Sad times

I’m writing this from the floor of my bathroom, crying, as my family is enjoying the dinner I prepared down in the kitchen. I’m falling apart. It’s not even the first time today that I’ve cried. It’s a bad day. Sad times.

Today I feel like a total failure. As a mother, as an educator, as a wife, as a friend, and as a daughter. I don’t feel like I can do anything right. I can’t get my kids to do their homeschooling work. I can’t get them to treat me with more respect. I can’t get the to clean up after themselves. I can’t get them to get along. I can’t get them to cooperate. I can’t get them to even just go outside long enough to give me a freaking break! However, what I do get, is ‘advice’ from everyone who isn’t stuck at home with the two of them. I keep hearing ‘why can’t you just throw them outside?’ And ‘just take away their technology, then they have to no choice!’ These are so very helpful, let me tell you (as I sneer sarcastically).

I can’t seem to get them to do anything productive most days. They do some math work with me on Monday’s. They have an hour coding class Tuesday and Friday. Then they have online math tutoring for an hour Wednesday’s and Thursdays. That’s all I can get out of them and even that is exhausting! The youngest one (8.5 yo) mouths off and talks back at every opportunity. He has ADHD and he’s been off his meds almost since the beginning of this pandemic because it was making his anxiety so very bad. His doctor told us to try meds again in the fall when school starts up again. He’s very loving and demonstrative but he’s hyper and can be violent because he is so impulsive. I can’t reign him in and now I’m positive that he has other learning disabilities as well. I can’t talk to him because he ‘knows’ everything, he’s smarter than me and he gets super frustrated very quickly. But he’s also quick to give hugs for no reason and if he sees your lap, he crawls into it before you know it for a cuddle. It’s super confusing to be with him!

My older ten year old is better but hormonally she is going off the deep end at a moment’s notice and won’t do anything that her brother isn’t also doing. He won’t do language? Then she won’t either. Again, it’s a yelling match, with foot stomping and door slamming. I can’t take it. She also has tremendous anxiety and poor self esteem.

I’m failing them by not pushing them harder, academically, and having more expectations of them. You see, my severe anxiety and depression is getting in the way of me living and of me effectively parenting.

Sad again

Never have I felt so unloved and disrespected by my family. To feel so devalues and alone in a house of four. I feel more like a place saver who does the job that is required rather than a mother or wife. These are very hard times for everyone and I am so sick of feeling so crappy all the time. Letting everything get to me. I seriously considered leaving today. Maybe not permanently but for a while. I can’t take it. Being ordered around by my kids. Given advice by friends and family on what I should be doing right when they don’t see what I deal with. Being ignore by my spouse or only needed when it’s convenient to him. I feel like crap. Had two tantrums today so I could get away from them all. My house has become a prison I’m shackled to rather than a refuge. Fights to get my kids to learn. Fights and nitpicking by my kids. Criticism by my eldest. Demands to feed them constantly in a rude manner. No appreciation at all. If there is it is all talk and not meant. Sometimes I wish I was the Tinman without a heart to feel anything.

New Beginnings

I hope everyone is doing well, or as well as can be. I have started a few new things this pandemic. Let me tell you about them!

I drink one or two mugs of decaf tea later in the day/evening. It’s a comfort thing and I do this during the colder months. Once the nice weather comes in, I trade it for coolers. 😆 I have since started drinking out of my fancy china teacup and saucer! I inherited this Aynsley set from my mother in burgundy. Her mother also has the same set in navy, which will go to my youngest brother when he moves out. I figure, I’m drinking the tea anyhow, no reason not to go fancy just because we’re housebound. 😝

Another ‘new’ for me is learning how to play the piano! We have an electric piano from my inlaws, the same one my husband and his brother learned to play on, in our living room. The kids bang on the keys a few times a year for fun but that’s been the extent of its use. Well, now it’s being used! Other than a C note not working, it plays fine. We’ll take care of that key once the social distancing has stopped. 😉 I have all their old piano books so I grabbed level one/intro to piano and I’m learning every single day! Frustrating as anything, especially with my poor memory, concentration and slower reflexes. I enjoy the successes I find (baby steps!) and I know when I need a break and walk away for a while. I just wished my fingers were a little longer. 😂

