Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's a Stressful Life

During our drive home, my daughter Mel requires a snack. So every day, I have to bring a bag of chips, some crackers, or whatever leftover baked goods were lying around the nursing station for her to nosh on during the ten minute drive home. Sometimes I'll get something extra yummy and I'll be excited to see how happy she is. She even brags about the snack to her friends. "My mommy always has a snack for me in the car."

Yesterday I purchased a little cup of custard for her from the hospital cafeteria. I have always been a fan of custard and I thought she was going to love it. I expected lots of thanks and hugs and a happy drive home.

When Mel got into the car, I presented her with the custard cup. She looked excited and asked me to open it. She took one bite. "I don't like it," she said. "It tastes bad."

I tasted the custard and she was right. It tasted like cardboard.

"Can I have something else?" she asked.

Usually I keep an emergency snack pack of Skittles in my pocket, but I had recently changed coats, so I had nothing else to offer her. "Sorry, honey," I said. "We'll have a snack at home."

"But I'm SO HUNGRY!!!!" she wailed. "I'm going to get a rumbleache!"

"Well, what would you like me to do??" I retorted.

She didn't have an answer, but continued to sob as I strapped Baby into her carseat. I recently purchased a new coat for Baby and overestimated her size, so she's basically floating in this comically large pink coat. And because we're frightened into making the carseat straps ridiculously tight, Baby was screaming by the time I had her secured.

I started the car with both kids crying in the back seat. My blood pressure felt like it was a million over a billion. I considered maybe stopping for fast food on the way back, but really, the only stop I wanted to make was at my OB/GYN to get sterilized.

I don't like stress. Stress stresses me out. While I adore my kids more than anything, it would be so nice to be able to take one shower without someone busting in on me and asking when I'll be done. It would be nice to spend a whole day in bed getting to do whatever I want to do. Something like that feels selfish, even decadent, to me now.

For a brief time, I was trying to do some meditation to help me relax, but in general, I just couldn't find 10 quiet, uninterrupted minutes in my whole day to do it.

The crazy thing is, I don't think I have that much more stress than the average mom. Yes, I work, but lots of moms work. Yes, I have two small kids, but I know lots of working moms who have three or four small kids.

Maybe we're all giant balls of stress. There's this woman I always see at the daycare who comes to pick up her three year old and her twin toddlers, and she always looks so miserable. Is it just a given that when you're a working mom of small kids, you're going to be constantly stressed out? Will I just not be able to relax for another 4-5 years?

24 comments:

  1. Try the meditation at work...I put a sign on my office door...

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Will I just not be able to relax for another 4-5 years?"

    You've got it. You are now on 24-hour patrol and as you suggest - it will be another half a dozen years before you will be able to rest for a minute. For which you will be exceedingly grateful.

    Aren't kids fun ?~!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Christie: I did consider that, although these days I'm often racing to get to daycare on time as it. I doubt I'd be able to relax enough to meditate with that in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I only have one child, but the car screaming particularly stresses me out! Like tachycardic, short of breath level stress! My husband can just drive right through it looking totally content!

    ReplyDelete
  5. when they start yelling in the car, mama yells back. :) (only half kidding)

    ReplyDelete
  6. for the future, buy a bunch of granola bars, fruit snacks, crackers, etc and stick them in the trunk.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I once knocked a passenger side rear view mirror off my car when the kids were screaming in the back. Now I get mad when they bicker. Then there are mornings like this one, where they are singing and dancing (miming the words hysterically) along to the music, and cracking each other up. It makes it worth it. No, you don't get to relax, but in a few years, they will get reasoning better, and that makes it easier.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I had a friend who had an early memory of being a kid fighting in the back of the car with her brother, and her mother pulled the car over and just started sobbing. I remind myself of that story when I feel overwhelmed, as a reminder that everyone feels that way sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think we need an "It gets better" campaign for mothers of young children. It is SO hard and it DOES get better. My kids are 8 and 10 and I like parenting them so much more than when they were little. There are of course things I miss from their tiny little days but in general, I'm way less stressed now than I was before.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am 33 weeks pregnant and sometimes I secretly wish I were put on bedrest. I wouldn't have to deal with my toddler, residency, washing dishes - with a valid excuse.

