Another week has gone by. And what a crazy one it has been.
Work sucks. I manage a team of recruiters and our company recently had to abolish individual quantitative goals due to federal government regulations. In the spirit of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” my thank you note is as follows…”Thank you Democratic Party…for inserting your nosy ass right where it doesn’t belong.”
Anyway, once goals were taken away and my team realized that they a) had no goals, and b) their manager would be out on maternity leave for 12 weeks, they decided to stop working. It is a classic case of “when the cat’s away the mice will play.” It’s terribly disappointing though because my team continued to perform very well when I was out on maternity leave with my first son. Even more, they were the rock stars of the company during our last fiscal year. Now that I’ve been back to work for a month, I finally have a grasp of what’s going on with my team. When I first got back, I had to learn about our entire new management and compensation plan. Everything changed during the 12 weeks I was out…and I mean everything…right down to our pay cycle and benefits. Our goals changed, how we conduct business changed, our data management systems changed, our Human Resources system changed, our pay periods changed, our benefits changed, our phone systems…EVERYTHING. The only thing that didn’t change was the name of our company, and I am half expecting that to change soon too.
I manage a group of “Mean Girls.” If you’ve ever seen the movie with Lindsay Lohan, you’ll know what I’m talking about. My team is divided. I have three team members who have continued to perform well and adapt to change. The other three however became lazy sacks of shit while I was out and decided to stop working. Because I am still required to generate a certain amount of revenue to my client based on the number of individuals I recruit to that client’s programs, my team still has to work. They are still goaled on qualitative objectives, which at the end of the day all relate back to how they perform on a quantitative level. Sounds all sorts of crazy and f*cked up, doesn’t it?
So, back to the Mean Girls. I have the ring leader, the stupid one, and the one who is constantly trying to ensure she fits in with the other two. Sometimes I swear the movie was filmed at my office. It is obnoxious. My Mean Girls are what you would describe as professionally immature. Try as I can to have a professional environment, they are an obstacle in allowing that to happen.
I have had to talk with each of them about arriving to work on time, turning on their computers and actually working when they arrive, working their entire shifts, and staying off of the internet during their work hours. I’ve had conversations and now most recently, documented conversations. This past Friday, my manager counterparts were in town for a meeting. We were all in my manager’s office when through the door I hear my three Mean Girls all in one of their cubes looking at wedding dresses online. WTF. I was less than five feet away. I had JUST spoken with two of them about browsing the internet not too days ago. I’m guessing they thought I wasn’t paying attention, but I was and so were my fellow managers. One of my manager colleagues stepped out of the office and asked what they were doing, and they said they were making calls. They lied to her face. It was incredible. She told them to get back to work and they reluctantly walked back to their desks and giggled a little bit. I was furious.
I continued with my managers’ meeting and we went to lunch. At lunch, I decided I would hold an impromptu meeting with my team and tell them exactly how I feel about their behavior. I scheduled the meeting for 4:30pm and was looking forward to it. Once I had all six in the office, I told them exactly how I felt. I pride myself on being flexible and fair, and empowering my employees to do their very best. I provide them the tools and resources they need to perform and succeed at their jobs, and recently I feel that the more I give, the more some of them take. I told them they embarrassed me in front of the other managers and I was disappointed in them. I told them that we are perceived as slackers across the company. I reminded them that just in August of last year we were super stars and went above and beyond our goals, and since then we’ve done nothing but miss goals. I told them I have been defending them since September and I no longer can or will defend them to my manager or our corporate team. I told them that I brought them in as a team because I wanted them all to understand that even one or two individuals who are slacking can bring down the rest of the team. More importantly, I let them know that if they are not willing to work hard while they are on my team, they will not continue to be on the team (and they all know that means they will not have jobs). I ended the meeting on a positive note and told them to rest up over the weekend and be prepared to come in Monday and rock it.
I believe the meeting was effective. I received emails from two senior people on the team who congratulated me on taking a stand and told me they respected me for what I said. I could tell the Mean Girls were slightly scared by my words, and I am looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow. Will their attitudes change? Will they start performing? Will they stop slacking and browsing the internet? I don’t know. But, what I do know is that my Mean Girls are all receiving their first round of written disciplinary action tomorrow. Perhaps that will force them to understand the importance of the situation.
I suppose I’ve always taken pride in my work and acted professional. I go to work to work. I feel very lucky to have the career I have and work for the awesome company I work for. I honestly believe these girls do not have a clue how lucky they are to have their jobs. One of them is a single mother, the other is recently engaged and planning her wedding, and the other lives on her own and takes care of her sickly little dog. They all need the money.
I suppose we’ll see how this next week goes. I do not like to be this kind of manager. I want to lead my team to success, not have to deal with their professional immaturity.
On to more important things. If you’ve been keeping up, you know my husband came down with a severe case of vertigo last week. Unfortunately, he still has it. He has also experienced a myriad of other symptoms over the past week and a half which have scared him. I mentioned before how my husband is the strong one…never worried about anything. He always has the answers. This has scared him. He’s spent the past week and a half researching the internet whenever a new symptom arises, and now he believes he has the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. I read all the symptoms and what people experienced before they were diagnosed, and I am afraid. What he has experienced is extremely similar to those diagnosed with diabetes. However, I’ve also read the symptoms related to mono, and many of his symptoms also point to that. Honestly, neither is desirable, but I’d rather him have mono than diabetes. Either way, it sucks.
