I’m sitting here eating 3 day old, flavorless Kraft Dinner, drowned in ketchup because the pandemic sized boxes have absolutely no flavor and Caelan likes it soupy…gag. She will only eat a single, fresh serving, and the box feeds something like 6 people, so I’ve been working on making my contribution to wasting less, by eating more of the shitty garbage my kids won’t eat. They call this food?
Earlier, shortly after 8 this morning, I was cooking 2 gourmet meals as I ran around trying to start my usual housekeeping routine while fighting with Lola to get her out of bed and get her to school. She was already late and refusing to get up and I was thinking, the dog gets gourmet homemade meals daily and the kids, but what about me? I’m not perfect by any means, but I always try to make good decisions regarding what I put into my body, but after this pandemic hit, I scrounge and make sure we don’t waste…we didn’t waste much to begin with, but we’ve definitely cut back on grocery store trips.
As a result, and as I’ve said before, we’re not all supposed to look like the people on magazine covers or fashion runways, but I haven’t been feeling all that great. A huge part of that has been the garbage I feel that I need to eat on the daily. My pants no longer fit, which is okay, I can always buy more…if I ever leave the house, but it’s the fact that my energy is lacking when I need it most.
My teenaged daughter takes much of my time and energy these days and I feel that although my self-care has never been more important, there’s been a severe lack of it. How the hell do I make it a priority when no one else is willing to help themselves? Aren’t my kids getting to the age where they should need less of me? Did I get that all wrong?
I’m scrunched into my kitchen table, surrounded by guinea pig heaven on a blanket, that’s sprawled all over my tiny kitchen area for the entire day, all day, every single day. I love our little piggles, but all they do is sleep, eat and shit all day, all over this blanket I lay out on the floor for them for their daily floor time. There’s no room to maneuver around them because my kitchen is tiny, and I’m often reduced to standing at the kitchen counter, slamming my food down. Why is that?
I didn’t sleep last night, at all because my teenager was up all night prowling. We did some repainting in the house, and consequently, her door wasn’t cured after several weeks and continues to stick and peel every time she opens it. It makes a very loud sticking sound from several places and she was between the bathroom and her room all night, finally stopping at 2:30 a.m. but I just lost the ability to sleep after that.
Horrific thoughts and sleepless nights
The horrific thoughts that fill my mind when all is quiet and she is alone in her room, keeps me up at night. The stress of wondering what I’ll find in the morning, adds to the sleeplessness. She had a meltdown last week which resulted in her revealing what looked like 100 little slits, freshly healed across her forearm.
I cannot even begin to tell you the shock and panic I felt when Clem told me what he’d seen and she later confirmed by showing me. We wondered if this was something she’d consider, as she once struggled with Trichotillomania when she was in grade 3. She’s been hanging around an older girl of about 16 years (Lola is 13), who was trying desperately to get herself off of her anti-depressants with my daughter attempting to be a support system for her, which leads us to have suspicions.
I’m not blaming anyone but I have to wonder if this was something she may have been introduced to. She used to hide the scars on her knees from skateboarding because she hated them so much and now this? It’s a complete 180.
Lola hasn’t kept the best company these past few months, many of these so called friends are much older than her. All from various walks of life, from one extreme to the other. This has introduced her to the vast expanse of the many lives lived in the world.
Some of the kids she hangs out with, live with parents who have substance dependencies and the kids seem to just be there, and at the other end of the spectrum, some of the families have an abundance of cash and the kids rule the roost, with some also seeming to just be there as well. This has created tension within our household as Lola wants to be completely in charge of her life, which doesn’t include making good decisions for herself, just like some of her friends.
I don’t think Clem and I are strict by any means, but if you asked Lola, we are the strictest of the strict. Yes, we expect her to go to school, try to do her best and be accountable and respectful to her teachers. We do not allow drugs or drug use in our home, and expect our kids to be upstanding citizens.
I guess we’re strict?
We absolutely expect our kids to treat people with dignity and respect and contribute to society in a positive manner when the opportunity arises. We expect them to be kids while they can, but not assholes, and that’s the gist of it. So yeah, we have standards, and she feels that they are too strict.
