Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The fallout

So last week was every bit as hard and grueling as I thought it might be. The week before, while I worked long hours, was better. And I was hopeful last week would follow in the previous weeks footsteps, but it didn't, not at all.

I've hesitated to write a blog. Because I haven't had time to, number one. But also because I'm always so scared of getting judged. There are lots of days I just downright hate that I am a working mom. But I'm also really committed to staying firm in an attitude of not being discontent in my life. To feel blessed by our life, rather than dwell on the things that I wish were different. And USUALLY I can do that. Well. And I mean it, I'm not faking my way along pretending to be happy in a life where I am not. I am happy. I do make the best. But sometimes things just sucker punch you. And for some reason, blogging honestly hasn't been coming to me easily. I'm not seeing the humor in it, I don't have the energy to be witty. At least not for long enough to get it written down.

So last week just sucked. The kids had many bad days where I only saw them for 30 minutes in the morning. Except in the case of Addie or Bryson, where they were up in the night or at the crack of dawn. In my guilt ridden mind, all I could think was that they were trying to find some time with me, time when I was home. So I struggled through the days where I had to be mentally at my best on 2-6 hrs or sleep and on the verge of tears.

Since the first day I went back to work when Lily was a baby, I have always felt like I wasn't enough. Before that, I always excelled at my job. I always felt pretty good about how hard I had worked and how much I had accomplished. I also knew that I was a darn good wife. However, once I became a mom, I just wasn't as good. For the most part, I'm okay with that. I'm happy to be good enough at my profession that my mediocrity is still on par with some people's excellence, and generally, no one seems to notice.

Except, now, my company got this huge investment that requires an annual financial statement audit for the first time in 20 years. The threat of an audit has been dangling for years, for one reason or another, and I've done my best to be prepared for it. And as far as a first time audit goes, I couldn't have asked for a better circumstance. (I won't bore you about the details of an interim opening balance sheet audit prior to the income statement audit after year end, on prior year only, and the generous deadlines they've given on that, but these are good things). Still, it's hard. We've basically hired a Top Company to go through all the detail of all the work, I (or my team has done) since I've started, and find any and all mistakes, or problems with processes, or answer questions about why things have been done such-and-such a way since the beginning of time. Frankly, it's exhausting. Depleting. For 12-16 hrs a driving-home-in-the-dark-eating-dinner-by-myself day. It points out all the weaknesses. That's what it's supposed to do, but it's hard to hear it since many of the "problems" are due to resource or system constraints, so the "how to" fix them isn't easy or straightforward.

At home, each night there would be a report (that I asked for) of who did what all day from Julia. And it was hard not to wonder and worry about why Addie started having accidents or why Lily all of sudden hit Julia for the first time. Bryson also wasn't nursing well in the morning due to teething, a stuffy nose, and his sister waking up to come see what's going on promptly at the moment of nursing, and I wasn't home for his night nursing. So there's that. Lawrence was super great about making sure he was off right on time each day and we did a lot of meal planning so making dinner and caring for all three kids, bathing them, and putting them to bed was *slightly* easier for him. There are lots of weeks where he has to do this one night a week. We decide that if I'm going to miss bedtime, I might as well stay really late and get it all done. But for 2 full weeks, this was ridiculous. And so by the time I finally got home, we'd both worked 2 full time jobs, and we just beat.

By Tuesday night, I honestly COULD.NOT.BELIEVE it was only Tuesday. Oh, and that's the day that Matt finally got on the plane headed to Iraq from Mississippi. He called and we had one last good bye around 7pm. Then he called the house to talk to Lawrence and the girls. And I got to Skype with him briefly, test out his new laptop, and see his new glasses. :) I shut my door after and had a brief cry. It wasn't nearly long enough.

By Friday I was too tired to even be excited that it was Friday. Our audit team was good, but by Friday, I was ready for them to leave, as they were already 2 days longer than scheduled. I just couldn't wait to get home and be with the kids.

Except when I got there, I was too depleted to even be how I wanted to be with them. And I was super mad at myself over that. I can ALWAYS dig deeper, find more to give. And I just couldn't, there was nothing left.

Bryson was so needy and clinging that even when we were at the grocery store at 5am on Saturday (thank you daylight savings time STILL!) he would cry when I would step to the side of the cart to grab a box of cereal off the shelf. I REALLY could not be ONE step away from him. He is going through separation anxiety to the max anyway. But this weekend he cried when I walked INTO the room, fearing (as I perceived) that I would leave it again shortly. Even when sitting on the floor with him, I reach over to the toy box and he'd cry. So I felt myself upset and annoyed as I snuck off to the bathroom, listening to him screech if he caught me. He had a terrible time going down for night and naps. After several weeks of an easy system we had going. All of this swirled inside of me, guilt, exhaustion, depletion. I don't want a moment to myself because I feel selfish for being away from them, even at a time where I didn't chose that.

This pretty much lasted all weekend for me. SO annoying. We went to a restaurant to watch my college football rivalry game, something we do every year, and had planned for months. It was so fun, it felt like everyone who went to either Montana school who lived in Portland was there. Except I just could not relax. I was wound so tight. We took Lily and Addie and Julia stayed with Bryson while he napped. I was worried about them spilling milk and bothering others, and arguing with each other over Littlest Pets. Lily was giving me a bit of an attitude, but nothing that normally would have bothered me. I was upset because even on Saturday, I had nothing more to give. I can't remember that happening to me before, not like that. I just wanted to cry. Then the Griz lost. Stupid Griz! :)
On Sunday, my only saving Grace was that there were only two working days this week. But still, even after Lawrence let me sleep in a little, I felt annoyed and guilty, overwhelmed and rushed as we went out to take a family pic for our Holiday Cards and it was so bitter cold that I'm not even sure if it turned out or not. Poor kids!!!