He’s been very tired. He has been helping out with the kids, but has not felt like doing much else around the house. He seems a bit depressed, but that could be just from being tired. He goes back to our family doctor tomorrow morning for a check up on his blood pressure, and he plans to talk with the doctor about his findings and ask for a referral to see someone else. He wants to be tested for diabetes, mono, and would like an MRI. He’s never been concerned about his health until now, and now that he’s armed with a little bit of knowledge, he plans to stop at nothing to figure this out. He wants to feel normal. I don’t blame him. I couldn’t imagine having the spins for a week and not knowing what was causing them.
I am completely cognizant of the fact that much worse things could happen and there are people out there dealing with much more debilitating health problems than he is, but for now, this is our reality. If any of you reading have experienced prolonged vertigo, red ears that are warm to the touch, upset stomach, fatigue, sore throat, and pressure in the ears, please let me know what your diagnosis was. We’ve got two little boys who need two healthy parents…
Unfortunately I have to spend the next few hours of today cleaning up my house. I’ve neglected housework a bit this week. There’s a pile of laundry a mile high that I need to take care of, and mud in my carpet from my dumb ass dog who ran outside during a thunderstorm while we were out grocery shopping last night. (If you’ve kept up, you’ll know this it not the first time she has done this. We got home late last night to her pile of mud in the living room. She was covered in mud herself. I could have killed her. Time to come up with a different solution to the dog door. It’s my fault, I know.)
I’m looking forward to writing more about my crazy parents (I know, I promised!) and my life as a mother here soon. It seems that the rest of my life is currently interfering with my ability to do that.
All the best,
Normally, I am sad to see Sunday night. Sunday nights mean that the two days per week I can devote entirely to my family are over. It means hectic Monday morning is right around the corner. It means that I have to share my next five days with my colleagues and my family. I’m always a bit sad on Sundays…but not this one.
This past week was one for the books. Last weekend, my babies were sick and carried their germs into Monday, meaning I had to stay home with them. It was so great to be a temporary stay at home mom again. Tuesday and Wednesday were somewhat crappy days at work as I had to deal with some of my immature team members and their usual pettiness. Wednesday night, I picked up my children as normal and met my husband at home. We both pulled into the driveway at the same time, and I started washing bottles and getting the kids’ stuff ready for the next day, and my husband cooked dinner. We sat down to a yummy dinner of pasta and chicken. About halfway through the meal, I noticed my husband was eating slowly. Not a minute after I noticed that, he looked at me and said “I don’t feel right.” He immediately started sweating and said he was very dizzy. I looked at him and asked him what he wanted me to do, and with worried eyes, he said “I don’t know.” I knew at that moment something was very wrong. My husband always knows the answer. He is always strong, always there.
I ran to find my phone, silently freaking out. I asked my husband if he wanted me to call 911 and he said he didn’t know. Then I asked him if he wanted me to call his mom and he said yes. When she answered, I said “we have a problem.” My husband told her he was very dizzy and felt sick, and she said she’d be right over. The plan was to take him to Patient First.
I had already changed into my pajamas earlier that evening, and my sweet husband who always thinks about me, says “Do you want to go and change into regular clothes?” That was the last thing on my mind. I did run upstairs to grab my shoes, and when I came back downstairs, my husband had crawled into the bathroom and was violently vomiting. It was a terrible sight. By that time, my toddler was crying in the family room (I had to take him out of his high chair during the whole ordeal because he was crying to get out). My little baby was waking up in his bouncy seat that was perched on top of the dinner table and wanted to nurse. OMFG, this is a nightmare!
So many thoughts were running through my mind….so many emotions tearing through my heart. I immediately started thinking the worst. I asked my husband if his arms or legs hurt, did he have tightness in his chest, did his head hurt, could he see clearly? I realized I needed to get some bottles out since my mother-in-law was on her way over as she doesn’t know where things are in my kitchen. She also has a hard time navigating our stairs, so I ran up to the kids’ rooms to grab pjs, diapers, and anything else they would need to camp out in the living room. I had no idea how the night would go. Looking back on it now, I can’t believe I remembered to get things out for the kids. The whole time I was doing that my toddler was crying and my husband was vomiting and complaining of his dizziness. Once my mother-in-law arrived, I realized I had to run outside and move our truck out of the way (my car would be easier for my husband to get into). It was pouring down rain, and I had tears pouring down my face. I was trying to be strong, trying not to worry. I prayed the entire time I was outside, asking God to please not let this be it for my husband. I told God I couldn’t do it on my own and asked him to please hear me.
My mother-in-law helped my husband out of the house and into my car. I drove him to Patient First and talked to him the whole way there. I was afraid he was going to pass out and I could tell he wanted to go to sleep. When we arrived at Patient First, I ran inside to get him checked in and ran into my husband’s great aunt and her elderly mother – what a coincidence! I asked for a wheelchair and I feel like it took the slow ass people at Patient First forever to get out there to my husband. I will say that they were able to take him almost right away. I think they were freaked out by how pale he looked when he came in. Not making us wait forever to be seen is just about the only thing they did right in my opinion.
