The boys are 16 months old, and for the first time, I forgot to take a photo on their month-day-turning thingy. I’d try to make up some good reason for that, but the truth is that I thought of it a couple of times during the day, but just never found myself with an opportunity to sit them down and take a photo, and oddly, not really feeling very motivated to create that moment. Oh, well. I don’t think I had any lofty goals of continuing the monthly photos forever, though it would have been fun to be sitting down with my 210-month-olds*, telling them to hug the bear for the picture (*that’s 17 1/2 years for those without calculator-brains).
As summer wound down, and we turned the corner to Fall, I found myself doing a lot of pondering on the state of things in my world. I haven’t actually had full thoughts or conclusions on any of these ponderings, so maybe I should just switch to list form:
1) If you can’t tell by my prior hippy-dippy posts, I’m not the world’s best disciplinarian. I am fond of rules, but mostly so that I know exactly where the boundaries lie and whether I feel comfortable stepping over those boundaries. I look at my boys, and 99% of the time, they’re happy, and well-behaved, and kind. But that other 1%, they are screeching, flailing, biting/shoving banshees, and I don’t know what to do about it. I bought the Happiest Toddler On The Block, but I think I need to watch the video, because my poor, idiotic, toddler-addled brain is incapable of following much of his FFR/Toddler-ese, Clap/Growl, etc., and seeing how it’s all supposed to work together. Time-outs are about to become a fact of life, but I frequently find myself feeling like I don’t really care about their various infractions. H gets wound up about them climbing on the tables, and I just don’t really care. I figure they’ll eventually fall off and either learn how to balance better, or decide not to climb up there anymore. There’s nothing that can hurt them, or that they can hurt– I just don’t care. BUT, I also recognize that dancing on the coffee table isn’t civilized behavior, and should probably be curtailed. I think I’m at a place where I just don’t know what to do.
Those of you who have already surfed this wave (or for those who are starting to get there yourselves), what has worked for you? Any particular methods you like? I’m stupidly jealous of moms that seem to have it together in this area. It’s hard.
2) Oh, money, money. Lately, I find myself getting increasingly incensed that I’ll probably be paying off my student loans for the rest of my life. The interest alone is several hundred dollars monthly, and we are barely scraping by as it is, so it really looks as though the principal will never be touched. I love getting to raise my boys, and I don’t think I could bear to put them in daycare (it’s a personal thing with me, having worked in a daycare– I’ve just been scarred by it, and can’t imagine risking that my child would end up in a situation like what I saw in my workplace). But at the same time, I know that a lot of our financial difficulties would be significantly eased if I were working. Of course, if I were working, we’d really need a second car, and I’d no longer be in unemployment-deferment with my student loans, so I might actually be worse off after paying insurance, car payment, loans, day care, etc. It just feels overwhelming sometimes.
I admit to feeling jealous when I read other people complaining about financial circumstances, because most of the time, I know we are probably worse off, and that it’s my fault that we are.
3) That said, I keep coming up with all new ways to deplete our savings account. Oh, how I want a Kindle Fire (and hey! I got exactly $200 in birthday money from my MIL, but yeah, that had to go to floating our overspending last month. YAY for doctor bills!). And the boys desperately need new car seats, but DAMN, they are expensive when you’re buying two at once. I’d love to put them in preschool once a week, but again, two at once is cost-prohibitive on our budget. It’d be great to be able to join the Y or something similar– I need a way to exercise more often without neglecting the boys, but in order to use the free childcare, the “family” monthly fee is outrageous. I’d love to travel more often, but even filling up the gas tank has become a major budget consideration, much less a plane ticket and/or hotel costs. And, you know, maybe I’d like to have another kid someday. Maybe. But I hear they’re pretty expensive, too. (of course, both sets of grandparents have made it clear that girl grandchildren are the ones that really count, so maybe they’d chip in some more if I managed to produce the coveted female heir… not that they don’t adore the boys, but my MIL at least has made clear that she’d LOVE a granddaughter…)
H has recently begun to acknowledge frequently that my “job” is ridiculously hard (does he finally get it, or is he just finally getting that I need to hear him say that he gets it?). And has acknowledged that I really need a break. And fully supports me in whatever way he can, by watching the boys for an hour when he gets home from work so that I get a break at the end of my long day, and by doing lots of chores around the house that I just don’t get around to while watching them. And he says often how I deserve these things I want (travel, gym membership, Kindle thingy, etc.), but we both know the reality is that those things are outside of our means right now. “Breaks” cost money– a sitter, a pre-school, the cost of a movie ticket or a massage or whatever. We can afford some of those things some of the time, but lately, other things take priority (like specialist co-pays which have doubled in the last year. Yikes.) And even if there were a way to raise the funds to get those more expensive items, we both know that those funds could really be used much more beneficially on other, more practical things.
