need to do to be a better mother, wife, and person.
My plan included hard-scheduled time for work and keeping house, for specially focused Mommy time for each child as well as time for me to blog about my inner thoughts.
The new schedule kept me going at a rapid pace from sun up to lights out, but I sincerely hoped that this time – after having leapt over several major hurdles in the past six months – that this time, I could fit it all in and have at least a drop of consistency in my life.
Then school started, and Elijah got croup.
Then Raphael got croup.
Then my back gave out and utterly stopped everything (almost).
I just don’t get a chance to actually stop. I squeezed in my first visit to the chiropractor while Elijah went to playtime at a local gym with a friend. I literally couldn’t get off the table after my adjustment.
With tears of pain and the doctor’s help, I got into my car and went to pick up my boy. A teacher work day had snuck up on me, so I postponed my work deadlines, again, to watch my son for the no-school day.
Fortunately, another friend took Elijah to a park with her boys for an hour and a half late in the afternoon, and Raphael’s babysitter kept my youngest boy for the day. I think my broken back would have landed me in the hospital by now if I had had to watch both kids all day.
Unfortunately, paying for Raphael’s care while I’m not billing for work hours (I’m a freelance contractor) is a recipe for financial disaster. It’s a recipe I’ve been following for way too many weeks because I simply cannot get it all done.
I get it that not being able to get it all done is a universal motherhood cry.
I also know that I have groomed a beautiful safety net of friends to help when life’s relentless obstacles get in my way. I am excessively grateful for it.
But Greg doesn’t have that. When crap hits his fan, he counts on me to pick up the slack.
Monday night, Greg’s car got broken in to. He was stuck in downtown Denver while I was fighting stabbing back pain and trying to get the kids fed and get out of the house to attend my weekly Parent Resource Group. I’ve come to rely on it to offload my emotional stuff and try to remain a resilient, giving mom.
Greg was supposed to take over our boys’ night-night routine. He was late to begin with. Now he wanted me to load the kids in the car, when they should headed for bed, and drive 25 miles to get him.
Instead, I called my friend Sara. She dropped her cart mid-shopping-trip at Costco and hustled over to my house to help me put my kids to bed so I could get to my group meeting, at least until Greg was done reporting the thwarted car theft. Fortunately, a tow truck driver reverse hot-wired his car, and he managed to get himself home.
When I got home, Greg asked what he could do to help me since I could barely walk by that point. I asked him to make Raphael’s drinks for the next day. He grunted with displeasure. I felt unsupported.
The next morning, I noticed he forgot to do the requested chore, and we launched into a too-common argument.
“I’m stressed, too, you know,” he said. “Someone tried to steal my car.”
The car’s not even insured. We both feel strained.
We bicker in front of the kids.
I hate it, especially because Elijah gets off track when Greg and I aren’t getting along. That means my child becomes really, really hard on me. That means he is processing emotional upheaval. It means I need to connect to my little boy more and listen to him more.
It means I need to work on my marriage and take on more.
I carry an even bigger load on my injured back.
And so it goes.