The nurse took my husband’s blood pressure and and temperature. His blood pressure was elevated and I started freaking out even more. She took us back to see the doctor and I explained the whole story to them. I could tell they thought I was overreacting and freaking out. I could tell they were annoyed with me. I’m not sure if the doctor was trying to calm me down or not, but he just didn’t seem to be as concerned as I was. He did order an EKG for my husband and blood work and I appreciate that. But, from the beginning of the visit until the end, he kept saying it was probably just vertigo and there’s no need to worry. When we got the blood work back, my husband’s potassium was low but everything else checked out. The EKG however was another story. My husband’s heart rate was 51 bpm, and according to the doctor, that was very low. I could see the worry on his face and at that point, he did tell us we needed to see our family doctor the next morning and get his heart rate and blood pressure checked out. I immediately asked a ton of questions. Is this why he is dizzy? Could it be a heart attack? Why is his blood pressure high? Why his is heart rate low? Should we go to the ER? I know the doctor thought I was crazy, but I needed answers and needed them now.
At the end of the visit, the doctor sent us out of there with a prescription for anti-dizziness medication and said “best of luck.” I had one more question and asked the nurse to bring the doctor back in one more time. She was super annoyed about that and so was he. I asked what could have brought on the extreme sweating my husband was experiencing, and he said he didn’t know. Comforting.
So, we left and sat in the parking lot for a minute contemplating our next move. I told my husband I wanted to take him to the ER and he told me he wanted to go back home. So, I followed his wishes and drove him home. I helped him inside and my mother-in-law was waiting with the babies. She had given them milk and was getting them ready for bed. My husband came in and sat at the kitchen table. My stomach was hurting terribly (I started feeling sick myself as soon as my husband had initially started feeling bad) and I needed to use the restroom. I was in there for just a minute when I heard my husband fall to the floor in the kitchen and start vomiting. Oh my God. I walked out of the restroom to find him in the floor vomiting into a plastic bag that had a hole in it. My mother-in-law was grabbing the Clorox Clean Up and my toddler was staring at my husband saying “Uh oh! Uh oh!”
My husband decided he wanted to lay down on the couch so my mother-in-law helped him and I put my toddler to bed and snuggled him for a second. I told him that Daddy was going to be ok and that we loved him. I cried silently for a minute while snuggling my son. I didn’t want my husband or mom-in-law to hear me in the monitor. I didn’t believe the doctor at Patient First and still thought something was terribly wrong with my husband. I honestly believed that it was going to get worse and we’d end up the ER that night. When I was putting my toddler to bed, thoughts about being a widow kept flashing through my mind. It made me extremely sad and all I could do was hug my son tighter. It was such an empty feeling and I hated it.
I came back downstairs and my husband was on the couch and his eyes were closing. He was still extremely dizzy and nauseous and said the only thing that helped was to close his eyes. I knew he wanted to sleep but I was so afraid to let him. I just didn’t know what was going to happen. I was worried he was going to have a heart attack or brain aneurysm. My little baby was waking up to nurse and my mom-in-law wanted to go home and take a bath so she could come back over and stay the night. I told her we would be fine but that I would certainly appreciate it if she could stay over. I wasn’t used to being the one who took care of everyone including my husband. Sure, I could take care of the kids during the day while on maternity leave, but I was always comforted by the fact that my husband would be home that night. My husband is never sick and I never have to take care of him, so I truly felt I needed my mom-in-law here that night.
My mother-in-law went home to take a shower and grab her pjs. She was gone for about an hour. My husband slept on the couch and I watched his chest to ensure he was breathing. I also Googled. I should not have done that. I Googled his symptoms and came across everything from an ear infection to impending death. I was terrified. When my mom-in-law came back around midnight, she settled in our living room on the couch. I was so thankful for her at that moment and so comforted by her presence. My husband woke up and said he wanted to go upstairs to our bed. I did not think this was smart. He could barely walk without falling over. But, he was determined and he made it up the stairs. He slept in his clothes and complained of being cold. This worried me even more – he’s never cold.
I put my baby in the co-sleeper and crawled into bed beside my husband. I was exhausted but I could not sleep. I laid there for hours. I laid there until my son woke up to eat again. I Googled some more, and checked to ensure my husband was breathing. Normally he snores but he didn’t that night, so I watched him breathe. It was a terrible few hours for me. My husband woke up about once per hour and whenever he did, I asked how he felt and he said very dizzy and cold. I was hoping the symptoms would dissipate the more he slept but they did not.
I finally drifted off to sleep around 3am and was back up to nurse my baby at 6am. I woke up to my baby crying and felt a sense of panic as I realized I had been asleep and not checking on my husband. He was breathing of course and even snoring a bit. I went downstairs and my mom-in-law was already up. We talked about the plan for the day. She was going to take my toddler with her back to her house so I could take my husband to our family doctor as soon as they opened.
My husband woke up not long after and I helped him in the shower. We got ready and headed out to the family doctor. We know everyone in the office fairly well and the first thing they all commented on was how tired I looked and how pale my husband was. One of the staff members is a friend of my mother-in-law and when I told her the whole story and about my husband’s blood pressure and heart rate the night before, I saw the worry take over her face. I was ready to get to the back so they could check my husband’s vitals. I was relieved to find out that his levels were close to being back to normal. Thank the good Lord above. My husband was still extremely dizzy and unfortunately our family doctor didn’t have any better answers for us than the doctor at Patient First, but I still felt better because we were around people we knew…people who actually cared about our well-being.
