Monday, August 9, 2010

Wits' End

I posted on Twitter about this, but it's just way too much for 140 characters. I would spam up everyone's timeline with my whining. ;)

This morning I am totally at my wits' end with everything. E was up 3 or 4 times last night, for no apparent reason. I tried cosleeping with him in my twin bed - yeah... doesn't work now that he's HUGE. So, this morning I'm totally exhausted, but I'm trying to get back into a sort of groove since school starts again in two weeks. I figured I'd let E play for a little bit and he'd go back down for a nap (he normally gets up at 7 after sleeping through the night and naps at 9:30, so since he was up a few times in the night and up for the morning at 6:30, I was anticipating a really good nap).

He finally got tired and I snuggled him and fed him a bottle. He was asleep, and I went to put him in his crib so I could start my day. I totally tripped on one of his stupid toys (that I usually clean up before we do naptime, but he was really whiny so I skipped it this one time in favor of the bottle) and it totally jarred him awake. I put him in his crib anyway, gave him his giraffe and his blanket, turned the music on, and went to the bathroom, hoping he'd have fallen asleep by the time I was done. Nope! He was crawling around in his crib, hitting his head on everything possible, and awake as can be. Great.

This is when I posted on Twitter. It doesn't seem like such a huge deal - so he skipped a nap. Move on. But I'm trying to get into the habit of working out regularly again, and I just don't know when to do it. I used to be able to put him in his swing or jumperoo, but now that he's mobile I have no idea what to do with him. We have very limited space - I have one bedroom of a 1500 or so square foot, 3 bedroom condo. Yeah. He can't crawl around in any of the other rooms, because my mom's house is and always has been clutter city, so my room is the only "safe" place that he can go around and not have a really close eye on him. My room houses a daybed, a dresser, a nightstand, a crib, and a jumperoo, so floor space is limited. If I let him crawl around, he'd be under my feet the whole time. I've asked my mom if I can help her move some of her boxes out of the hallway, so I could close off all the other doors (except mine) and he can play there, but she always says she "needs to go through them" and of course, never does. So my only option is to try to do it while he's napping, praying the whole time that the noise of me working out doesn't wake him up. Which is stressful enough, so when he didn't nap in the first place, it just threw me into a total funk.

The problem with the house is not a gigantic problem. It's not filthy, it's just cluttered because my mom downsized from a larger house, and doesn't know how to purge things. Somehow she doesn't get that if it's been sitting in a box for two years, you probably don't need whatever is in it. Especially when you're not even sure what's in it. I'm sure she's overwhelmed with it, because that's her personality. She can't just say "Okay, today I'm going to do this one box." She looks at the entire thing as a whole, gets overwhelmed, and doesn't even start. I can't do it for her, because it's not my stuff. If it were up to me, I'd load all those boxes in my car and have them dropped off at Salvation Army or something. But it's very frustrating to me - and trust me, I'm far from a clean freak - because it makes it so I have to either be cooped up in my room, or worry that E is going to get into something that could hurt him.

The next thing (sort of unrelated, but stressing to me) is that my mom decided she's going to go on this diet. That's great, because she really does have some lifestyle changes that need to be made (just like I do!). But the way she's doing it is totally, totally unsustainable. She's doing Body for Life, if you're familiar with it, but instead of learning to make actual meals using the guidelines in the book, she thinks she's just going to eat one protein, one carb, and one vegetable from her list for 6 meals a day until she loses the weight, plus some outrageously expensive protein shakes. And by that I mean she eats plain cottage cheese, unseasoned boiled chicken breast... you get the idea. It's completely unsustainable, especially for someone who actually enjoys food. So I know this is totally her business, but the way it involves me is that now, since she can't eat what she regularly makes for family dinners, she's just going to stop making them altogether. Fine, but she has a husband and a son who she has taught to be totally reliant on her cooking. And when she doesn't cook? They look to me. I absolutely despise that neither of them ever pick up the slack and make a simple pot of spaghetti, sandwiches, anything, but I can't change that. And let's face it, I want to eat too. So now, the burden of cooking rests on me. I could handle that. I cooked for M for 3 years, and for myself for 2 years before that after I left home. The thing is, everyone in this house is so freaking picky. My mom won't eat anything that isn't standard meat-and-potatoes fare (think meatloaf and mashed potatoes, breaded chicken and mashed potatoes, breaded chicken and rice-a-roni, etc.). Her husband... well, I don't really know what it is he likes, but during fall semester I was cooking a lot and he liked very little of what I made. I didn't realize it until he started telling my mom how fettucine alfredo is so bland the night after I made it, while I was sitting right there on the couch with them. I stopped cooking after that. Lazy, unappreciative men can eat cold cereal, for all I care. I do feel bad for my little brother, though, who, although he takes after his father and step father by not helping one bit, is not too picky and actually likes most of what I make. And again, I don't want to eat cold cereal every night! So I know that whole paragraph totally didn't go anywhere, but the point is, I'm frustrated and stressed about the whole situation.