To top off my fail of a week/weekend family wise, I totally forgot to call our niece and nephew to wish them a happy birthday on Sunday. I know (hope and pray) that they know how much we love them, and that our (my...cause let's face it, that's my job) forgetfulness is no indication of how much we love them. 2010 has seriously not been my year for remembering to send cards or call on birthdays. I hope 2011 will be better. It almost CERTAINLY could not be worse. Love you Ty and Cass!! Can't believe you are already FIVE years old.

So in the spirit of trying to not be a complete negative Nelly:
Here Are Some Grateful Things...
  • I've never appreciated more that I am permitted to work from home 2 days a week. Even thought the kids are with Julia during that time, I don't have a commute, and I'm just THERE with them, although in another room. Five days a week in the office is exponentially more exhausting and I'm not sure I'd ever full acknowledged this. Some times you ask me, how do I do it all? Well, working from home is a large part of my 'how'.
  • In the end, the auditors felt pretty good about how we (I) have been doing things. There are some adjustments, but nothing that I don't agree with, and nothing that they wouldn't expect in the first year. This is a great relief to me because when they come in every two minutes every day, I'm just not sure what means what. It's nice to find that, in the end, they were mostly just trying to get an understanding, rather than passing a judgment. It's not clear during.
  • The auditors told my boss that I am responsible for a lot of areas and made a recommendation to him that we get additional staff to help me. Whether we do or don't doesn't matter to me as much as the acknowledgment that an outsider noticed this and told my boss. It also makes me feel better about small things that slip through the cracks, I'm only one person. Also, in my own head I always know that I could do more, or do it better, and I guess it was just nice to see that they think, I do a lot, enough, too much. I got some validation there.
  • I have this job. Tomorrow I get to go to Addie's Thanksgiving Feast and Lily's 6 year pediatrician visit and then take Wednesday off to prepare for the holiday. This job, and all the stress it has caused me, ultimately has saved us. When Lawrence was laid off last year, we struggled with unemployment, my maternity leave, and he is now in the process of starting over at a new company. We are so blessed that I continued to have a stable and flexible job with good health insurance through that. We have everything that we need, and more.
  • That we have Julia. Another great AuPair who LOVES our kids. I sent her an email a few weeks ago, letting her know that when I see her talk to my kids, even when she disciplines them, that it is so obvious that she loves them. You can hear it in her voice and see it in the way she looks at them. We have been through several different child care options in the last 6 years and we KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this is the best one for us right now. It truly feels like I leave the kids with a family member, someone who is in my home, helping it run smoothly. It is impossible not to want the daily moments back with my kids. To wish that THAT was my stress and my hard days, but since it isn't, I'm just really grateful for all she does to make this family work. Including cleaning up poop and working through proper consistent discipline with a lovely and very strong willed six year old. When I'm working from home and I hear her laughing with the kids or speaking to them. I find myself smiling because of the excellent care she is taking.
  • I remembered this week that even though all of the critique, I'm a really good accountant, and as nerdy as that sounds, it was good talking shop with people who knew more about it than I do. I (over)used my brain in a way that I hadn't in a while. And it felt kind of good.
  • I have a husband who is my teammate. We both do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, without question. I hate weeks when we are "just teammates" and it feels like there is little interaction between us. He also had a sore throat this week and didn't really feel like talking after I got home. But I know too many wives who would give anything for a good teammate husband like mine. And I'm also glad that when we are just teammates, it is a fraction of what we normally are together, and for that I'm grateful too.
It's Thanksgiving. And I'm thankful. Thankful for all of you out there in my life, those who read my blog, those who don't. I'm thankful for my healthy family and our good life. I'm thankful for who I am, and for who I am becoming. Thankful for a God who will not love me less and could not love me more. Thankful for our parents and our siblings, their health, that we love them and they love us, even when we don't do it just right.

5 comments:

  1. My heart-aches as I read this, knowing it is the eternal struggles of most moms. There is NO easy answer or EASY equation for our time, energy, responsibilities. It's a juggling act and sometimes we can't always catch the balls that are thrown. I hope this hurdle is behind you and you sleep a bit better knowing that you are a GREAT mom, a GREAT employee, GREAT wife, despite the pitfalls! XOXO

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  2. I learn so much from you and am so happy you continue to share your journey in a very real and yet optimistic way. I SO feel what you're going through, yet I have just a fraction of that kind of stress. Two days now of barely seeing Che has been really hard, and I think of how it must feel for working moms who experience it regularly. Sucks. I hope this season of insanity gives way to more rejuvenation and peace for you!

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  3. Wow! I'm tired just from reading about all that you do! I know it's hard. I'm not a working mom, but I know plenty and it blows my mind! I could never do that and I know I can't. That's why I don't and thankfully it's never been too big a problem. I never finished my degree so I honestly don't know what I'd do if I didn't stay at home with my kids. Maybe work for a newspaper or something, since I love to write. Right now I'm trying to write a book, and believe me that's hard with 3 kids at home! Hang in there! I love you!

    Shellie

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  4. well, i'm impressed by your matching outfits! that in itself is a feat! good job getting through this tough week. thank you for your transparency and sharing your heart. hope your schedule eases up soon and maybe some nice long snow days are in your future. hugs, DL :)

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