My husband was prescribed a patch to wear in addition to his dizziness medication. His diagnosis: unexplained vertigo. It has been a couple of days and he is still very dizzy, but feels better. He is able to function but not able to drive. He has helped out with the kids, done his laundry and other chores around the house. We even attended a birthday party Saturday and had friends and family over for a visit. He says he is getting used to being dizzy and learning how to navigate through it. Both doctors told us it could last for days. He goes back for a follow up visit next Monday. Fingers crossed he is no longer dizzy by then. I remember having a couple of dizzy spells when I was pregnant, and I couldn’t imagine functioning like that for several hours or days at a time.
Sunday, we were worried that our toddler may have the same issue. He went to bed very late Saturday night and would not eat a good lunch or dinner Saturday. He in turn woke up very grumpy on Sunday. He said he was hungry so we fixed him fruit and a waffle. He ate very slowly but drank a lot more milk than he normally does. He was sitting in his high chair and looked very tired. He kept saying “all done” and “uh oh!” I got him out of the high chair and he threw up all over me, the dog, and the kitchen floor. He looked very pale. My husband and I were so worried that he was dizzy and nauseous. We sat down with him and after a bit he said he was hungry, so I gave him a couple of snacks and some water and he threw up in the family room. After cleaning that up, I sat down with my son and he snuggled in my lap and fell asleep. He was better when he woke up from his nap. I ran out to the store and bought him some Pedialyte and crackers. He was better that evening. He ate a little dinner, took a second nap, and slept through the night.
What a weekend. I was happy to get back to work Monday.
I tend to freak out and overreact about things, and I honestly thought the worst. I believed my husband was dying. I prayed to God and asked him to spare my husband. I saw my life as a widow. I thought about all of the things around the house I didn’t know how to do. I cried thinking my sons would never really get to know their Dad. I wondered if his family would take care of me. I worried about how I would make it without my husband, my protector, my best friend. My heart hurt and my brain was swimming with worry. It was a terrible feeling. I’ve never been that worried in my life. I never want to feel that again.
Unfortunately, I know I will have to feel that again. There may come a day when the end will be near for my husband, myself, or my sons and we will be fully cognizant of it. I am so afraid of that day. I am dreading it. I do not like to think about death. I am not ready for it and I do not believe I ever will be.
This experience has been eye-opening for me. My husband and I need to live healthier lifestyles. Can you say physicals?? We also need to prepare and ensure our sons are taken care of when we pass away. Shame on us; we do not have a Will. And finally, we need to live each day like we are dying. Who cares if the house is clean? Why worry about crap that is happening at work when I’m at home with my boys? My main jobs in life are to be a wife and mother, and I am thankful to be employed 😉
PS – It has taken me a few days to finish this post, and my husband still has vertigo. He is still breaking out into sweats. He drove for the first time today and did ok. He is navigating through this but it is not easy. Does anyone have any recommendations for us? We’ve seen two doctors and are not sure what else to do at this point. There is no explanation, and the meds they gave him are not working… I kind of need my husband back at 100%…
All the best,
Wow, I’ve had a lot going on the past week or so. I thought that with each passing day, being back at work would be a bit easier, but it in fact has been more difficult. Work itself has been good. In fact, work is probably the best thing I had going for me this past week.
It is no secret that my mother-in-law watches my children while the husband and I work. She’s great with the kids and my toddler truly loves being with her and granddaddy. When I was pregnant with my first son, she called and asked us if she could babysit. She practically interviewed for the job. It was very sweet and my husband and I agreed that she would be the best person to take care of our child. When we found out we were pregnant with the second, we practically told her before I had finished peeing on the stick. We needed to know if she wanted to watch both (because not only does she have our two children but she also babysits one of her other grandchildren). She of course was ecstatic about the pregnancy and the new grandchild on the way and said she wanted to watch our two and the other grandchild – no problem! She told us if she ever decided not to continue babysitting, she would give us at least six months to a year of notice. She would not and still will not take any money for it either, but we buy her nice things and help her and my father-in-law out with things around the house as much as possible.
I must also mention that my MIL is a borderline hoarder. If you’ve watched TLC’s Hoarding, think about one of the lesser cases they portray. That’s her. There are a number of reasons as to why she holds onto things. She’s been in the antique business for a number of years. When she initially started to collect, it was all supposed to be for the business. But, all of the stuff she bought kept coming into the house…and it got worse and worse. So bad that there was barely anywhere to sit when we went to her house to visit. We had to crawl over things to get to the kitchen table for family dinners, and we would trip over things in the foyer when walking in the house. My husband and his siblings would talk to her and help her clean up a bit and for a short while, the house would look nice again. Sadly, it wouldn’t take long to become a mess again. But, it was supposedly all for the business.
Another reason we believe she holds onto things is because she does not own her own home. She lives in her deceased mother in law’s home. She was the primary caretaker for her own MIL for many years. She did everything for her. She did things for her that no one else would do. Her MIL passed away last year, and at first, my MIL cleaned up the house, painted, put in some new carpet, and appeared to be making it her own. It was starting to look good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was livable. The bedrooms, the attic, corners of the main rooms, and the garage were all still full of stuff. But, the main rooms (den, living room, and kitchen) were usable and looked decent. Here recently however, things took a turn for the worse.