    ReplyDelete
  11. it's probably a terrible thing to say, but they won't remember those moments. they cry from frustration, hunger, to get attention, etc, but as long as they are loved (which i know they are) they'll be fine. so feel free to try to tune them out (not that i'm any good at it)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can so relate. I'm a family physician with a 3 and 6 year old. I actually feel more relaxed in the clinic than at home. But yes, it does get better. So hang in there...

    ReplyDelete
  13. It DOES get better, although it is worse in other ways. Mine are older - 17, 14, 12. I do sometimes - not always - get to take a shower without being interrupted. And work as a full time gynecologist is definitely my easiest hours of the day. But they are awesome and SO worth it :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have a 7.5 month old and 2 year old twins. I feel like I am at a breaking point multiple times in the day. Their fighting and crying especially in the car makes my heart race and break into a full on sweat. Dealing with tough patients in the ER or delivery room is way easier to deal with than the everyday of raising my hooligans!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes, you will be unable to relax for about another 5-6 years.The life of the working mother with small children makes a squirrel cage look relaxing. But it does get better. Eventually they grow up and leave home.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Consider grandparents babysitting 24/7 for a week or so at a time while you take a vacation. Surprisingly for me it was my grandmother who did that. With my own mother though, no matter how passionately I complained that I do not have a moment to use a bathroom, and they both do not sleep through the night (ages 6 and 8 at the time), alas, her answer was silence on the phone. I am not sure, but I might be getting PTSD symptoms with nightmares about me in the bathroom not being fast enough and screaming or crying in the background somewhere in another room. I love your "stress stresses me out". I will be quoting this now.Can't agree with above poster though. I would not want to be empty nested. They are purporse of my life and keep me going. There is so much at every stage, and we plan things - education/fun together. It is so deeply rewarding to see your efforts pay off. And when my 6 yo told me : "If I grow up and become rich I will still love you" Mmm, those sweet melting moments.
    MomDoc

    ReplyDelete
  17. I used to feel this way and then I discovered the beauty of hiring a college student to do the daycare pick ups and get dinner rolling for me. It eliminates the frantic last part of the day freak out where I am usually cursing under my breath saying, oh crap, I can't believe I have to see a patient with a problem that takes 40 minutes and they were scheduled at 4:40 and how in the world am I supposed to make it to two different pick ups and get home and then feed my kids something nutritious when I just feel like I need to collapse sensation. I really wish I would have done this years ago!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm so thankful to have stumbled upon this blog! Reading all these shared experiences has lightened my isolated stressed head . as a resident with a teething 5mo and a cheeky 2yo.. I'm thankful for this blog, for iPhones in the car, for playschool, for bedtime, for wine and coffee, for tickling and cuddles, for a husband and for faith, but still I'm thinking of throwing in the medical towel is the stress worth it?

    ReplyDelete
  19. As I read your post I am hiding out in my call room at the hospital working on a journal club talk, but also enjoying the chance to drink a cup of tea without being interrupted every five minutes. It's actually been lovely. Now I'm excited to go home and see the little monkeys and get some hugs and snuggle time and be pestered about what's for dinner. Sometimes everybody just need a little time to recharge however they can get it. Of course now that I've said all this, the pager will probably proceed to go off every five minutes and interrupt in worse fashion than my kids ever could!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Stress is not a good sign, if we want to live healthy and happy. So don't let stress heavy on you. Do meditation, you will live a better life.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Can't you use a bit of discipline? It sounds like she's spoiled.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Just an FYI, the baby shouldn't be wearing a coat at all in the car seat. You can't get it tight enough with the coat on.

    Just put her in the car seat and put the coat on backwards over the buckled carseat.

    The only way you can have a coat on a kid in a harness is to first buckle the baby in without the coat and tighten it appropriately. Then remove the baby and DO NOT ADJUST THE STRAPS. Put the coat on and the baby back in. If you can buckle it over the coat without adjusting the straps, it's okay. If you cannot, it's too loose and baby could fly out even in a relatively minor crash.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I keep looking at the post I wrote, and I can't find the part where I asked for obnoxious advice from busybodies.

    ReplyDelete
  24. So happy to find this blog! I spent the last decade alone trying to keep up my skills and be a perfect mommy to 4. I so worry that you only have one chance to raise them right, but I am so tired from the job and have limited energy to give at home. Who understands this life besides we doctor moms?

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. There may be a delay between submitting your comment and its publishing. Thanks for commenting!