Thursday, November 1, 2012

Parenting Underwater

Do you ever have those days so dark and dismal that you're absolutely certain that no other parent in the entire world could possibly understand how you're feeling? It's as if something has grabbed you around the waist and you're being pulled further and further into the abyss.  The light beams from the surface of the water slowly disappear and you're surrounded by darkness. You pathetically try to kick your legs and flap your arms, but they feel heavy and useless. You are sinking fast and David Hasselhoff is not around to rescue you.

No, don't worry, i'm not suffering from depression. I'm far too aware of my feelings to be depressed.  I'm just experiencing what I like to refer to as "parenting underwater."  I'll break free and find my way back to the surface, but for the last couple of days, i've been spending most of my time on the bottom of the ocean floor.  Oh and just so you know, there is no pineapple under the sea (i'm highly disappointed about that Nickelodean).

I'm not sure when this all started, as it's usually multiple events and obligations that lead up to this overwhelming feeling of helplessness.  My younger daughter has been home from school for a few days due to conferences so our usual routine has been disrupted.  It also doesn't help that my daughter and son fight like cats and dogs, so my stress level has been elevated. 

Yesterday was a plethora of chaos. My daughter couldn't find her Dorothy bow for her costume, the boys were...well boys, and I spent my day trying to frantically fix a broken Luigi costume, get five kids ready to go trick or treating, cook dinner, attempt to straighten up the house, etc.   It was just one of those non stop days where I honestly couldn't remember sitting down for five consecutive minutes.  
By the time trick or treating rolled around, I would've rather pulled out my eyelashes than walk around a cold, dark, rainy neighborhood, with five kids, but i'm a mom and this is all part of my job.   I put my own exhausted and emotionally wrung out feelings aside, and the hubby and I successfully completed our parenting duty for the evening (and we also came with a boatload of candy so big bonus there).

I've learned something over the years...the day after Halloween stinks! Yes, you heard me right.  It's a day that I have come to dread.  My kids woke up bright and early this morning and immediately found their way to the candy bowl and began to shove treats into their mouths as if they were trying to win a world record for who could devour a year's worth of candy in fifteen minutes.  As if that wasn't rotten enough, I woke up feeling like death and my voice was completely and totally gone. When you have five kids, a lost voice is a catastrophic impairment.  The kids take full advantage of that one. 

I quickly confiscated the candy and relocated it to a different hiding spot, but the damage was already done. After a large helping of candy consumption occurs, so does the meltdown of epic proportions. Let's just say that what comes up, must come down.  And boy does it ever come down.  Candy manufacturers really ought to put a warning label on this stuff!

Something like:

"Warning: Consuming too much candy will cause your kids to act like test tube monkeys who were given an experimental dose of crack at the lab. Individual results may vary but your child may experience extreme whining, crying, bizarre mood swings, earth shattering screaming, furniture climbing and ottoman acrobatics, sticking inane objects into their ear canals, and may develop symptoms of Tourette's and repeat "Mommy" over and over again."  

So now that you get a small glimpse of the events leading up this mommy breakdown, picture this scene:

Two toddler boys with chocolate covered hands and faces, running around the dining room table, screaming and pushing each other over a chair.  Yes, a chair.  As this is going on i'm trying to fill out a two page questionnaire that i'm supposed to bring with me to my daughter's parent/teacher conference, that's starting in a few minutes that basically wants to know every single personal detail about our daughter's life except maybe her blood type.  The boys are screaming bloody murder in my ear, my daughter is yelling at them to be quiet, my headache is so fierce that I can hardly see straight, small hands are flailing around the table, chairs are being knocked to the ground, things are crashing and banging and suddenly I snap and slam my pen down on the table and pathetically try to scream, "STOP IT RIGHT NOW" at the top of my lungs but all that came out was this awkward, tiny, little squeak. 

By this point the time was cutting dangerously close to her conference.  We were just minutes away from being late and not at all the kind of impression I wanted to make.  I'm frantically running around trying to find jackets, missing socks, shoes, my sanity, etc.  Peanut is having a full blown toddler meltdown on the ground over his jacket not being zipped up all the way.  My daughter was yelling at the boys for making us late, and my hubby was blowing up my phone because he had already arrived at the school and noticed our absence.  