My MIL has decided to leave the antique business, and instead of getting rid of the merchandise, she brought most of it back to her house. I’m not talking about old tables and chairs. I’m talking about boxes of stuff. Random, mostly non-useful stuff. Small things. Things not suitable when you have toddlers running around. Over the past couple of weeks, the three rooms she used have become full of stuff. It’s everywhere. It’s on tables, chairs, it’s teetering off of the edge of old furniture, it’s piled so high that if you touch one part of it, a domino effect of falling stuff would happen. It’s on the changing table we gave her for the kids. It’s covering up the toys, exersaucer, and pack n plays. It’s on the kitchen table, counters, in the bathroom. It’s on the stairs. It’s on the front porch. It’s everywhere. It’s impossible to get in the door of the house without tripping over or stepping around stuff. I hate it.
I have tried not to judge. I have tried not to complain but I hit my breaking point this week. She is watching my children-the two most precious things in my life. She brought so much shit in the house that the two toddlers had a five foot by five foot area to play in in the the living room (a circle of space completely surrounded by stuff) and a few feet of space to play in in the kitchen. That’s it. The huge den they used to play in (the room that has the baby gates and was actually somewhat baby proof) was so full you couldn’t walk in it. There were a couple of days that I found my toddler playing in the kitchen trash can because that’s the only area he had to be in. The trash can!!! WTF.
Every day leading up to this past week as I pulled out of the driveway, I prayed that my toddler would not get into a box of stuff and choke on something or accidentally knock into something that would create an avalanche of falling stuff that would hurt my little baby. Each morning when I dropped the kids off, my MIL would make an excuse as to why the house is a mess. I’ve heard these same excuses now for years. I don’t buy them. I’m not a fool.
Finally, on Wednesday, I arrive to pick up the kids, and my MIL makes the comment that taking care of 3 is trying her patience. She said she constantly has to watch them. WTF. Are you serious??? She said she has to watch them because they try to get in all of her stuff. You put the stuff there lady!!! You removed the children from the one room that was sort of baby proof that had all of their toys in it and have them playing in a five by five space that is surrounded by junk. All they have is that space and the f-ing trash can to play in. OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO WATCH THEM!!!
This is not the first time I’ve heard this. She has made a few snarky comments to me about babysitting 3 kids over the past year. Please remember that we asked her immediately upon finding out we were pregnant with number 2 if she was willing to watch the baby or if we needed to find another sitter…and she told us she absolutely wanted to. We gave her an out.
So, back to Wednesday night. I didn’t say anything and packed up my kids and left. I arrived home and told my husband about her comment and that we needed to find an alternative. I was not about to allow my two precious babies to be in that environment anymore. My MIL was evidently overwhelmed and frustrated with her house, and watching the three children was too much. I was pissed. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to be given ample time to figure out a new situation if we needed one.
My husband believes his mother is a few steps away from crazy, so he understands my frustration and he too feels my pain. However, he doesn’t want to hear me talk about it. I asked him to do something about it and talk to his mother as she is not my own mother and I do not feel comfortable having that type of conversation with her. It was time to ask her how she truly felt and if she honestly wanted to continue watching the children. It was time to find out if she wanted to watch the three she is currently watching…as well as the fourth that is on the way! No, it’s not me. My sister in law is preggo with number 2 and her first is the other grandchild my MIL watches.
I asked my husband not to yell at his mom or argue with her about all of the stuff. I asked him to have a dialogue with her and find out what is going on with her, all of the stuff, and if she even wants to continue watching the kids. I beg him not to yell at her. Nothing is accomplished that way and she is already extremely defensive about all of her stuff to begin with…no matter how you talk to her. On Thursday night, he tells me he went over to his mom’s that morning and blasted her. I was so upset. What would that solve?? I then become angry at him because it seems the whole situation is spiraling out of control. All I wanted to do was to figure out what is going on in his mother’s head and find out if she truly wants to continue watching the kids. I didn’t want to create a family argument. I try to explain this to my husband, who then tells me it’s none of my business what he said to her and that I don’t know what he said. Then I remind him that he told me he went over to her house and “blasted her” and he then basically lets me know he lied about that and doesn’t have to tell me what they talked about.
This, I do not agree with. My children are over there. They spend more time over there during the week than they do with me. I have every right to know what is going on. I completely understand that I asked my husband to talk to his mother, but that’s only because she doesn’t listen to me and I don’t feel comfortable talking to her about those things. Before my husband talked to her, I even told him I would be a part of the conversation if he wanted me to be, and he said he would handle it. All I wanted to do was find out if she was ok and do the right thing for our children.
Unfortunately, the situation turned into a yelling match between my husband and I. The arguing ran all the way into Friday morning. I was so frustrated because I didn’t know if there was a solution to the situation. Does she still want to babysit? Is she going to clean up her house and actually provide a safe environment for my children? What are we going to do about finding the money to pay for a daycare or another sitter? How will my kids adjust to a new place? How in the hell am I going to find a new sitter with such short notice? I had all of these thoughts running around in my head and I was upset. My husband was no longer listening to me and did not want to deal with it. I tried to explain to him that he was just like his mom when it came to that stuff – not listening, thinking he is right no matter what, etc. He doesn’t think he’s like her at all, but the reason the two of them do not see eye to eye is because they are so much alike. But that’s a whole other topic.
Anyway, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was trying to eat my breakfast and give my toddler his breakfast. I was crying. I was just so mad that my MIL had let her house turn into a pile of shit again, that my husband was purposely lying to me about whatever conversation he had with her, and that my kids were caught in the middle of the craziness.
