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Friday, February 19, 2010

Running on Empty

For the first time in the three years that at least one of my children has been in school, I have decided not to attend their Valentines Day party. Three weeks ago when the parties were first announced I thought back to previous parties and how I had to drag my four-year-old around. Not the funnest thing in the world. I knew I didn't want to go through that again.

I can't mentally or physically handle my youngest putting up another fight with me at school.

My friend made me realize during one of our conversations why I've felt so apathetically exhausted as a mom in the last couple months: my kids have worn me down. As the result of being  a stay-at-home-mother for nearly eight years, my mind is running on burnout juices. Part of me feels overwhelmed from the day to day task of raising three children very close in age and the other part of me feels like the odd one out being the only major estrogen producer in our home. The dog doesn't count.

How I feel right now is very similar to how I felt when I was in college. I had just finished the nine months of my senior year in high school, took a two week break, and then traveled on a Greyhound bus 1,603 miles and three days from Dallas, Texas to Rexburg, Idaho. I broke the rules fought with my roommates made illegal campfires studied for an additional sixteen months, before one day I woke up and realized I was burned out. A few weeks later I withdrew myself from college, packed up my 1989 Chevy Corsica, and hit the road. Scary when you realize I had my drivers license for only one month at that point.

And I had bounced the check to pay for said drivers license. True story.

So this year I'm not attending my sons' Valentines parties. In fact, I don't think I'm attending any more of their parties this year. Just like after twenty-five months straight of education, I am burned out. Lets just call it mom taking breaks in small doses before she mentally checks out. Their parties were scheduled for last Friday, but since it snowed last week our school district was closed both Thursday and Friday. Today the kids are making their missed parties up. The rugrat and I just won't be there.

 I'll reconsider parties next year.

Yes, I am counting down the months until my youngest attends school. Five.

Then I am giving myself a much deserved break. Anybody with me?

PS: I was totally going to say that I felt like I was checking into the Hotel California at home and that I felt like even though I could mentally check out that I could never know, get a break...have a vacation. Then I looked up the meaning to the song and deleted it, because I found out that song has a different meaning, specifically, "The song is an allegory about hedonism and self-destruction in the Southern California music industry of the late 1970s; Don Henley called it 'our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles' and later reiterated '[i]t's basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about.'

Baby, I know nothing about having money or living the high life. Hence why I only have three kitchen chairs and a fancy discontinued camera. Oh, and I prefer Chicken Express to Wolfgang Puck.


Melessa said...

I skipped the Valentine's Day parties this year too. I I felt bad because the kids like having me there, but not bad enough to actually go.

nicole said...

Enjoy your relatively quiet day! I am going to my 1st grader's party today, because she asked me to, and only because my husband can come home and stay with the 4 yo and 2 yo. My kids know that I can't do a lot at school with the young kids at home, especially our fiercely independent 2 yo. So I go when I can, but I miss a lot of things, and I try to make sure they know I am thinking of them even when I can't join them. All moms need a break if we are going to do the best we can for our families.

Karen said...

I have so been where you are.....many times. It is absolutely exhausting. I think a mini-vacation is the least of what you should consider. Seriously, if you aren't getting grown up time once a week, you will soon have nothing left for anybody.

I recently started swapping baby sitting with a neighbor. She watches my kids one date night a month and I watch hers one date night a month. It is fabulous!!! It is grown up time completely away from the house.

suzanne cabrera said...

Good for you! Take that much deserved break and enjoy it. Enjoy a Dr. Pepper :)

Foursons said...

I think you are speaking the words of many mother's hearts right now. It is tough, and when we don't get a break sanity is such a fine line from insanity.

Screwed Up Texan said...

Melessa, That is just like me! I felt badly, but not badly enough to not go.

Nicole, Wise words: Every mom needs a break if we're going to do the best for our families.

Karen, I so agree. I've got an idea to fix the non-alone time I have with my husband.

Suzanne, I'll be enjoying that Dr Pepper just cuz you said so :)

Foursons, I think you're right.

Wym said...

My very intellegent and reasonably mature 4 year old does not make the cut-off for Kinder next year. 12 days...
I envy you so much, all of them in school will be a new world!

Robyn said...

Since we homeschool, my big break comes when we just say, "to heck with that!" and just don't go to whatever thing is going on. Shocking I know.

We do SO much and go SO much, somedays we just DON'T. Boy, I sure love those days.

Screwed Up Texan said...

Wym, I remember when my 4yo had to come home with me after I dropped my boys off for their first day of school. He cried the entire walk home. He is so excited for this year to begin!

Oh Robyn, you dont know how many times I've said forget this whole public school thing and just homeschool already! Seriously, I think my son just learned more in the last 24 hours at home than he has five days at school. but yes, the flexibility of homeschool would be nice.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Look at it this way: you are generously giving the other mommies a chance to share in the fun. :)

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