Last week was a long, strange week in our home.
Okay, mostly it’s because I had a long, exhausting work week that threw off everyone else’s routine. Let’s face it, when I get home late, I make dinner late. And when I make dinner late, the whole schedule gets bumped back.
Plus, my boys understand that this means I’ve had less time with them that day, and they try to make up for it. Kirk tells me all of the happenings of his day more quickly than normal and without pausing for a break… He’s got time to catch up on. Nolan gets extra demanding and even extra naughty… He’s got attention from mom to catch up on. Even the cats get in on the action… Donny seizes every opportunity he gets from the moment I walk in the door to attack my feet, and Walter waits patiently with his pleading eyes until I finally sit down and he can find my lap.
Even as I write, Walter doesn't want me to forget about him... Ever.
Needless to say, we’ve had some “easy on mom” dinners. And what I mean by “easy on mom” is that we’ve eaten far too much carryout. While it’s certainly not ideal on the budget or the nutritional front, sometimes a girl’s just gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And as much as I hate not making a nutritious meal for the family every night, I’m sure Nolan hasn’t minded an extra night or two of boneless wings or chicken tenders and French fries.
But it’s the little things that might not make a difference to many people that throw Nolan off. Kirk usually takes care of the morning routine, and I take care of the nighttime routine. If it so happens that Nolan needs his evening shower before I get home for some reason (yes, I’m talking about poop again…), Kirk takes care of it. But I guarantee you Nolan will ask for another after I get home. Honestly, I’m not going to deny a 15-year-old boy access to rinsing out his armpits under most circumstances, so we use a little extra water… I’m cool with that. But other things aren’t always quite so easily resolved.
The biggest impact tends to hit us in the sleep department. I feel like Nolan has a pretty good sense of time, so he’s not fooled when he’s got 3 hours of time from when I get home until bed instead of 4. Plus I know the extra time that Kirk is on duty can stress him out, and when he’s stressed he’s not a good sleeper. It’s sort of the perfect combination for producing crappy sleep… We struggle to get to bed/ sleep on time, and then staying asleep is its own challenge.
But even on a good day, I feel like there’s just not enough of me to go around. So in a week where I put in 15 extra hours at work, I have a hard time feeling like I can give my family what they need. Sure, there’s the, “I have to work so that we can have a place to live, groceries, heat… you know—the basics” argument… But there’s also the, “Clearly they need me present in their lives and need the help/ support/ free labor I have to offer,” piece that pulls me in the other direction. I guess I’m saying that if balance is a challenge in a typical week, last week made it feel impossible.
It also made any thoughts I have had about having a better job feel more impossible than it had before. Any additional education I’ve considered is just more time that I’m not here for the people who matter to me most. And if I do end up with a different job, what would that do to my work schedule? Unless I have more help in some form, I feel like there’s just not enough of me to make it happen.
And if I do this to put us in a better place financially and take some stress off, is it really going to be worth it in the end? If it’s going to spread me thinner at home, will my whole life feel like last week?
Maybe this little stress-induced existential crisis has just boiled down what my options feel like more… Do I keep doing what I’m doing now and just never get to retire? Or do I spend a few years feeling like I have for the last 10 days (eating junk food, feeling guilty about not doing more for my boys and wondering if this kind of exhaustion is what Mononucleosis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome feels like) in hopes of a brighter tomorrow? And either way, do I really win? Or do I just choose between “the option that sucks” and “the option that sucks a little less”?
So in case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m clearly overtired… So on that note, I’m going to close the computer, find my pajamas and let sleep find me (it shouldn’t be hard… that bitch has been following me around all day taunting me LOL).
For now, I’ll leave you with my favorite new gif. The adorable little dumpster is still smiling the whole time—just like me, believe it or not.