If I’m crying during an argument, my voice gets louder. I can’t help it. I am not trying to yell. Well, on Friday morning, my husband apparently thinks I’m trying to yell at him, so he mocks me and begins yelling back. And, this makes my toddler cry. He looks at his dad yelling at me and begins crying. I console him and he hugs me. I try to finish his breakfast and my husband yells again because he thinks I’m yelling at him, and my toddler starts crying AGAIN. Shit. We have turned into my parents. Our actions are causing our son to be afraid and cry. At that moment, I feel like a failure.
My husband and I were doing the exact thing I never wanted us to do. We were fighting in front of our son and he was crying because of it. I went through an entire childhood of this. I told myself I’d never let this happen to my own children. I’d never put them through the pure hell I experienced as I kid.
I sat in the kitchen beside my son and consoled him. I looked out the window and sobbed. I told my husband I couldn’t be with him if it was going to be like this. We’d already thrown out the big D word several times during the argument. But, this time, I meant it. I was willing to get divorced rather than put my kids through hell. It is not fair to them. I will NOT live this way.
I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I went upstairs and took a shower. We had to be at the doctor for checkups for our sons and I needed to get ready. I cried in the shower. I couldn’t understand why things had spiraled so out of control. Why can’t my MIL understand that her house is unsafe for my kids? Why does she think it’s ok to have piles of shit laying around every square inch of her house? Why won’t she listen to us about cleaning it up and ensuring it is safe for the kids? Why isn’t my husband able to have a meaningful conversation with her about it? Why do I not have the fortitude to talk to her myself? Why can’t my husband just listen to me and let me vent without accusing me of being a bitch and nagging? Why is all of this so hard?
But, then I realize, life is hard. Nothing worth doing is easy. Having kids is not easy. Dealing with the in-laws is not easy. A marriage is not easy…at all. All we can do is make the most of it. I take my shower and much like the water rinses the dirt off my body and down the drain, I let all of the emotions of the past week go down the drain too. There’s nothing else I can do. My MIL is going to continue to collect crap and do what she wants with it. My husband will be combative with her because they are so much alike. We will continue to argue throughout our entire marriage because we are completely different people who rarely see eye to eye on anything. All I can do is love my kids, respect my husband and his opinions, and do what I can to keep the peace. I will do my best to ensure my kids have a safe and loving environment no matter where they are. They are my priority.
I don’t want a divorce. I love my husband. He’s got his faults, but I do too. He takes care of me and he loves the boys more than anyone. He has stuck by me through a lot and he’s a good man. I never want to not be with him. But, in the heat of arguments, I feel differently. All I can do is ensure we do not argue in front of the kids. They deserve the best life we can give them, and unlike my parents, I must choose a different path… A path not filled with fighting, arguing, and name-calling. It was selfish of my parents to not protect my brother and I from that. Remember, my family told me to “break the cycle” and this is another step in that journey. I will break the cycle of arguing in front of my children. I will not allow my marriage to end in divorce.
*Disclaimer – Since this was written, my MIL has actually made some big strides in making sure the house is in suitable condition for the children. I believe my husband may have given her an ultimatum when he spoke with her – clean up or we are taking the kids elsewhere. There’s a long way to go, but she’s making an effort. She’s working with another family member who is much more patient with her than any of the rest of us. The other family member is willing to have a conversation with my MIL about each item before they decide what to do with it, whereas the rest of us just want to light a match to the place. We will see how it all turns out.
**To my husband – I love you and do not want us to argue like we did this past week. Let’s not allow the choices our family members make interfere in our lives like this again. You are my rock and even though you may not think so, you do keep me sane 😉
OMG. Kids are so expensive. We are spending a ton of money every month. We hit up the grocery store and/or Sams Club at least once per week. My toddler eats fruit like it’s going out of style…and now he’s catching on to veggies and loving those too. In addition to fresh, expensive produce, he loves all things dairy. Milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs… He loves crackers, raisins, juice, etc. He eats a lot. He eats way more than I expected a year and a half old would eat, and we are feeling the pinch. Our grocery bill has more than doubled. I know I know, I should have planned for this when we were preggo. I did mentally prepare for it, but nothing could prepare my wallet for it.
Not only do we spend a large amount of money in food every month, but we constantly need something for ourselves or the kids. Just when I think we are getting to a point in our lives where there’s nothing we need to buy, it turns out I was wrong. We just finished scoping out and purchasing a decent metal swing set for the backyard. Our son likes to be outside and since we can’t really afford to take him anywhere, we’ll at least have something for him to do here at home. Of course, you can’t just buy a swing set these days. We also had to buy a toddler swing, sand for the sandbox part of it, and some chairs for us to sit in while we are out in the yard with the kids.
My husband was gracious enough to go to the grocery store, Sams Club, Lowes, and Toys R Us today to get everyting on our list $700 later, he is home. I am so scared. We had to put all of it on the credit card and have had to do that for the past month as I have missed two paychecks due to my maternity leave. When he got home with everything, I thought to myself, “Great, we just bought the last big thing we’ll need for a while.” No sooner had that thought crossed my mind, then the damn baby gate at the top of the stairs breaks. Awesome. I shouldn’t be mad. We’ve been using it for a year and it was free (thank the Lord for good friends and hand-me-downs). So, off to the store again tomorrow to spend more money. I just checked our credit card balance – almost maxed out. I can’t stand it. Someone please stop the bleeding.
In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned how we are going to be on a debt reduction plan and that starts April 1st. We will be on a tight budget and will have to stick to it to make this work. If we can’t, we’ll be bankrupt. Neither of us have been very good with money, but now that we have the means to put money toward debt reduction, it’s almost impossible to do so. Probably should have thought about this before we had kids. Oh well.
