Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Grey January Days

Oh, thats I remember what January feels like.

I do believe I've already hit the January wall and its only January 8.

January is such a perfect storm. The Christmas come-down, the deep cold, the lack of light, the far away feeling of spring and warmth, the disappearance of big events to look forward to on the calendar, the bitter cold...oh wait...I said that already...I think it all adds up to putting me in a giant winter malaise.

Yesterday turned out to be a perfectly rotten day even when it had gotten off to such a promising start. We were up and running again at a decent time, school work got accomplished, dishes were washed, but somehow by 2 in the afternoon I was completely done. Done with the disciplining, the asking people to listen 500 times, the talking, the noise, the questions every five minutes, done. Done, done, done.

I pretty much lost it, I stormed out of my mom's house and put everyone to bed, unkind words were said, frustration won out. Then of course came the spiralling out of control of my thoughts. I start wondering if I have deep-seated unhappiness, if I'm doing everything wrong, if I'm living the wrong life, if we're living in the wrong place, if I'm drastically off-base in my daily routine. Then, a skewed look at reality; I've got five babies all under the age of reason and its impossible to go anywhere. Not only is it a million degrees below freezing out and requires hours of effort to get us all out the door by myself, but two of them can't walk on their own and/or need to be constantly supervised, the others need what feels like constant discipline and correction and guidance, and where would we even go? We live so far from civilization and/or real friends it becomes a day trip going out for a few hours. And let's not forget the baby who's still nursing.

One thing I'm not good at is imagining any other stage than the one me and my kids are currently in right this second. Maybe I'm just not goal oriented enough, or imaginative enough, or hopeful enough, but I can't possibly imagine a time when they'll all be able to dress themselves, or cross the street, or be able to stop fighting with each other for longer than 4 minutes. I mean, sure, eventually they'll become adults and hopefully have learned those things, maybe through some trial and error, and maybe some of them will move away to different cities so that I will no longer hear their bickering, but honestly, I just can't imagine what that would be like!

Then I start to wonder if this can all be solved and all should be solved. Maybe this is a symptom of things I'm doing wrong, of choices we've made that are all wrong. We should move somewhere with people. But that would mean moving away from my parents who are really the only ones I can call on whenever this stuff hits the fan, anytime, day in day out. Sure, friends would be nice, but would I constantly depend on them like my parents? Maybe I'm just way too co-dependent in the first place? Maybe I just need more gumption and energy and just get out of the house more? Even to the play groups nearby with people I have zero things in common with. Would that all be worth it? Would that somehow help me avoid these awful days?

I think I spiral into these crazy thoughts because most of the time I'm fairly even-keeled. Most of the time I don't mind everything even when the tough gets going. I find it very hard to believe that God would want me to completely change my life which 99.9% of the time goes amazingly well because of a couple bad days. I don't think he bullies us into things through discouragement and anxiety and freaking out. Actually in all of my experience of the things which were most certainly what God wanted, they were always there in the back of my mind in times of calmness and regularity.

But it is tough going. It's tough having five kids most of whom are very, very small and very, very dependent. I feel in dangerous stereotype territory when I can't get out of the house. I feel as if I'm right smack dab in the middle of the dreaded and awful life of motherhood that everyone is viciously and steadfastly terrified of and sworn to never have happen to them. The truth is that its not a horrible life but a horrible couple days. The truth of the matter, however, is that this may be my toughest winter. I may have to dig deep and just get through this one alive. This is the winter where I'm going to have a baby, a two year old, a four year old, a five year old and a six year old. By next winter everyone will be a year older and doing completely different things. Hopefully all my children will be independent movers! Maybe a seven year old will be able to help a three year old! Maybe I'll be able to leave them all for more than two hours! Maybe I'll even have the gift of perspective and marvel at my own survival skills - that is, if I make it out of this one alive.

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  1. I really wish I could drive up and just make you some coffee and just be there =) I have no idea what your situation is like so I won't even pretend, but we've got your back and no matter the ups and big downs I know you're doing great work.