One more ‘new’ for me is the baking. Allllll the baking! Ever since my concussion, I have pretty much given up baking. I hated the task and everything that came with it. Baking was too big a task for me. It’s hard to follow a recipe. Cleanup SUCKS. Remembering ingredients/timing is not gonna happen. So other than a few things over the past few years, I’ve given it up. However, since this COVID-19 home bound experience, I bake every week. Sometimes more than once a week! It’s insane!! I can’t say that I’m enjoying it like I use to. Plus, we will all weigh twenty pounds more when it’s all over. But I am baking! I’ve tried baking Instant Pot bread, many muffins, banana bread, and as of today, cinnamon rolls! I think I’m impressed with myself! My family seems to enjoy the fruits of my labour, even if they don’t usually help out. I feel like I’m washing the dishes a billion times a day now anyhow, so what’s a few more pots and pans?

Other than a few more crafts, painting (ack!) and puzzles, the kids stick to their (technical) devices and I spend the day arranging other activities and academics around them. We still have our home schedule to follow, with crafts, quiet time, chores, and daily vigorous activity. We now have online learning from the board (aka worksheets) and now the kids are doing a coding program and math tutoring all online. We have our weekdays filled and they go by pretty quickly. It’s the weekends that seem endless since we don’t have any programs or activities.

So how are you keeping busy during the quarantine?? 🌹

Quarantine Day 23

It’s funny how one day slips into another. Knowing the current day of the week is mostly meaningless but the kids and I usually insist on knowing (it’s Sunday, by the way). Not much has changed in Ontario. A few more businesses were taken off of the essentials list. Numbers are climbing still (positive COVID-19 cases, death rates and recovery rates). At this point, even though the ministry has said they are hoping schools will reopen May 1 (it’s currently April 5th), I’m not hopeful. I’m pretty sure we will lose the remainder of the year. It will be an indefinite closure of schools and businesses. Some top Canadian doctors are saying this will continue until the summer. Ugh. I can’t even process this.

So far, we seem to be fairing well-ish. We have a week day routine in place. My eldest appreciates and blooms with routine and expectations. My youngest is having a harder time with it. He fights me on everything and anything. He misses his friends so much. I try to put him in touch with his closest friends but it’s not working. He wants to be left alone, watch tv, and play video games. I don’t feel like I can do this, I can’t just let my eight year old turn to mush. So we butt heads. A lot. To the point of tears on some days. We had such a bad fight this week, I couldn’t stay in the same room as him at bedtime. He was so hurtful and insulting. I didn’t do right by him that day. I let my emotions get the best of me. I wasn’t there for him in the way he wanted. I couldn’t figure out what he wanted from me, to be honest. It ended with him telling me that he shouldn’t have been born, he should end his life, and everyone will be happier for it. I was beside myself with sadness and fear. My husband had to come in and deal with us both. I cried myself to sleep. No wonder I have had two migraines back to back this weekend. We have since dialed back on the expectations we have for him. We don’t push him as much. He does seem happier with that. We have made up, made peace, and feel joy again with each other. Darkest moment of my life.

Schooling continues to be at home. I have exercise books and the internet. I’m doing what I can to keep them engaged for a short duration each day. Starting Monday, the board will start taking back some of the educational aspect of home schooling. We don’t quite know what that will look like, but it seems that teachers are scrambling to get content to the kids and then the kids have a week to do the work assigned. I’m not sure how teaching is going to look yet. They don’t have online discussions yet via webinars. It’s just posted info at this point. But it’s the first week and things will evolve. This is an experiment for all of us. On the bright side, my daughter is learning how to type and she and I are learning how to play the piano now! Both kids have also started a coding program online, which is a ‘live’ teaching format, and they both have started working with math tutors online in a ‘live’ format as well!

On to some other good news, the weather is improving and I’m trying to get the kids outside at least once a day. Every day, I walk around my gardens and I love the growth that I’m starting to see. My snowdrop flowers have finished blooming but my tulips, iris and daffodils are starting to grow! Spring is definitely here. The birds are chirping more and more. The sun comes out. Some days we can go out in sweatshirts instead of coats. I’ve put away most of our winter gear! It’s almost time for Easter/Passover. Hope is coming to us in the form of nature and I love it!

