The last few days I have been miserably unhappy. The “I want to move to Canada and live in a one room cabin with my books and needlepoint, grow a garden and raise chickens and never see another living soul again” type of unhappy.
So last night I watched “The Hours” so I could spend some time with others who felt miserable and then I considered my situation. What exactly was the problem? Food reactions? Hormonal? Thyroid? Motherhood burnout? Some combination thereof? A quadruple whammy would explain my recent spate of extreme overreactions. Here’s a somewhat vague summary of what has been going on:
- I feel grumpy, bored, frustrated and angry all at the same time. Motherhood seemed the stupidest thing I had ever done closely followed by living in the desert. I have zero patience for any type of stupidity. Quite the problem with a small male child in the house.
- My seasonal allergies which were improving are once again worsening. My insomnia has returned and being awake at 0400 is so not a good thing.
- I am convinced my 8 year old is trying to drive me crazy. After say, ten days walking past his shoes on the stairs he cannot believe it when I have a meltdown about the damn shoes. And seriously how many years does one have to remind a person to brush their teeth before they get it? In my mind five years is enough. The list goes on and on and on.
- Plus my check engine light kept going off and on and I needed to get my emissions test done.
So I did what every person does when they fear they are losing their mind: I trolled the internet for information and ideas. Here is what I learned.
1/2. My post Whole30 reintroduction plan came to a screeching halt on Mother’s Day. Plus I was really only concerned with grains, possible just wheat. I learned I need to see if dairy is making me crazy, angry, unhappy, depressed and generally miserable too. I am not going to do the Whole30 again but for the next week I am going to avoid all grains and dairy. If there is a problem I should feel better after a few days. Then I will have to slowly and painstakingly rule out (or in) foods one at a time. The good news is I can make fruit juice popsicles and eat potato chips. I thought I could eat dark chocolate too but all the stuff I have on hand has the potential to have some sort of milk product in it. This could be a real problem.
As for living in the desert I am no longer going to be the martyr trying to save money by keeping the a/c set at 78°. So right now the a/c is set at a very comfortable, (almost chilly!) 72°. The electric bill be damned! I also bought new curtains for my south facing bedroom and added a dark blue liner to really block the sun. (Actually it was a little too dark during the day so I took the liner off one of the panels this morning and I will see how I like that tonight and tomorrow morning.)
3. Turns out lots of eight year olds are driving their parents crazy. Many have no interest in hygiene. This phase typically lasts four to six years. Okay. So this means I have years ahead of me saying every single day “brush your teeth, use soap, wash your hair.” See, this is what makes Canada look good. But apparently it also drives most parents crazy so I am not alone, not that this knowledge is particularly helpful. But it is good to know my reaction is normal.
Also seems around this age boys get a little hormone spurt of testosterone that makes them stupid. It is utterly useless to expect any type of common sense to prevail. They have zero awareness of pretty much everything right now. But this too will pass and at some point they become caring, reasonable human beings again, complete with an awareness of their surroundings. Since I know my son has a good heart and an acceptable level of intelligence I will l just have to wait out this phase as best I can.
To help with the waiting I got some tips from Zen Habits on patience and letting go of expectations. I wrote them down on a piece of paper and I keep it with me at all times. When I sense I am turning into the Nagging Ogre (think Incredible Hulk!) I pull the list out and read it. If nothing else it gives my son a chance to escape.
4. I bought a new gas cap. My car passed emissions and the check engine light has not come back on (yet). Hopefully if it does come back on it will be after I have a grip on my reactions once again.
Seriously, I could write a book about everything going on in my head and heart right now, as well as probable causes and solutions. I feel like I am entering a survival mode parenting period. And that is okay. Everybody has them, they don’t last forever, and everyone will survive. Letting him watch more tv, play more video games and eat an apple for dinner is not the end of the world. I actual think it will do us both good if I become less responsible for a while, take a break from being such a strict grown up. Summer is coming and it is time to ease up and enjoy life. Even if I can’t enjoy ice cream:(
But just in case, if you don’t see an update next week you will know I am living in Canada chasing chickens and doing needlepoint by the fire. Wish me luck with the dairy and grain purge. I really hope it brings some relief.