I'm also frustrated about the general cleanliness of the downstairs area. It would be so easy to do if everyone just did a little bit every day, but my step dad and brother (who are home all day, every day, and are in front of the television and computer screens, respectively) won't do anything without specifically being told. My mom thinks that they're old enough (50 and 15) to not have to be told, so she doesn't, and she doesn't do it herself (which I don't blame her for, she works 10 hour days! Who wants to come home and clean after that?) so it just doesn't get done. I still feel a little uncomfortable doing it, because I feel like it's going to be more offensive than helpful since it's not my house - does that make sense? I of course clean up after myself, and do the dishes, and things like that, but I'm talking about mopping the floors, vacuuming, stuff like that. I approached her about making a chore chart, so we can all be responsible for something and not step on each other's toes, but she didn't really seem that into it. So I either live with it, or do it all myself. And yeah, I would be doing it all myself if I lived in my own apartment, but it just feels different because it's not my house.

Sigh. I don't know. None of this really bothered me before E was mobile - it wasn't a big deal to be cooped up in our room. But now it is, and I don't know what to do! I guess I just suck it up, and do it all myself. Cook, clean, take care of the baby, for a family of 5. Plus school, plus hospice volunteering, and dealing with M/the divorce/everything else emotionally.

I seriously hope this gets easier.


  1. Make whatever you feel like making! If they wont eat it, then fuck it. Thats their damn problem. You went out of your way to make food for everyone. You dont have to please them!

    If the clutter is seriously that bad, then start going through it in front of your mom and throw things away. She will notice and get mad and you give her an ultimatum, either she goes through 1 box every weekend or it gets taken to wherever you feel like taking it.

    ^^I have seen that work on hoarders ^^

    You been through so much crap, you dont need anymore. Take charge and demand for things to be done. It can be hard to do that to family but sometimes, everyone just needs a little push.

    Hope everything works out in the end. <3

  2. Lol. When you say it like that it seems so obvious! I'm just sooo not a confrontational person, and I'm a people pleaser. Not a great quality when it comes to keeping my sanity.

    It's definitely not like hoarders, lol! There are just a few boxes of things in the hallway, which I would totally not mind if it was just me, but when you have a little baby... he could easily climb up on them, etc and get hurt, you know?

    I think you're right though. I just need to be more assertive... I *do* live here now, so even though it's not "my" house in the sense that it would be if it were my own apartment, it still needs to be a place where E can crawl around and I don't have to worry so much!!

    Thank you soooo much. I am just so frustrated... all the little things are just getting under my skin!

  3. For all the really tough days of divorce, single parenthood, school, really does get easier. Promise :)

  4. Girl, if they don't want to eat what you cook, then they can make a sandwich or a bowl of cereal!
    Honestly, I wouldn't waste the time going through boxes of stuff. I would move the boxes into another room (her bedroom for instance) so that you can have a little extra space. Then she can go through them whenever she feels like it!

  5. Well Gallie, I hope you are able to get your own place before too long. I know it's expensive down there especially when you're going to school. I wish I was closer so I could help you out. At least playdates! You're in my prayers. Hang in there.

  6. Wow, it's tough enough living with people when it is your house so I can only imagine what it's like when it's not your house. I like the suggestion of pulling a box out and saying, "Mom, sit with me while I go through this so you can decide if not then I an take it to the XYZ place for you."

    If you're going to take on the responsibility of cooking for everyone then I don't believe it would be stepping on anyone's toes to say to your brother, "Hey wash these dishes" or put them in washer or whatever. Maybe you should start giving some gentle direction, but only if it will make things better for you.

    Regardless of the true owner of the home if parties have agreed to living together then they understand their have to be some allowances or sacrifices made to make it doable for everyone.

    Are there time when they baby will sit in his crib while you're working out? Maybe you can do it when he's awake. Does he hold his own bottle? A bouncy seat with him strapped in, set in the crib with him holding his bottle... that has worked for me with all of my four. Do you do yoga? He may be okay out of the crib while you're doing yoga since it's slow movements ... IDK

    I hope it works out soon. MY divorce was just final in December and was separated almost three years by that time so I understand the stress and whatnot from that.

    Take care!

  7. I totally feel you mama. Seems like before muffin could move, scoot and tumble forward life was simple. She stayed put were I sat Im realizing I have clutter cause it seems I have no room. Try not to stress cause that will only add to the frustration. *hugs*