Just A Little Clarification

I have a menopausal wife, aging parents, and two kids who are entering adolesence. 

I don’t see how you could have any questions, but I’ll continue.

It’s all drama around here, all the time.

I hit a moment yesterday, when I had just completed a horrible day at work.  Our kids’ school presented us with an unexpected bill for $1600, which we do not have right now.  I’ve never, in my entire adult life, had someone tell me I owe them money, and not be able to pay it immediately.  We also just paid a $450 electric bill.  That’s not a typo.  We’ve  had car repairs, extra doctor bills, kids that need shoes.

Our finances are so screwed up, we’re two months behind on our tithe.  Don’t worry, I’ve worked out a debt repayment plan with God.  In fact, we’ll catch up with everything in time.  But it’s a punch in the stomach in the here and now.

So, back to yesterday.  All of this is simmering in the back of my mind, and I’m exhausted from the hard day at work,and I’m frantically trying to get the kitchen clean and get dinner ready, while at the same time trying to get a post done for UBN (I have to get six done per week), and watching the clock because I had to be somewhere at 6 and I knew I wouldn’t be back home till after my normal bedtime. 

I have to be somewhere or host someone for the next 7 nights.  Then it begins again.  I just can’t say no, and somehow I end up volunteered to be somewhere every night.

Anyway, the kids were fighting and yelling and screaming at each other, like they have been doing nonstop for the last 6 months or so.  Lintilla called, and started in on me like she has for the past couple of months.  The doctors will not let her take hormone replacement therapy, and she’s been wildly emotional for quite a while now.  I know it’s not her fault, but it’s tough being on the receiving end of it all the time., with everything else going on.


I had a meltdown.

My mind simply refused to allow any more stress into it, so it just shut down.

I’ve have a really weird habit since I was a kid: when folks I love are upset or mad, I cook, clean, and do laundry.  I’ve been doing a lot of this lately – but the people in my household are still constantly upset.  Like my mother, I’m wired so that my happiness is directly tied to the happiness of the people I love.  I’ve run myself ragged trying to will three people (whose hormones are all out of whack) into happiness.  And I’m making myself miserable in the process.  See what’s wrong with this picture?

I’m stretched so thin, you can see through me.

And I feel guilty for feeling this way, because I know many have it far worse than I do. 

Funny, my mom absolutely lost her mind when she was about my age – and I’m just like her.

So anyway – I can’t go on like this indefinitely.  I can’t do ALL of the housework, and all of the cooking, and be responsible for the happiness of each member of the household, and be ‘the man’ at work, and fully devote myself to band and church and ministry, and play peacemaker to every friend and family member, hell, every person on the planet.  There just isn’t enough me.  I have to draw some lines.

So, I need to take a step back, to find a way to undo my wiring that causes me to be depressed when any member of my family or any of my friends is anything but happy, to finally get the kids to help around the house, to tell church, or the band, or my kids’ school every now and then that I just can’t make some event or other without feeling guilty.

I can go forward this way or that way, but what I cannot do is continue going the way I was going.

That’s what I meant.

On a happier note: Warrior is home already!  6 days in the hospital – it’s a miracle.  How can I be upset in the face of that?  I’ll post more on that tomorrow.

Sorry about the vague post earlier.  I hate those.  I hope I’ve cleared some things up.

6 Responses to “Just A Little Clarification”

  1. x117236 Says:

    Slarti, you and I are more alike than we’ve ever discussed. A few weeks ago I reached the final straw and stood in the middle of the living room and screamed. The kids ran and hid and I screamed some more.

    And it kind of felt good. ; )

  2. Ginger Says:

    Slarti…(and x117236) we are so very much alike.

    I feel stretched so thin right now, I can hardly keep it going without having the urge to completely shut down and completely isolate myself and disengage from every commitment I have right now.

    I know how you feel. I have a really good idea that I understand how Lintilla is feeling, too, (hormonally, chemically, and heck…as a woman going through menopause)…all of this to say that I strive to be an encouragement to you guys (and hopefully never add to your burden).

    All of this to say, and as I was saying last night, I want to send my hugs, empathy, prayers, and encouragement your way right now.

    We’re all gonna make it through. One day at a time.

  3. Mack Says:

    Buck up Man. Seriously, I know a little about control issues, and that seems to be playing a part in your drama. Do something for you, before resentment gets a foothold. You have friends like Ginger who will always take your call, you are healthy, and heck, you have the money you need. All in all, you have it pretty good, right? Lastly, let your peeps work their issues out, be supportive–from an arms length.

    Be well.

  4. bridgett Says:

    If I do everything, it’s all done exactly the way I want it done. Unfortunately, I’m not teaching my kid how to be a happy and well-rounded adult if I don’t include teach her how to be part of a cooperative household unit where work is defined as all the various things that need to be done by somebody. (We have a gendered division of labor, but it looks very different than the American norm.) Anyhow, you’re not “making them do chores”; you are teaching them life skills that will help them thrive in the world beyond their parents’ house and helping them understand that a life of service also includes those near and dear to you. Working around the house is an expression of belonging and ownership…this is yours, so you help take care of it. (You know this already, though.)

  5. Susie Says:

    Hey bud…you’ve got lots of friends…and we all love you and are here for you…I can remember when my kids were the age of yours and everybody wanted a little piece of my time…it is not easy. I had to learn to say no. You cannot be all things to all people no matter how much you try. And, I have also learned, when you step back, someone else will be there to take up the slack…when you start feeling out of whack (and I have been there) take a walk! Commune with nature and the God who created it…get back your inspiration…and like Ginger said…one day at a time! (Sometimes its one moment at a time)

  6. nm Says:

    Ya know, I’ve been having a life like this recently. My husband is usually the one who does the most work around the house, but he’s been under enormous work pressure the past few months and couldn’t cope so I took on about half of his tasks to help out (the end of this is in sight in just another 6 weeks or so, and am I happy) so I end up feeling almost just that stretched myself. Work, housework, work, housework, the usual money worries, … gah!

    Then last night, some people were in town, we got together for dinner at my favorite restaurant for a couple of hours. I thought it would be just a nice little break. But I tell ya, I woke up this morning feeling that my life is very good. Sometimes all it takes is a break from the routine to get out of the mental/emotional rut completely.

    So, one day at a time is good for coping, but doing something different can help you not need to feel like coping is any sort of deal.

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