Saturday, October 11, 2008

Convicted

Anytime my posting here on the blog becomes sporadic or non-existent, you can bet that I am either not here, sick, or stressed out. Over the last week or so these four precious children,
big sis,

and her little cohorts,

have been making me crazy almost non-stop. I have been so stressed out over their behavior, sleeping habits or lack thereof, and the terrible way that they eat that at times I find it incredibly difficult to take a deep breath.... Can you say stressed out?!?

I have also been coming to grips with the fact that my only connection to Scott is through the internet... oh, AT&T you have me so spoiled. I am used to being able to "reach out and touch someone." That someone being Scott. Now, I have to send an email and wait for him to respond or call. This little frustration is worthy of a blog post unto itself, but it is definitely adding to the stress levels around here. Maybe another day....

Anyway, last night, after a particularly trying evening with Ella and then an unusually difficult time getting Maggie, Kate, and Sarah to sleep, I finally ended up falling asleep sitting in the rocking chair in their room at about 10:15pm. After a couple minutes I woke with a start and looked up to find all three pairs of little eyes staring right at me. In that moment I was convicted.

Convicted because I realized that if they are eating terribly, I am the only one to blame. Convicted because if they are sleeping poorly, it is most likely a result of a mommy inflicted crazy schedule. Convicted because if their behavior is not the kind that makes me proud, I am the one responsible for "training them up in the way that they should go." They look to me to guide and direct them; they feed off of my stress and my fears.

Clearly, the problem is not theirs. They are good, no, great kids! Don't worry, I won't take this pity party any farther. I realize that I'm a good mother. I know that I am incredibly blessed to have four healthy, happy, adorable little girls. I just can't for the life of me figure out why I can't make myself get enough sleep to be able to deal with these turkeys effectively during their many waking hours.

Just like them, I fight sleep even when I know I'm tired. I wonder if I stay up because I require an inordinately great amount of "me" time and don't get much of that during the day? I wonder if I stay up because Scott isn't here to snuggle up to, or alert me to the fact that it is getting late and time to go to bed? Surely these things are minor issues that I could work out on my own, right? Wrong!

I have a couple of different outings coming up that are just for me. I'll be getting out with old friends for dinner soon and have a weekend away with some other triplet moms that I'm looking forward to early next month. I'm also hoping that some exercise will help with both the stress and the sleeping issues. I'm going to sign up at the YMCA next week. But beyond that I don't really know what else to try.

So, I'm asking for your suggestions, not for my adorable girls who sometimes eat, sleep, or behave poorly, but for their mother who needs to relax a little bit and get some sleep herself. How do you other mothers deal with the teeny, tiny amount of time that you have to yourselves to unwind at the end of every day?

14 comments:

Brandi said...

I don't have any suggestions, because I'm kinda in the same boat as you. Even though I only have one child and my husband isn't deployed to the other side of the world, I still stay up way later than I should, I think you're right about the "me" time part. And I desperately need to start exercising more since my energy is starting to come back. So while I can't really help with advice, I want you to know that you've inspired me to start taking better care of myself too, because if you can do it with four than surely I can handle it with one. Thanks for being so honest in your blog, it's really what I needed to hear too.

Misty said...

i am right there with you. I did the same thing when Beau was in China and have not been able to break it. It also doesn't help that he goes to sleep when they do, so I still feel like I'm alone. I think of you often. When people ask me how I do it, I always tell them I have it easy compared to some I know like you with Scott deployed.
I don't know what advice to offer, but just to let you know that you are not alone, you are a great mommy, and when you are doing it alone, you do need more of the "me" time.
Take care,
Misty

keira said...

Seeing as how I'm writing this comment at 1:15 in the morning...I can't say I can dispense any advice. Although, on occasion, one Ambien will do the trick, but I have to plan ahead for a night like that where I have to force myself into bed by 9!

Sammy'smommy said...

I only have two children, and am so often in need of ME time that the best thing I can do for myself is a long hot shower or bath once they are asleep. (bath is the preference depending on the exhaustion level) I work 30hrs a week (nights) and take care of my two during the day. To say I am exhausted would be an understatement. But a bath truly helps my body to relax and sometimes my brain slows down enought tht I can sleep. good luck and God bless. Hey if you figure it out let us all know:-)
PS I pray for your family and husband often

Tara said...

oh goodness. You honesty is really great and that is the first step is to acknowledge that you need time too. I stink at it too but I simply can not imagine doing it with four. All I know is that this has been the longest year of my life not having Cope around to vent to when needed. If your anything like me I can go several days juggling it all then the tinest thing happens and I melt down. I'm wishing for you all much more peacefulness in the days ahead. Oh, my favorite thing to do when I get a few hours alone is to go the movies by myslef and veg out on popcorn and coke.

Cadi, Lance and our 4 miracles. said...