I somehow got the kids buckled into their car seats, slumped into the driver's seat, turned the keys in the ignition when all of a sudden this overwhelming urge to cry hit me like a ton of bricks.  I swallowed the enormous "How did I get here?" lump in my throat and desperately tried to pull myself together.  I knew that if I allowed myself to cry, I would not be able to stop.  Peanut was still kicking and screaming full throttle in his car seat (it should be illegal to drive with two year olds), and my phone was still beeping and vibrating from the inside of my purse as my hubby was frantically trying to reach me. 

I drove the few blocks to the elementary school with a pounding migraine and a still present lump in my throat, and was greeted by a cheerful and completely clueless hubby who had no idea his wife was lying on the bottom of the ocean floor.   He quickly told me to lose the "You look like you just got punched in the face" expression and "Look happy."  I contemplated unleashing the details of my day onto my poor, unsuspecting, hubby but really, I didn't see much point.  This would've caused us to be late for the conference and quite honestly, I had already weathered the worst part of the storm.  I was almost in the clear. I had made it to my destination and help was on the horizon. 

As I walked across the parking lot, stepping on brightly colored fall leaves crunching beneath my feet, feeling the crisp, refreshing air blowing lightly on my flushed face, and seeing my two year old terror tucked securely under my husband's arms, I took a deep breath and felt some of the air return into my lungs.  I was slowly floating back up to the surface, just as I always do. 


  1. I'm so sorry you had a few overwhelming crappy days. Sometimes we have to just make it to the surface and float on our backs for a while, sounds like you're heading in that direction. BTW: once you hit the surface, it helps to drink while you float.

  2. Ohmyword. You have put into words how i have felt so many times! I so get it! And it will pass, and things will be fine, but when you are IN it? The most overwhelming thing...wish i could hug you- but hugging always makes me cry more anyway:) Thank you for writing this and i hope things really do look up soon! I GET IT!!!

  3. If it makes you feel better, my three year old acted like an epileptic Tasmanian devil while driving her and her eight year old brother to school today.A shred of Sanity or fear of prosecution stopped me from pulling over and going to town on her ass....that was all before going in to deal with my wonderful customers.....i am there!!!

  4. All of us moms visit the abyss every once and awhile. You are not alone :)

    Excellently written. I love this so much. Really great chica!

  5. It is great to read that others can be in the same place that we are. Parenting isn't always happy, but when we know others are in the same boat sometimes, it helps (me, anyway!) love it.

  6. You are not alone! All of us moms visit the abyss every once and awhile. This is an excellent post chica. Loved it. @sunshinemommy

  7. What a fun colorful blog, i love it
    new follower
    i blog over here

  8. I feel you mama! This is so beautifully written. I think it is courageous and helpful when we acknowledge how rough our days as moms can be. I really related to this post - great job. @mommyisforreal

  9. This too shall pass. Sometimes it feels like we (Moms, parents in general)definitely have to deal with more than our fair share of things, but somehow we find the strength to get through them. As I was reading about your day, I remembered the poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Although the subject matter is completely different, it is definitely uplifting. Check it out, it may lift your spirit a bit; especially on days like this. Floating isn't bad, as opposed to drowning, it's awesome!
    Jae Mac, I'm Just Sayin'...(Damn!)

  10. Thank you for hosting the hop hun

    Lotte xo

  11. I bob and sink constantly - sometimes several times in a day! At least we float back up though! For my entire pregnancy with Emmeline I sunk to the bottom of an abyss and stayed there! And, it would have been much better if I could have chilled with Sponge Bob. Although I was more akin to Squidward at that point!

    xo Tracy

  12. Oh you have no idea... actually you obviously do lol. Sadly I feel like this often, it may just be the accumulation of many days, but yes I too experience the "parenting underwater" method. Thanks for hosting the hop, don't be a stranger!

    -Krystal newest GFC follower

  13. I truly wish I were closer so could give you the occasional break.

  14. OMG! No wonder you've been feeling 'underwater' All of us moms have been there and get there maybe more often than we would like! But it passes. Take a break and stay strong!

  15. Whew - just reading this stressed me out. I'm glad it's summer - I've been above water for awhile now and am trying to take lots of deep breaths so I can survive when I go back under when school starts. Hope you've had the chance to relax this summer, too.

  16. The supportive aspect is that it introduces the child to parental love and companionship on a consistent basis.
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  17. Oh and just so you know, there is no pineapple under the sea (i'm highly disappointed about that Nickelodean).


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