Springtime. The month of May. Mothers Day. Victoria Day long weekend. Add teaching a spring session of night school twice a week. Add a dozen or so medical appointments. Plus our regular preschool activities and volunteer commitments. Oh, and tee-ball starts soon. You get the picture. We are too busy.
I read online somewhere about one mom’s Mother’s Day tradition of checking in to the Jacuzzi suite at a local hotel on the evening before Mother’s Day. There she enjoys about 20 hours of solitude with a stack of books and bubble bath. I would add red wine and room service to that night. Alone at last. Ah… mommy porn.
What is it about our lives that a night of being completely alone sounds so deliciously appealing? Even during ‘non-busy’ times our family is hectic – a four year old pounding on the bathroom door because he misses you and the two year old calling “Mohhh-ME! Mohhh-ME! Mohhh-ME!” at 5 am every morning. Add a breastfed 6 month old who still nurses during the night and you have the recipe for no downtime.
As a family I believe we suffer from chronic stress and burnout. Actually, we do suffer from chronic stress and burnout – Hubby had to request a change at work because the combination of stress at home plus work-stress was killing him. Literally. Our lives are subject to the ‘stack attack,’ the more you pile on, the worse things become. So piling on a bunch of medical appointments, work-related responsibilities, plus the regular stuff we do so our kids can grow and you have the stack attack.
Poor Mr. Sensitive feels it most – when we get too busy, his four year-old brain starts to seize control in any way it can. Tantrums. Refusals. Dropping to the floor. Whining. Perseveration. Worrying. We are at the point where he is refusing to get out of our van for medical appointments. I don’t blame him.
Yesterday’s behaviour therapist and social worker appointment was a shining example of how wacko our lives have become. The whole point of the appointment was for Hubby and I to learn some skills to deal with the very intense Mr. Sensitive and have Mr. Sensitive learn some strategies to deal with anxiety. It sounds like win-win, and good in theory.
Reality is a whole different story. The problem was we already had two other ‘big’ things to do that day. Our day plan was: speech appointment for Little Miss Adorable in one city, social work and behaviour appointment for all of us in another city, then drop everyone off at home and I race to go teach evening class in a third city. (Can you feel the stack attack stress?)
Hubby took Little Miss Adorable to her speech language pathologist appointment that morning while I tried to get the boys and myself ready for a noon appointment. I handed Mr. Sensitive a fistful of cold cuts to eat as we raced out the door. Hubby burned rubber down the highway to the appointment while I called reception to let them know we were running late, again.
We arrive, disheveled and windblown. Kids are wearing dirty clothes because that’s all I had time to grab. I may or may not be wearing clean underwear because that’s where we are in the laundry cycle. Hubby is wearing a baseball cap because he hasn’t washed his hair for a few days. Mr. Sensitive clings to me as we walk to the social worker’s office. The social worker will play with him and talk to him about ‘his worries.’ (Can you see how ridiculous this is becoming?)
I disengage from Mr. Sensitive’s clinging grip, leave him with the social worker, and head to the behaviour therapist’s appointment. I really can’t remember anything she said because (1) I’m chronically sleep-deprived and exhausted, (2) Little Miss Adorable dumped a bottle of water on the floor and I sopped it up with a clean diaper, (3) The Dunk is teething, screaming, and irritable, so I walked with him trying to distract him and listen to the therapist. I end up hiding in a washroom. (Can someone just shoot me now?)
In hindsight we should have cancelled the appointment and hung out at a park instead. It would have done everyone a world of good, reduce the stress and anxiety all around. At this point we need fewer appointments and more time together, doing ‘normal’ things – parks, family movie night, outings to the zoo.
The next time we go to an appointment it better be at Disney World.