We miss our families. We have been using FaceTime to chat with my parents, grandmother and brothers for our usual Friday night dinners that we are missing. My kids text them regularly too. It’s so sweet. We call my inlaws often. I email them with photos of the kids almost daily. It we miss the physical closeness of it. We drove to my mom’s on the weekend. We haven’t been in the car in weeks and it was weird! The bought some supplies for us, so we did a porch pickup and we chatted with them through the dining room window. I almost cried. My grandmother teared up. Then we did the same with my inlaws. They stood on the porch and we spoke to them from the driveway. My mother in law looked emotional. This is taking a big mental health hit on everyone. It’s very hard. I try texting my friends every once in a while to check in. I even mailed out hand written cards to a few of them, just letting them know that they are not forgotten. They loved it and most even sent a card back to me!

I’ve been baking a lot lately. Going through a lot of flour, sugar and eggs. I tried my hand at Instant Pot bread. Not one of my finest moments. 😆 But it was edible. I bake every few days and I’m sure when this is all over, I’ll be twenty pounds heavier! My son has trouble with the food situation. He knows I can’t run to the store and pickup what he wants but he insists on eating his go-to foods. He has always been a lucky eater and the ADHD meds he’s on makes it worse. Many of our fights stem from food. We have stopped his meds when the whole issue blew up this week (he doesn’t sleep while he’s on the meds either) so we decided to give him a break. He’s also on melatonin (as is my eldest) and it has helped. He said he’s so happy for the sleep. So am I.

At this point, all we can do is continue with social distancing and take one day at a time. I’m grateful that we are all home and healthy. I’m grateful for the front line health workers. I’m grateful we can still get most of our necessary supplies. One day at a time is all anyone can do. Be well and stay safe.

Quarantine Sucks

This is the beginning of the third week straight of being quarantined with my family. Quarantine sucks. I shouldn’t have to go hide and cry every single day. I feel like I’m always walking on eggshells around my young minions. I have to constantly watch my tone and word choice so I don’t upset one of them. If I do, I risk them throwing a tantrum which is not allowed since my husband is working from home and he needs quiet. For some reason, I feel his needs are the most important in this house. I guess I’ve always thought that. It has become more so, in my own mind, since I have been off work these five years due to my concussion. I guess I’m partially worried that he won’t want to be with me if he finds me completely useless. The other part I’m worried about is that his work is all that supports us as a family. If I do something to detract from his attention on work (he’s a big deal at his company, and is even more important now that there is this pandemic and he’s keeping the economy afloat), he could risk losing his job. We would have NOTHING if that happened.

There you have it. The inside working of my messed up mind. That it’s up to me to juggle absolutely every freaking thing in my family’s world. I have so many damned balls up in the air and I cannot deal with this any more. I need to find a way to stop this cycle that I myself have been out in. This is my wrongdoing. But I don’t know how to unravel it. It’s been forty years in the making, fourteen of those years married and almost ten of those years as a mom. I have leaves NOTHING. If anything, this is getting worse.

I suppose this could stem from a fear of being alone or left by my spouse. I saw it happen to my mother, with three young kids, by the asshat who decided he was bored of her and wanted a younger model. From the ashes rose the Phoenix, in her case that is. That lesson I have yet to realize. But I do know that I don’t want that for myself. So instead I make myself crazy to fulfill everyone’s wish and expectation of what and who I am. I am a real sick puppy. How much longer can I go in with this?

On a positive note, I have realized all of the above with this time in my home. That’s a huge step. I need to think long and hard about what I just wrote. It’s an important time in my life to have realized this! Maybe it’s all the meditating I’ve been doing for a month now. Maybe it’s just a moment of clarity, brought to you by cannabis. 😆 In any case, I need to let that simmer. I also need to applaud my ability to make a schedule for the family during the week and sticking to it. It really has made a huge difference at home. The routine and expectation has improved our home life.

Ok I’m done. I’ll keep re-reading today’s passage. Be well and keep your socially acceptable distance. XO

Pandemonium!

Hi there! It’s me again. Haven’t had much time lately to post. The obsession with hoarding and panic due to the WHO’s announcement this week declaring COVID-19 as a global pandemic has prompted me to reach for my keyboard.