I also like to stay up later than everyone else (partly because I am a night owl) to watch a little TV or read blogs all by myself. I then take a sleeping pill (which doesn't knock me out enough that I can't get up with the kids if I need to).

Talking about how they are driving you crazy though brings to mind something I realized this past week. Since I have been working again, I feel so much more sane. I've realized that the past 2 years (even though I love my kids tremendously and wanted to be the one to raise them) they have literally been sucking the life out of me. Toddlers are hard. They don't eat well, sleep well, or listen very well most of the time. Take that times 4. Its a wonder that your not applying padding to your walls and ordering straight jackets. Plus you don't have your sidekick (Scott) to come in and save the day. So, yes, time away is what I recommend. You will appreciate them so much more. At least I know I do.

Triplet Mama said...

Oh I totally hear you! Every now and then we too get in to a rut that is not too pleasant (and I totally agree that it all stems from me, me & my husband)...what I've tried lately is A) get plenty of snuggle time with the kids B) Drinking big cups of fragrant decaf chai tea with honey and milk at night while under a snuggly blanket watching something absolutely meaningless but wonderful, like 4 weddings & a funeral...
Once the kids are in bed I do not lift a finger. That's my rule and everyone knows it. I'd rather clean and do dishes at 6 in the morning than at night.
Also, make sure you're in bed by 10:30 at the latest, you just never know when the little ones will wake up - as I'm sure you know - so make sure you get enough sleep.
HUGS!!!

Jessica Bell said...

Well, I have been feeling the same thing latley. Usually I just tell Lawson and he lets me have a couple hours to shop or something, but that somehow hasn't solved my fix to be alone, for me. I think for me it's b/c I can't run or bike right now b/c I have an injured foot AHHH! Exercise it such a great release that when I am finished with a good, hard, sweaty workout, I am just happy when I come home. And when Lawson was deployed I had a great program with daycare to go and exercise. It also makes me go to sleep earlier. I have been meaning to respond to your comment about wanting to get started. I would suggest using some of Scott's hard earned money to buy a treadmill. I don't know how else to do it with 4girls. Oh and when I am feeling like you are right now... I usually say to myself, "Marybeth has 4 and she's alone, so I can do it with 2 and a husband." You are great, just find your outlet.

Whitney said...

What a great post about real life! We all feel this way (very often!). I admire you for doing all you do with Scott so far away. You are doing the right thing in getting some "you" time. I find getting out for pedicures, massages, coffee with friends, whatever (even if it is only 30 minutes) makes a huge difference in my attitude. It you want to meet halfway for lunch one day, let me know!

Candace said...

Hey, glad to know I'm not alone!! It's at least 9:30 when we've been getting our little ones down at night, and 11:30 before I'm down.

I feel bad keeping hubby up (though he doesn't always stay up - such as now he's sleeping in the recliner), but I NEED that quiet peaceful time to mentally unwind.

I'm sure I'd cope better with a little more sleep - but the computer world, writing and reading, is my outlet.

But you are right on one point for sure - how they act is based on Mommy. When I can't get my act together, they can't either.

But being pregnant right now, I'm unable to find my grip anywhere - hoping to get it SOON!!

You guys can always come back out this way for a visit. :)

Kim said...

Right there with ya-MB. Wish I had a cure all for all of us. Everywhere I turn I get the "Are you ok?" question. At church, work, home, grocery store.... I'm lucky Emma is sleeping at night even with crazy teeth coming in right and left, but I keep getting a God wakeup call at 2 am because that is the only time I am listening to him. Thanks to our bible study. And the stress or should I say the unknown of what He is saying is heavy enough to carry around. So as far as suggestions go, take it out on the treadmill!!!!! And thank God for the little eyes that stare you down when find yourself sleeping in the hard rocking chair in their room! And remember God's hand is over Scott and over you and your girls. We love you.

Amanda L said...

If you want a treadmill...I have a nice one that I never use. Do you want it?

Dorinda said...

I am generally up horribly late even though I *try* to go to bed earlier - for some reason it never happens!!

But one way that I keep my sanity is to have a very set nap time and bed time. I put the girls down at 12 and they don't get up till 3 regardless of whether or not they're awake. Bedtime is at 8 or 8:30 and they are in bed for 12 hours again regardless of whether they're awake or asleep. Keeps me sane, gives me a break and gives me something to look forward to because I'll know exactly when my break will come!

These are my only thoughts :) But I know it is much harder for you without Scott around to help you. I will pray that things get a little easier and feel free to e-mail anytime and vent...

danajk said...

I can tell you that there is a special place in heaven for army wives. When David is gone, I miss having my partner and my best friend. I miss just having another adult to chat with. We all miss looking forward to him coming home as a highlight of the day. I know it must be harder for you with 4, so you do need the "me" time even more. I am so glad that you have planned some special things just for you. Please know that you are not alone.