Life, Pandemic, parenting, sleep, Type A

I Don’t Come with an “Off” Button

My social feeds are filled with blog posts and articles about how totally over everything Moms are. And I’m a sucker and I read every one of them, finding myself nodding along and whispering “Ohmygod yes!” I prefer the articles that do not Dad/Partner bash. In our house Mr. KK and I share most of the duties, however, I’m still exhausted; not because he’s not doing his share, but because he is not even aware of the running to-do list in my head. Because for all the wonderful things Mr. KK is, a mind reader he is not.

This exhaustion is both mental and emotional. I’m tired of being prepared. I’m tired of mentally trying to predict our family’s needs before they even have them. I’m fatigued from trying to “get ahead” for busy days and holidays.

Momming is hard.

I don’t want this to be taken that it’s just “Moms” who are like this because that’s sexist and leaves out too many modern-day households. It’s a personality trait, that this Mom (unfortunately) happens to have.

It’s not you, it’s 100% me.

What It’s Like Having Your Brain “On” All the Time

A typical day for me looks like this:

5:00am: Naturally wake up, no matter how many hours of sleep I’ve gotten.
5:01am: Start my morning routine: Check all 4 email accounts, delete junk, flag ones to address later; Scroll through social feeds to see what “news” broke overnight, see what dogs need a home (not that we’re looking) and vicariously live through friends who had an exciting night out. Check calendar of meetings for the day.
5:15am: Launch VRBO and Airbnb apps to continue the search for our family vacation house next summer. Find discouragement in how many houses are already fully booked for 2022.
5:45am: Support the economy! At any given time I have carts filled at at least 4 retailers. So-and-so has an upcoming birthday and we need a gift. Little Mister is outgrowing everything he owns. Didn’t Mr. KK say he needed socks? We’re running low on cleaning products.
6:00am: Good morning, Google! I use this time to “research” stuff for our lives, which can include: finding a place for a date night with Mr. KK; thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, I’d really like to change up what’s on the menu; where can we go to look at peak fall foliage this weekend; what was that book someone mentioned at work that I need to read? What gifts are new for boys this Christmas?
6:30am: FINALLY I can wake Mr. KK up for the day! I have SO MUCH to talk to him about from my morning activities!

And so it goes, every day. By the time I get out of bed, I’m mentally drained. Should I use that time to exercise? Probably. But if I get up then the dogs will wake up and get up and then Mr. KK has to get up and it’s a vicious cycle of tired, cranky beings who are up way earlier than they need to be. Plus, that vacation house isn’t going to book itself.

Why Can’t I Just Stop Thinking About Stuff?

Because it’s not how I’m wired. My brain just doesn’t shut off; there is ALWAYS something to be thinking about. This morning, I read this article about a mom doing nothing, and even in that nothingness, she did a bunch of things. But those things are second nature, so they don’t feel like chores or an item on a to-do list.

Even when I take some time to head out on my own – hit up TJ Maxx or Homegoods, or even the grocery store – I’m still thinking about everything else in my life except what I’m going. Mr. KK will get random texts from me while I’m shopping about an event a few months away, or a reminder to ask me about an item I read about in bed that morning.

Were You Able to Relax a Little During 2020?

Sort of.

I had more time to think about things (not sure if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing?) because we were doing less. Our weekends weren’t filled with playdates and soccer games or gatherings with friends. I had more time to be my crazy, Type A, controlling self. That’s good, right?

I liken my exhaustion to after a year of having more time to do things, that precious time was taken away. So now I’m back to doing the same amount of thinking/planning/researching/living in fewer available hours. We’re back to scheduling activities for Little Mister on weekends so he doesn’t turn into a hermit who only gets to play with and see his parents. Because as fun as I think I am, this kid needs to be with other kids, outside of our house, playing with friends his own age.

We’re back to going to the grocery store. Which – silly as it sounds – can sometimes be hard to fit into the weekend. While I loved the ease of online shopping and delivery, I want to squeeze my own avocados and ensure I get the correct food times when I’m unpacking the bags.

We’re in First Grade! In school, with daily drop off and pick up (at super inconvenient times!) and homework, which requires a good half hour a day to discuss said homework, complain about doing the homework, then completing the homework in 5 minutes.

We’re trying soccer! So we’re on the hook for one practice a week (on a Monday night…seriously, who has their shit together on a Monday for this?) and a game on Saturday.

Mr. KK and I are both super busy at work. So I find myself juggling schedules, finding time to be present with Little Mister in the few hours we have together, carving out work time when I can (sorry for the 10pm work emails, people!) and, oh yeah, doing all the other house stuff that needs to get done.

I’ve taken on the role of the Vice President of the PTA this year, and I’m Little Mister’s Room Captain. I know I don’t need to do this, but I want to do this – I want to be present in Little Mister’s school and community. So I carve out time for event planning and goody-bag making as well.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Hopefully to the couch, to take a nap. (But who am I kidding? I can’t even relax enough to take a nap!)

I will take it one day at a time. I will do what I can without sacrificing what’s important each day. Some days, Little Mister is emotional and needs more one-on-one time, other days he’s happy to take his iPad in the other room for a bit and chill by himself.

I will leave dishes in the sink if I can’t get to them.

I will leave laundry undone as long as we have underwear.

I will order take out if I’m too tired to cook.

I will say “no” to a 5pm meeting at work if I just can’t make it work with everything going on at home.

I will try and find time each day to get some type of exercise (even walking the dog!) because it makes me happy.

I will TRY and sleep until 5:30am each day. (But make no promises)

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