Let me start my saying, everyone take a minute and BREATHE! We are not witnessing the end of the world. We are facing a health issue that most of us have never seen before but it’s not going to be the end of us. The majority of people in first world countries are not in the ‘at risk’ category. If we do contract COVID-19, from what I’ve read, it will resemble flu-like symptoms and possibly be a mild case of the flu. This can, of course, lead to complications for some people, but the majority will recover well. This in and of itself should calm some fears. Also, healthy children seem to display mild symptoms if they do contract it.

The governments, worldwide, are trying to keep the number of positive cases low. For this reason, they are imposing isolation and restriction policies for the countries and people they are representing and for whom they are responsible. In some places, large group events are canceled, public schools and facilities will be closed, adults are being asked to work from home, and general social distance is being requested. This is simply being done to stop the spread of this virus. We are also being told to be extra vigilant with our hygiene. A quick rinse under the water at the sink just doesn’t cut it. Help our children by showing them the proper way to wash hands (https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html) and model this behavior at every opportunity! No soap and water nearby? That’s when you resort to antibacterial hand sanitizer.

I watch in absolute horror online where people are recording stampedes at bargain stores and grocery stores. Hoarding of toilet paper and canned goods. Rice shelves are depleted. Fights breaking out for whatever limited resources are still found in corner stores. This is scary and prompting more of this behavior to occur. At this point, it’s no longer the virus that’s scaring people. It’s the behavior they see in others that’s prompting their fears.

At the end of the day, I think this fear and paranoia stems from the fact that we have been so very lucky to live in a country where we have knowledge of (and the means for) personal hygiene, public sanitation and healthcare. We are lucky, nay blessed, to live in places that do not have epidemics or pandemics often. We have never really had to deal with self isolation, quarantines, resource shortages, closure of public places and schools, and cancellations of events that draw large crowds. Even when SARS hit Toronto, we didn’t have the same affect to social lives and economy. This time around it’s a global issue. News coming out of every country at all hours of the day and night caused intense fear. Mismanagement of communication by media, social media and governments is adding to this fear. There is so much unknown, so many questions being asked and unanswered.

As a community, we need to try thinking with clear and leveled heads. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. We can get through this if we don’t panic. Yes, isolate and keep vigilant where hygiene is concerned. We will get through this. We will be stronger for it. I believe this. Stay healthy. Eat and sleep well. check up on those who do not have the means to take care of themselves. Be a good neighbor. We can do this. XO

Social Isolation Day 1

So it’s Day 1 of the big experiment. I’m home with the two feral ones, I mean my kids. Hubby is at work trying to keep the country out of an economical collapse. it’s craziness out there. On top of all of that, my Post Concussion Syndrome symptoms and anxiety are off the chart.

I was approaching this day with dread. It’s that awful? I’m home with my two littles and I’m not basking in that warm, loving light. I feel like a wretched mother. My trepidation over what the day May bring might have contributed to my nightmares and sleepless night. 🤷‍♀️ Not a great way to start the day.

I decided to weave some educational aspect into our day after lunch. That was met with a rebellion of biblical proportions by my youngest. In the end, we got the eldest one’s homework done and part of the youngest’s done. Yes there were tears and yells. All from the little one. Glad I held it together. He had all blessed morning with technology, what’s twenty minutes of work? Apparently, that makes me evil and unfair.

It’s almost time for dinner preparations and I tell them that we are turning off technology for an hour. I gave them a list of things they can do instead. They choose to play a board game with me. Great! We only came to blows twice during the game (a great feat in our house!) and nobody stomped off and slammed doors. Hooray! After their hour of fun, the big one and I go out to fly a kite in the backyard. We both knew it wouldn’t work but we had a hell of a time playing around with it, trying to outsmart gravity.

Dinner time came and went and it wasn’t too much of the usual whack job our dinners tend to be. Everyone ate and almost finished (including veggies-win!) and I started cleaning up. Just when I thought I would get them ready for bed, hubby comes and and boy are we happy to see him.

We end the day with us all in my bed for a story. No fighting over who sits where or what book I’m reading. Then off to bed for the kids, even if it was an hour past normal bedtime. All in all, I believe today was a success! Not all days will be like that, but I will take it. I hope it’s the start to some sort of routine in the home. I told them that once a day, they will do something educational and once a day we will go out in fresh air. The rest will be a re-enactment of Lord of the Flies. I hope today’s social distancing went well for everyone out there. Cheers to one less day!