Today is the first weekday in 3 weeks that we don’t have our contractor and his team working on our bathroom. The lack of construction noise is so pleasant. I love our contractor and his team; they are GREAT people who I trust to do work when I had to leave for appointments and grocery shopping. But the constant noise was stressful. Then when it was too quiet, that usually meant they had discovered something ELSE wrong or the plan they had to repair something didn’t work and they needed to make up a new plan. New plan equals more money. All in all, things went very well though and the bathroom turned out to be beautiful. He executed our vision perfectly.
I love the bathroom and it was totally worth the three weeks of hassle but I am still frazzled. My PTSD is set off by noise and I mentally prepared myself for the first week of noise. When everything fell apart, I was okay with the second week. School started during the second week too, so I had less to worry about during the day. Then last week, the third week, I was frazzled. We found a leak in the basement the day before the bathroom was finished. A technique he wanted to try to seal the shower around the floor wasn’t working at all and he was frustrated. And it seemed like everything was falling apart right when it was supposed to be complete.
Then I realized over the weekend that I was physically and mentally exhausted. I couldn’t sleep well because my brain was too fired up. These past three weeks were so much harder on me than I realized at the time. It’s like I’m in recovery now. But school and soccer both started and I’m getting up earlier to get the kids out in the morning and then I have two practices during the week and two games on Saturday. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it has been.
And so I decided to move today’s practice with my 3rd and 4th graders to Friday at the same time. One of the parents wrote that some players may not make it to practice due to high school football obligations. I am not worried about high school football obligations. I am worried about my brain that is stuck in some sort of survival mode where I have been before. I am not in complete control right now. I need tonight off to let my brain rest. This team, more so that the older team, tests my patience and makes me angry when they don’t listen. They often wander off, refuse to listen to directions, and kick each other’s balls as far as they possibly can. So we waste time waiting on one or two people to go get the 4-6 balls they thought would be funny to kick across the soccer fields. Today I don’t have that patience. So it is best that I put myself first and don’t bring my low patience around other people’s kids.
For years I just pushed through everything, no matter how frazzled I was or how much I just needed a break. I used to take myself to the movies, or hide alone and eat lunch by myself in a parking lot just to get some breathing room. I never demanded better behavior from those around me. I just gave and gave and didn’t take anything for myself. It made me angry and resentful, I wanted to just be alone whenever I could be. I loved deployments because I could have me time any time I wasn’t working. When I was deployed for a year, I had constant me time. I was only worried about my one room and my laundry only. I had to get just myself to work; no worrying about anyone else or the pets. It was so much easier. Coming home made me cranky. I often felt like I wanted to run away and never come back. In therapy, I was told that I needed to find ways to recharge my battery because I was running on empty. I didn’t know how to stop doing everything for everyone.
And then I retired from the Air Force and started my new life. I took some time to focus on me, almost like I was in unguided rehab. I went to therapy consistently for the first time in my adult life. I explored all the things that were hurting inside me. I didn’t focus on everyone else. I slept in when I felt like I needed to sleep in. And most importantly, I learned how to say no. I learned where I need my boundaries to be for my own mental health. And so I need to move soccer practice to Friday, regardless of how many players won’t be able to make practice. I need today to feel better and build back up to a healthier place for me before I challenge myself with this team. I do not need to exist in a non-functional place just so we have soccer practice as scheduled. No one needs to push themselves into extreme fatigue for recreational sports for children.
I feel so proud of myself for actually taking care of me first. This is the way…