Thursday, August 25, 2011

Even Negative Attention is Attention

I sunk. I think I hit a harder bottom this time than I ever had before. My family and friends could see that I wasn't happy, but I have been through this before. They know I am strong. They know that when I really need something, I will ask for it.  But I didn't ask. I just stared at all the common sense problems I could see, and I got angry. OH. SO. ANGRY. Why should I have to ask? Why don't they do this on their own? Seriously. How many adults are here?  Why am I doing everything?  Why are they criticizing me? Why isn't anything

good enough

You know why?  Because I pushed them out of my way. "Yes, I need help. No, you can't do that I need it my way. Yes, do the laundry, please! Oh... you put that in the dryer? UGH..." 

It's hard to recover when you can't see the help you are getting. It's hard to recover when you are filling yourself with your perception of others expectations. I let it go, I let it grow out of control. And it resulted in the fiery wrath. I was ready to run.

What scared me this time, just before the breaking point, was that I lost sight of what was important. I have never wanted to run from my kids. EVER. But this time it felt like the ultimate punishment for those who couldn't see what was wrong.  They thought it should be easy. They think it's fun and games raising kids. My kids are strong, I've taught them well. I knew they could manage without me here. I knew that even just a few days of teaching those who couldn't see... would MAKE them appreciate me.

I would take a quick trip to the store, the best version of 'me-time' I could get. I would grab what I needed and be ready to leave, then I would wander through the store. I'd finally force myself to pay for what I picked up and I'd head to the van. I'd stare at the steering wheel, wishing I had somewhere (anywhere) else to go. I didn't want to come home.  I wasn't ready to face what was waiting. Kids crying, dishes waiting, messes everywhere. More and more signs of what I didn't do.

And I hated to admit that I was failing. I was. I was spending more time crying than laughing. I was frozen. I wanted to be happy, I keep chasing that dream, but I couldn't get moving.  Many days I couldn't even shower and dress. I lived in PJ's and stared at the things that needed to be done. I'd hyperfocus on work. Instead of feeling good about what I was doing, I was chasing my tail. I was behind, so I'd focus until I hit my needed hours and then crash again. At one point, I even messed up an entire project. Just before my vacation time, I did a whole project and it was crap. Sincerely crap. Something that would have needed to be redone entirely, not just bits and pieces, the whole darn thing.  Thankfully, while I was away, it was done. It was done well by someone else, with no looking back.

It hurt to admit it. It was awful. Up until then, I could at least give myself the credit that I did my job and I did it well. But then what? I worried about getting fired. How do I explain that?  I fell on work as an excuse, but my work was garbage. 

So there it was. I had a hubby I couldn't talk to, a job I sucked at, a mother who was constantly on my tail about something I didn't do right (if at all), and 3 kids who seemed to be purposely misbehaving when I was weakest.  

But my kids were not misbehaving. They were behaving like kids. Things get spilled, things get broken. It happens. The work they created for me was all I could see.

My hubby didn't hate me, he just didn't know what to say. He didn't understand because I never explained it.

And my mom, well, yes, she's picky. But she didn't intend to criticize, she could see what I wasn't doing. She was trying to push me forward and I just took it as complaining. 

I do feel better now. It's still a long road, but I'm headed the right way. I am trying. I'm also not trying AS HARD. Hyper focus hurts. It hurts my family because I'm not paying attention to what really matters and it hurts me. I spent the day scrubbing the bathrooms, when all that needed to be done was sweeping a floor. Instead of doing what needed to be done, I was doing everything possible to avoid doing it. Almost like I was looking for attention.

Just like kids, even negative attention is attention.

No more.  No more excuses. I'm using a timer again to prevent the hyper focus habit. When I go overboard, I sacrifice quality.  I'm not diving into new routines, school will start and change it all anyway. I'm taking each day as it comes. I'm not filling my life with lists and to-do's. I can see what needs to be done and I will do that.  When I have a list, I constantly pick the most abstract ways to avoid doing the simple things that drive me crazy...

By believing that everyone else thought I was a failure, I failed. I failed myself. I gave up.  My hubby deserves a wife who is not anticipating his next complaint, my mom deserves a daughter who recognizes the things SHE does for me too. She helps me a lot. Without her my house would be a disaster.  And my kids deserve a mom who is not thinking of 55 things she thinks she has to do while she's playing with them.

I failed myself. I stood in the way of my own peace of mind. I believed the mean things that I thought everyone was saying. I stopped trying. No one should ever stop trying. I couldn't 'do it all' so I didn't do anything. And I got lost in the process.

I'll be telling you more about the changes I've made, the few things I need to keep working on and how I'm pulling my socks back up and getting back into life.  

Yes, socks. Because I AM dressed everyday.


  1. Wow Wendy, great post. I have been there before (and might be there now) and can honestly say I know exactly what point you are at. Pull those socks up chicka and charge on!

  2. I LOVE THIS!!!! So insightful, Wendy. Some people live (or don't live) their whole life without realizing what you have! That, in itself, is a major accomplishment. You know I am right beside you all the way!!!

  3. Everything you have written fits me so perfectly. You know I am right there with you.