I stress about money a lot. I hate it. The more we make, the more we spend. I suppose that’s the American way. I worry all the time that we will not be able to provide for the kids, or that the car will break down and we can’t afford to fix it. (Wait, we’ve already got that going on. My husband’s car is sitting in the driveway because we can’t afford to fix it. Thank God it’s not one of the cars we carry the kids around in.)
We’ve done this to ourselves and I really shouldn’t make any excuses. I am taking accountability for the fact that we are strapped. If we didn’t have revolving debt, we could probably afford another house. The only thing we can do is get out of it. It’ll be a difficult couple of years, but we can do it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that interest rates stay where they are and gas prices go down. I’m fortunate to be in a job where I am eligible for performance raises each year, so I’ve got to make sure I do whatever I can to get one of those.
I shouldn’t complain because there are so many people in much worse situations than me. I realize this. I realize I probably sound like I’m whining, but this is my reality. It’s no secret that my husband and I want a third child, but that will not happen anytime soon. I’m just not sure how we’d pay for him/her, so we’ll be holding off on that plan for quite some time.
Keep your fingers crossed for us. Debt reduction plan starts in T minus 10 days…
Thank you to Stacey Sprague of Little Boys are Made of Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails for the Stylish Blogger Award! Check out her blog for advice, giveaways, and blog hops. Thank you Stacey!!
Goodnight Moon. A classic. My older son loves that book. He loves searching the pages for the moon and balloon, and he laughs every time we say “bowl full of mush.” It is incredibly cute.
Right now, I feel like my brain is a bowl full of mush. I’ve been back to work for a week and I can’t decide if I’m happy or sad. My job is very stressful right now. In one of my earlier posts I mentioned how I was going back to a mess at work. It actually hasn’t been as bad as I thought and I’m making headway. Since I’ve been back, productivity has already increased, but it’s not easy. At all.
When I’m at work, I miss the boys, but I am happy at work. I enjoy my colleagues and I feel valuable, important, and like I’m truly making a difference. When I’m at home, however, I do not miss my work. Sure, I think about it, but I do not miss it. Tonight, my husband read my toddler a story as he settled down into his bed, and I sat beside the bed and held his hand. After the story was over, my husband left the room, and I just sat there with my arm on my son. He was holding it close with both hands…almost hugging it. And, I cried. I miss him. I miss my sons even when I’m with them. My brain is so full of all of the details of my life and is working so hard to keep them all in order, that I can’t even focus on my own children when I’m with them.
I keep thinking back to my maternity leave and wondering if I did all that I could to make that a special time for my toddler. Did he have fun being home with mommy? Did I give him enough attention and play time? The other day when I picked the boys up from my mother-in-law’s, my toddler did not want to leave. He absolutely loves his “dadaddy” and “mamaw.” He threw a fit when I attempted to put him in the car seat. He cried and straightened up his whole body so I couldn’t get him in the seat. I finally had to get his dadaddy to help. I love that he loves his grandparents and that’s genuinely happy when I leave him there, but I hate it at the same time. Am I that un-fun? (I realize that’s not a word, but you know what I mean.)
I feel like I’m already losing my toddler. I know that may sound ridiculous, and it’s a difficult feeling to describe. He doesn’t need me. He is perfectly content with his mamaw and dadaddy…or whoever he happens to be around at the time. In some of my earlier posts I’ve talked about how independent my son is. He’s truly a special boy. He’s happy most of the time and loves everyone. He’s taken to his toddler bed like he’s been sleeping in it his whole life (and he’s only a year and a half – today as a matter of fact). He says 200 plus words, tells me what he needs and when he needs it, has started potty training, and is all around amazing. I keep trying to remember what it was like when he was a baby and my brain feels like mush. I can’t seem to remember the feeling of holding him or what he looked like at certain ages. Sure, I have pictures, but I am having such a difficult time remembering. And, it wasn’t that long ago! I’ve heard other moms talk about how they’ll never forget the feeling of holding each of their children in their arms and all of their first moments. Why am I struggling with this?
I’m already starting to lose some of the memories of my second son when he was a tiny little baby, and he’s only three months old. I blame it on work. I blame it on our fast-paced life. I blame it on myself. Part of me wonders if I would feel differently if I were a stay at home mom? My job is so stressful, but I love the challenge. But, at the same time, I wonder if I could do without the challenge…and the identity I’ve created for myself at work. I can’t do without the paycheck, but each day the thought has crossed my mind that I could do without this job. I get so caught up in it, so caught up in the chores at home, so caught up in other people’s issues, that I am forgetting my memories of my own children.
I’ve been back to work for exactly a week now and my head feels like a bowl full of mush. I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m stressed, I’m all.over.the.place. I’m mad at my husband and at myself, and I’m having a tough time understanding why. Some days on the way home I just drive and stare straight ahead…no radio…no phone. I try to switch off the work brain, clear my head, and turn on the mommy brain. My mind swims with the details of it all. Did I submit the correct report at work? Do we have enough juice for the rest of this week for my toddler? Did I pay the bill for our new mattress? When does my car need oil again? Have we given our baby enough tummy time and when is he supposed to roll over? After I run down the list of questions in my head, then I start to worry that I’ll forget the answers and a detail of my life will be missed. I’m so fearful of waking up one morning and not having enough juice for my toddler or realizing that I left my pumped breast milk on the counter instead of freezing it… I honestly believe I spend so much time worrying about the details and am so fearful of missing one, that I’m missing the point of all of this all together.