And now, we’ve been having to deal with all of this. A 13 year old who can’t even look after a pair of pants, let alone herself, but demands to be in complete control of everything. It’s a disaster and I have found myself in a position I NEVER thought I’d ever be.
In fact, I did something I never thought I’d ever actually do, and desperately went through Lola’s room while cleaning it to find her tool of choice in her newfound release. I came up short, but removed anything I thought could possibly be what she used, not know if I actually had it. She never said a thing and I wonder if her showing us, was her way of letting us know that she wanted us to stop it.
Thieving and underwear drawers
I feel that this was confirmed when I found the small razor blade sitting atop her nightstand in plain sight when I went to make her bed one morning. I bagged it up like a thief in the night and hid it in my underwear drawer. Desperate times call for desperate measures…no one goes into my undie drawer man.
My paranoia of her discovering that I’d taken it and the possible betrayal of trust I’d committed, rode high in my mind all day. I was frantic about catching a glimpse of her arm when she arrived home from school but wasn’t certain how to approach the situation. I managed to conceal my panic and control my instinct to demand that she roll up her sleeves to show me and decided to see if I could spy from afar.
All day I wondered and that night, she finally came and sat with me on the couch after Clem went to get ready for bed. I didn’t find any fresh marks, as she actually wore a t-shirt, thank Heebus. I know that the calm I felt in that moment will never be a constant but I embraced it in that moment. The thoughts of what she does at night while the rest of us are sleeping, triggers the heart racing jumpiness that I have become accustomed to after these past 4 years.
PTSD…is that you my old friend?
The phone ringing, loud noises and even hearing Lola prowl, causes this fight or flight response that’s easily triggered each time I am exposed to it. I’ve read it’s possibly PTSD but who really knows. I think after all of these years of being on edge, it’s become a very natural and organic reaction after everything I’ve gone through. I’ve accepted that this is how I am now and that there’s just no going back.
We’ve reached out to the school to attempt to get some helping regarding this phenomenon. This isn’t our first rodeo and I don’t have high hopes as to who or what will be reaching back to us. Our attempts to reach out for help before, has generated a usual response that we’ve become acquainted with,
“Wow, I’ve never heard of a situation like this before.” Scribble, scribble (they usually write frantically as we tell our story of the past 4 years), “I’ll have to do some thinking…”.
Well that’s not very reassuring
Uh, that’s not very reassuring. What’s worse is when you make an appointment with someone who is allegedly fluent in dealing with the things we’ve encountered and they have absolutely nothing to offer because you’ve already tried the methods they throw out there, on your own. That kind of makes you feel a little helpless and hopeless.
There’s nothing in the world that makes you feel as bizarre as this does, let me tell ya. I understand that we’re all different, but are we really that different? Trying to get help for Caelan and her PTSD issues following treatment, was much the same.
Make an appointment at the children’s hospital with an alleged top notch and highly recommended psychologist, take your kid in, and hope like hell that they can help your child because you can’t. As a parent, I cannot even begin to tell you how helpless I feel when I, Mom, can’t even help. If Mom can’t help, that’s when you know the shit has hit the fan.
Hoping for help
You sit and wait, hoping that something positive comes of all of this. You know that one session isn’t going to fix anything, but you have hope. You’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there and have made this a priority and have committed fully. At the end of the session, they bring your kid back and say,
“We made a sand story, and here it is (a small, uniquely shaped glass Dollar Store bottle full of multi-colored sand, sealed with a piece of cork, is thrust at me) if you ever need us, just reach out. She seems to be doing well and we talked about emotions and she colored this (as she hands me a piece of paper with a pie graph of sorts that’s been colored by Caelan). Take care!”
Out the door we go. We ask Caelan about her session and she tells us that they poured some sand onto a plate and then into a bottle and the different colors represents different feelings, the same for the colored pie graph. I ask if she’s been given any tools or guidance on how to handle her anxiety and she just shrugs her shoulders and says,
And we wasted an entire morning for this? They pay someone to do this? How is this helping anyone?
