Stress and Supermoms
The last few weeks I've been struggling with some symptoms of stress.
Twice now I've suddenly, for no apparent reason, started feeling very anxious and my heart feels like it's racing and my hands are shaking and I just want to lay on the floor in a dark room and breathe slowly.
This is very unusual for me.
So I began taking inventory of the sources of stress in my life during this season and began evaluating causes. The following are recent examples of things that may be having a teeny, tiny impact on my elevated anxiety...
Yesterday I had my annual dentist appointment (somehow I've managed to have really good teeth and only have to go once a year...yippee!). Anyway, my husband was out of town and I had no sitter, so three children tagged along with me. I loaded them down with a tupperware bin full of calico critters, gave strict instructions to refrain from biting, kicking, screaming, or letting their curiosity overcome them, and said a silent prayer.
The littlest darling came with me into the little dentist room and began looking at books.
This lasted 2.7 seconds.
She ended up sitting in my lap as I lay on that reclining chair with a bright light shining in my eyes and a hygienist looming over me. The three-year-old was filled with wonder at what in the world was going on. She was totally riveted, watching every move the woman made.
I made a mental note to NEVER allow her to tag along on an OB/GYN appointment.
So there I lay, completely at the mercy of the woman holding a sharp instrument very close to my gums, and praying with all earnestness that my child wouldn't suddenly make a move and cause the hygienist to stab me in the tongue or something. I had visions of bleeding gums and puncture wounds in my cheek. Also in the back of my mind was the definite concern that the older girls in the waiting room might be stacking the chairs into a tower or even worse, going into the back room where all the dentures are kept.
Hmm. That could've been a small contributor to my stress.
I continued pondering what in the world could be making me a little anxious. I came up with this as Exhibit B:
This is not a slam on the dog. Really. He's not a bad dog. He's just doing what dogs do.
However, recently our neighbors whom we kind of know but not really, posted a sign in their yard. It said, "please curb your dog. Thank you."
Curb your dog? What does that mean, exactly? Keep the dog off the sidewalk in front of their yard? Make sure he doesn't bark when they pull into their garage? (which he doesn't) It was a mystery and it was stressing me out. We've had bad neighbor relations before (with the previous neighbors in that house) and I am willing to do just about anything to keep these people happy with us.
I decided to go over there and fall all over myself apologizing, then ask what the problem was so I could fix it.
In no uncertain terms, she told me that she had found dog poop in her yard two times during the year that we've had Hank.
I get it. TOTALLY. That's gross, irritating, and rude. No excuses. I'd be annoyed, too. Obviously, if we'd known we would've cleaned it up.
So now every single time Hank escapes out the front door (thanks to kids who open the door and he pretty much tramples them to freedom), I go totally nuts, having to chase the stupid dog all over the cul-de-sac and keep my eyes on him every single second. What if he poops in their yard again? We'll be known as the rude "dog people"! They'll hate us! Give us the evil eye every time we happen to be outside while they are!
That could possibly be a tiny source of anxiety, especially since he escapes multiple times a day lately.
And finally, I pondered exhibit C:
I have loved teaching this kid at home this year. Really. The time we're spending together and the things we've done and learned are priceless.
However, trying to make sure I am not completely failing her and dooming her to a life of flipping burgers because she never learned how to add or read is somewhat burdensome. I have visions of her having to wear a hair net to work every day or ask what flavor milkshake someone wants for 8 hours a day. It is a gnawing fear. We start school most days before 8am, and after her sisters go to bed, I do some of the next day's school with her (partly because the maniac 3-year-old makes long periods of reading aloud somewhat difficult). This makes for a long day.
Earlier this week, I turned in my first progress report to our legal homeschool cover. I'd never met the woman and wanted to make a good impression.
I can pretty much throw that one out the window. I did almost everything wrong.
I filled out the wrong report card.
I brought the wrong writing sample (but to be fair, writing sample can be somewhat easy to confuse with a 'handwriting' sample, can't it?).
I numbered my record of school days wrong and we had to count them all over again.
Olivia was asked to write a short sample about anything she wanted. She can totally do this, I thought. She's great at creative writing and comes up with some winning essays at home.
I made some quick suggestions for topics such as the Bible lesson we'd had that morning, what she's been learning about space, the book we just read on Michaelangelo, or even the field trip we went on for our 100 days of school celebration.
What did my darling choose to write about?
"Hank Webber is my dog. He makes poop mess all over the yard."
I pretty much just collected my children, handed over the necessary paperwork, and left quietly.
Tonight I kinda wish I was a drinkin' woman. I tried to do some deep breathing, but my children began blowing in my ears and looming over me.
Supermom. Putting kids to bed a tad bit early is my specialty, especially when they can't tell time (which not knowing how to tell time will also be a source of stress to me when I start homeschooling the next one...dang it!).