I’m just not quite sure how to clear my head, get rid of the mush, and focus on what’s most important. In some of my earlier posts I talk about my nut-job parents, and I’m so fearful of turning into them. I’ve seem some of their crazy ass traits in myself this past week (temper, OCD, snapping at the people I love, being overly pessimistic) and I need these to go away. I do not want to end up like my mom…who called me today to let me know my great Uncle passed away but quickly turned the conversation into why my step-dad is being mistreated at work because his colleagues are all idiots. Really? Was that really the time to bash perfect strangers? Please lady, I’ve heard it all from you before. You think everyone you’ve ever come into contact with in a professional setting is an idiot. On the other hand, I do not want to end up like my dad who is sad, broke, and alone with just his material possessions that he has perfectly displayed and spaced on the tables in his house (that’s a whole other story).
Any advice for this mom would be much appreciated. I suppose I just need help clearing my head and setting some priorities. I need to give up control of some things. I can’t do it all. I need to stop worrying that I’ll turn into my parents. I need to focus.
For now though, I need to sleep. 5am gets here quickly.
So, goodnight comb and goodnight brush, goodnight nobody, goodnight mush!
All the best,
Thank you God for Saturday morning…even Friday night was pretty great. The rest of the week? I can do without.
I made it through my first week of being a working mom of 2, and I can’t say I enjoyed it. The morning routine now has an extra hour to hour and a half and a ton of stress for me. There were two mornings where I had everything packed up for the next day, and those mornings were wonderful. There were two that I was not prepared, and they sucked ass.
The evenings were just as stressful…one in particular. On Thursday, we had rain and storms all day here. We have a dog door because our older dog cannot go long periods of time without using the bathroom. Our dogs will bark incessantly if left outside, so instead of paying the thousands of dollars to have their voice boxes removed, we chose the less expensive route of the dog door. I hate it. We have white carpet…this does not mix well with a dog door and muddy yard. I am constantly scrubbing the carpet. Resolve is my friend. You are welcome Reckitt Benckise.
On Thursday, I arrived at my mother-in-law’s after work to find a screaming baby who had barely eaten all day. That has been the norm this week. My little baby has not taken to the bottle well at all. We gave him bottles throughout my maternity leave and he did ok, and we were really hoping he would carry that on when I went back to work. Not.the.case. He is barely eating and holding out to nurse. And this is very frustrating as you can imagine. I work 45 minutes from my mother in law’s so it’s not like I can run home and nurse him real quick. I’m sad at work thinking about him struggling and not eating. And, it’s certainly not easy on my mother-in-law. She’s tried all types of nipples and bottles and nothing is working. We had the same issue with my firstborn and it took him about two weeks to figure it out. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the same thing with my little baby.
So, back to Thursday. I arrived at my mother-in-law’s and nursed my baby a little. She also wanted me to try giving him a bottle…and that only made him more angry. So, he was screaming, I was hungry, my first son was grumpy because he was hungry, and my mother-in-law’s house was hot as hell and I was sweating. I was so ready to get out of there.
(Side note – my mother-in-law is currently going through menopause, and some days her house is hot as well and other days cold. This makes it slightly difficult to dress my children each day.)
Upon arriving to my house on Thursday, I was greeted by a pile of mud on the carpet and in the foyer when I opened the front door. F-ing great. My husband was upstairs washing both dogs. I quickly realized what had happened. One of our dogs had gone outside during the thunderstorm, rolled in the mud under our deck, and brought it back in…and shook it everywhere. There was mud on the carpet, all over the kitchen floor and rugs, and on the walls. So, from 8pm to midnight, we cleaned up mud. My husband cleaned the dogs and the kitchen and I scrubbed the carpet and the walls. Somehow we managed to feed our firstborn and get him in the bed, and I nursed my little baby a couple of times and rocked him to sleep. I finally ate some dinner at midnight – burned popcorn and an old piece of chicken from the refrigerator. Awesome.
Thursday night made me sad. It made me hate the dogs, hate the fact that I have to work, and realize that the few very short hours I had with my children that night were wasted on cleaning up the house because my dogs suck. On top of all that, my little baby has been waking up and throwing up in the middle of the night which means even less sleep for me. It was a crazy couple of days and in the middle of it all, I didn’t think I had the patience to deal with it any longer. I can’t describe how angry I was when I saw all the mud in my house. This is my HOME, not a damn dog house. But, it’s my fault. I should have locked them in the house that day. Lesson learned.
But, work is going ok and I feel valuable and important there. I miss my little boys tremendously, but I’m a better mom because I work. Friday night was great. We played with our sons, made a decent dinner, and I had a couple of glasses of wine. Both kids slept great. We had a nice breakfast this morning. Sure, the house is a bit messy, the yard is starting to need some attention, and I have three to four loads of laundry to do, but that’s life I suppose.
Despite that my past few days were full of ups and downs, I am lucky and I shouldn’t complain. My heart goes out to all of the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I am sad for their country and I realize that life is precious and I should really not waste my time complaining about shit that doesn’t matter. This is that whole pessimism thing I inherited from the ‘rents…still trying to choose the optimistic version of myself. As you can tell, I struggle every day.
More to come this weekend…I missed my blog this week.
All the best,