Is this really my life right now?
And now, my other kid is cutting herself. And now, I wonder if I was meant to be a mother at all. And now, I am sitting at my kitchen table having a mid-life crisis and kicking myself for perhaps not choosing a different path or applying myself more. Ah, fuck you real life.
Where did this razor come from? I don’t have anything in this house that looks or would contain anything like it. Upon closer inspection, it looks used and possibly old. Who gave this to her?
Did she actually want to do this? I thought this phenomenon started with just a few cuts, not 100 light, feathery ones. I could be wrong. I’m completely out of my element.
What the hell is normal any more?
In doing some reading and talking to the school counsellor, they said that they are seeing many teens doing this right now. I now wonder, what the hell is wrong with the world that so many are doing this to themselves and it’s become somewhat normalized? This is not normal!
What the fuck? What has this world come to? Normalizing some of the things I’m seeing, I don’t agree with.
Medicate your child, well that’s not always getting to the root of the problem. We don’t treat the problem, we treat the behavior, and usually with drugs. I don’t want that for my child.
She is anxious and stressed out. We all deal with this. Perhaps society needs to change. We’re not all meant to be under stress all of the time, maybe we need to change? I don’t know what the answer is.
Where’s the bloody manual for this?
We’ve been engaged parents from go and thought we’d been doing everything and anything right, up until life fucked us over. No, life isn’t fair and I accept that but when is enough enough already? How much more can our little family take?
The pandemic and subsequent lock down hasn’t been kind to us. My teen daughter’s life has completely flip flopped (as have ours) and how the hell do you parent while attempting to navigate something like this? This rarely happens…and honestly, at this stage of the game, why is it still happening? Where’s the bloody manual for this?
This Kraft Dinner is disgusting. I don’t know why I’m sitting here, scrunched up at my kitchen table amongst my pigs eating this right now. I’m exhausted from the lack of sleep and am having difficulty finding the energy to deal with yet another battle right now.
I’m mad, yes. This wasn’t what my life was supposed to be. This, this is not me, nor what I would have chosen for myself.
Ugh…I hate regret
I realize now that I could’ve been so much more, somebody. I should’ve worked harder and been a little more confident in myself when I was younger. It sure would beat sitting here right now. I’m sure I wouldn’t be having this midlife crisis right here, right now.
I wouldn’t be eating this shit and sitting and stewing after scrubbing toilets and folding other people’s shitty shorts all day. And the dog, she’s hungry again. What else is new?
I’ve been trying to live this life to the fullest every single day, but it’s hard when maybe it’s just not the life I feel I want or need anymore. Embrace it and make the most of it, well I don’t buy that crock of shit anymore either. I can’t keep trying to convince myself that I’m eating the most decadent dessert on Earth, when I’m really eating a steaming pile of dog shit.
I can’t be delusional forever
I know, be happy. You have a roof over your head and food on the table because there are worse things. I know, and I understand. I have lived a few of those worse things and don’t wish to go back. I just feel like this life is completely out of my hands and sometimes, it’s just not worth fighting for.
I’m no quitter but I also know when to cut ties. I was driven and had aspirations, but it all went to shit. I still have it, but I’m tired, too tired to take the first step. Is it depression or is it that I’m just plain old fed up?
I’m over being Cinderella. I’m sure I’m not the only stay at home mom who has hit a wall and made these same realizations. Or am I?
Let the macaroni fall where they may
I need something. Nothing big, just a little something for me. Yes, it sounds selfish, but as Clem pointed out the other night during one of our talks, I gotta put the oxygen mask on my face first. If I don’t, I don’t know where we’re gonna end up.
Judging by the way life has been raking us over the coals, it could get real ugly, real fast. All I can do is try and help Lola pull up on the controls. But who am I to say that, when I haven’t been able to do the same.
No more macaroni moments for me man, this is it. There isn’t enough ketchup in the world to hide this bitter taste and I think it’s about time I start making myself a little gourmet to enjoy. It’s time to channel my inner Julia Child and enjoy a little butter…by the pound.