So whatever. I guess I’ve just been feeling some jealousy lately that people can afford to do and have things that I can’t. And that’s not me. I try really hard not to be so damn materialistic, so needy, so constantly wanting– I already have so much stuff, more stuff than I could use in a lifetime, more than I ever really need–, but when I’m physically and emotionally exhausted from caring for twin toddlers, and my doctor chirpily suggests getting a massage for my back pain, it makes me want to cry, because that’s just out of the question right now.
4) Which brings us to the chronic back pain I’ve been dealing with that has just gotten worse and worse and worse over the last year. I finally went as far as to get cortisone injections in my hip/butt (BIG progesterone-in-oil shot flashback while up on the table… shiver…), and it provided relief for a week or two, but the pain came back worse afterward. Some mornings, I wake up and I don’t know how I’ll stand up, much less make it through a day of caring for babies. I’m at the highest dose of vic.odin that I can take, and I’ve become almost immune to it’s effects, and there’s not much else I can take while the boys are still nursing (not that they nurse all that often, but the 2-3 times a day that they do, they demand it!). It’s just one more thing that feels overwhelming. I’m jealous that other moms are able to function throughout their day without wincing in pain while chasing their kids. I’m jealous of other moms who can actually just hop out the door and go for a run without thinking twice about it (running used to help immensely with my back pain, but around two months ago, it went from helping to hurting, so I’ve stopped running. Which makes me terribly sad, since it’s one of the few things that keeps me feeling sane.)
So basically, I’m one huge lump of jealousy, and I’m jealous of stupid things. I have so much. I know I have so much. I have these two amazing babies that I waited forever to have, that I went through insane, invasive procedures to have. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with them. But lately, it just gets harder and harder to focus on what I have, to focus inward. I just feel trapped in this cycle of outward focus, worrying about myself in comparison to others, and wanting so badly to have these things, these abilities, that I don’t have, that I may never have.
More than anything, though, I find myself jealous of people who have family close by. I may not have always gotten along with my mother, but there’s no doubt that my parents love my boys. With visits from both my parents and H’s mom this month, it’s driven home to us how different our lives with the boys would be were we not living across the country from all of them. But sadly, it’s just not feasible for H to find a job closer to any of them. I wish he could, but in his line of work, jobs are scarce, and GOOD jobs are all but non-existent. That he has a great job in a department full of great people, AND that it’s a job he loves? All of those things combine to make it a terrible idea for him to even consider taking a job somewhere else, even if he could find another with the same status and stability and pay, etc.
So what about you? What aspects of your life hide that little green envy monster? Or are you gloriously above all that, able to be completely happy with what you have and where you are?
P.S. Do you vaccinate your kids? If not, why not? How do you feel about people who choose not to vaccinate? I pretty much feel that if you choose not to vaccinate, you should take yourself out of society, and go live in isolation with others who choose not to vaccinate. (I guess that tells you where I stand) I found out recently that this woman in my playgroup did not vaccinate her child and was “100% okay” with her decision, because she thought about it “a lot” and “researched things” and then, she … PRAYED… about it, which somehow, I guess, makes risking the health of my family okay. You know, she prayed. And God told her it was right to refuse to prevent disease and potentially spread it among society, and to risk the health of tiny, unvaccinated babies and fetuses, too, because whooping cough or rubella or chicken pox or whatever might not be a big deal to her kid, but could kill/injure others. But God said it was okay, because God didn’t want her to risk her son becoming autistic, because I guess God must’ve reached in and screwed around with the results of scientific study after study debunking the myth that vaccines cause autism, because he WANTED more parents to give their children autism. Huh?
P.P.S. Can’t end on that note, so here are some gratuitous photos of cute babies!
And a short video:
How do I know they’re German? They dance to the beat of the vacuum and then applaud when it’s over. They appreciate a clean floor, and the sounds of a vacuum make them very happy. Weirdos!