I’ve been going nonstop for weeks now. My body is tired and my brain is running on empty. I forget that this is how I functioned for 6 years. After recovering over a period of 7 months, I try everything to not end up in this place because it’s hard to even exist when you’re drained. I get caught in this trap of “i’m not busy enough and I’m not doing enough” because I struggle with my productivity being caught up in my worth. I, alone with nothing produced, am worthy. I don’t need to be constantly producing to prove my worth to anyone. No one even expects anything from me. This is the burden I put on myself. This is what I think I should be doing.
After the school year ended in early June, the ex came and got the kids. He came with the standard whirlwind of erratic emotions and loud noise. He was stressed and hysterical, as usual. Off the kids went and we went to another musical. Waitress, I think it was. I liked it. It helped me ease the sadness I felt over being glad the kids were gone. It hit me like a ton of bricks as we drove away that I was glad to have time alone with my wife and a break from the constant fighting and bickering that had taken over the end of the school year. And then I was instantly sad that I didn’t miss them right away. Like what kind of terrible parent is glad to have time away from the kids.
We were only getting a week away from the younger two at that time. I had signed them up for a summer program at their schools where they had some academics in the morning and then fun enrichment activities in the afternoon. Originally they were supposed to spend the summer with him, but he decided that he couldn’t provide enough supervision for them, but the 16 year old could stay all summer and hang out with his old friends from before. The 19 year old was also there but not regularly enough to supervise the younger two. I cannot allow the kids to lounge around all summer annoying each other and me, so this FREE program for 5 weeks was necessary.
The program was Monday-Thursday, around 8am-3pm every day. What ended up happening is that the 11 year old’s bus picked him earlier than it did during the school year. So I spent 5 weeks of my summer getting up earlier than I would during the school year to get him to the bus. Then the little one’s bus came an hour later. What a hassle that was. I was glad when the program was over.
The ex was supposed to get them right after that, but didn’t coordinate any time off of his job, so we would have to wait until his next two day block of time off the following week. He was supposed to fly his little airplane up here to get them. The weather was crappy. So he asked me to drive to Kentucky to bring them to him for about three weeks. I did the 7 hour drive both ways in one day, starting the exhaustion. I wasn’t sleeping well already.
Then we had an amazing 3 week time without the kids. We ate food they hate, went to places they wouldn’t enjoy, and just lived an easy life. I was the most relaxed I’ve been in a long time. And then the great swirl of activity took off when we took our castle trip.
We drove about 5 hours after my doctor’s appointment. Those three days were lovely and then we went to the town where we meet him. He was typically erratic and frazzled. And emotional. Ugh. He expresses emotions in a way that is very loud and angry. Every emotion comes through as anger. It drains me every time and then I need days to recover from that nonsense. But I have to do it privately because the kids don’t need to know how I feel about all that. The kids were understandably sad to leave him. We went to a bookstore and all choose books. We had one night in a hotel and played games and they got slightly bored and became annoying that evening.
Then we made the 7 hour trek home. It was fine. But not fine, as we all had to transition back to life together after so much time apart. It was draining. We had school clothes and supplies shopping to accomplish that first weekend. Then we had the family trip for the retirement party last week. This past week was the first week of school. Soccer also started this past week. The first games were Saturday with the short trip to see the musical yesterday.
And this is the third week we’ve had people in the house all day every week day to remodel the bathroom. Well, it was a remodel. It turned into a gut and rebuild. This will hopefully be the last week because I need a break. We are also heading into the first full week of school, which is when I think it will finally feel like school to them. Last week was short and seemingly easy with not much work assigned.
I have 7 weeks of soccer to look forward to into October now, which I do enjoy. It just takes a lot because I plan practices and starting rosters and monitor the snack signup. As soon as that ends, we have a family wedding in October with a 6 hour drive there, a weekend with family, and a 6 hour drive back. It will be fun and the time with family will be relatively low drama, but the drive with the kids is taxing, even when they behave 100%. But they won’t. They will complain about snacks, needing to go to the bathroom, who is putting their feet where they don’t belong, who isn’t wearing headphones, and who stunk up the car. It’s just a lot of not-fun time cooped up in the car.
Then there’s Halloween, which will be dramatic. Then we are full swing into the holidays and we have these expectations placed on us to travel to the various family members we must visit. The only downside of having amazing family members is that they want to see you and it seems that we are always the ones traveling to them. If we travel, we will be exhausted. If we don’t travel, we will face guilt even if the family members are understanding that we don’t want to travel. The likelihood that everyone will be cool about us not traveling is around maybe 1%, so we will have to have an incredible excuse or we will need to just shut down the guilt trips. I’m not entirely sure why “We always come to you and we don’t feel like making the trip right now” isn’t a good enough explanation, especially to people who haven’t visited us in over a year.
Even though I’d like to take a week-long nap to catch up, that’s not going to happen any time soon. For now, I’d settle for an afternoon without the contractors here working on the bathroom. Hopefully soon there will be a long enough break where I can just relax and catch up on things that recharge me. I must recharge soon before I break…