  2. We also live very close (next door!) to my parents and far away from most everyone else. I have these same thoughts constantly- am I too dependent on them? Do we ask them for too much help? Should we move and would that really make us feel like "real" adults? etc. etc. So hard to find a good balance there.

  3. Christy, I've had days like these...lots of them. Prayers the sunshine finds you soon. :)

    Love in Christ,

  4. I am right where you are on all of this. I totally get it. However we live provinces away from family and let me tell you that I think the trade off of having parents close by is huge. I never feel like I can call on friends to bail me out of a bad day or to even ask them for any help really. I am sure it is super hard to live isolated from people but I don't know that the trade off would be any better. Your reality is like mine - it is very hard and often not worth loading up a bunch of kids by yourself just to get out of the house for a playdate or whatever. We are not meant to do this alone.

  5. January is tough. I've been feeling lonely and a bit stir crazy, too, and it's got to be easier for me to get out! Hope you get to recharge soon so everything gets easier to handle... And if you add a nip of Bailey's to your coffee in the morning, I'm not judging. ;)

  6. You can do it! I'm rooting for you!

    Go back and read Jen Fulwiler's "Survival Mode" post and follow steps one through all of them. Just do what keeps you going for now.

    1. P.S. The winter I spent in Wales was the first and last time I ever visited a tanning salon. Because I _needed_, no _craved_, the sun. Just five minutes in the UV rays improved my mood greatly. Is there any way you could escape to one nearby?

  7. Oh Christy, I wish I was your Canadian neighbor because we would pile our kids in one of our family rooms and drink wine and watch British period pieces on and talk about books and politics and also watch home improvement shows. And paint each other's nails? Okay, that got weird… but I second the recommendation to get thee to a tanning salon. When I lived in Ohio (not nearly as arctic as your tundra, but bad enough for a Colorado girl) a friend and I had designated "S.A.D. Mondays" (you know, seasonal affective disorder?) which involved leaving work 30 min early to go to a nearby tanning salon for some Vitamin D infusing and then to happy hour at Damon's, a truly disgusting hotel bar. $15 later we were in a much happier place mentally and physically :)

  8. I think when my babies are crying.... if I am tired, imagine how much more tired they are?! ha! But seriously, it can be so hard to do what is necessary as mamas, and I'm as guilty as the next person.

  9. Winter is so tough. You are lucky to have your mom and dad near by. You can't depend on them too much! This phase will pass. You are amazing for doing what you do. You should be proud of yourself. Lack of vitamin D is such a crappy thing. I often wish for another mom that will come over and watch tv and let the kids play and drink wine and all that great stuff. Jenny that sounds like a dream! All of us moms should pray for each other during this season.

  10. Aren't you so over hearing people say "oh you just need to get out more", as if that's a viable option? Going places during the day with th kids (all of them) is not just difficult, it's not safe! No one person could handle all of the kids effectivly enough to make it enjoyable for them and worth the extreme effort it would take. Validation is the best medicine for me when I get in a slump, which happens like twice a day! Winters are HARD when you can't say "go outside!!!"

  11. I have no advice, but man, do I know that spiral. The best thing about January is that it eventually becomes February. Hang in there, Christy!

  12. You said it. Winter with small people is just hard. I have no advice, just an emphatic "Me too."

  13. Oh my friend, as a woman who is experiencing her first winter away from both sides of the family who like to dote on their grandbabies, never ever EVER feel guilty about counting on your parents for help and support.

    It's impossible not to feel completely caged in with the ridiculous amounts of snow and the subarctic temperatures. I am consoling myself that the days are already getting slightly longer, and that the time change will happen before Lent begins this year, so the extra hours of daylight will make me feel less like a crazed hermit, and thus Lent will be less dreary.

  14. Thank you for being so open and honest, I wish we could be neighbors. Winter will end someday but in the meantime I will keep reading your blog and feeling like I have a friend, even if it is just in my imagination. :)

  15. Thanks for this real post! Wish we could curl up next to a fire and vent!


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