Friday, January 09, 2009

Whoa - this one is long;)

What a difference a little structure makes in my life. I feel back to my normal self. Monday - the last time I posted - was a day of journaling for me. I think I journaled in 3 or 4 different places that day. Apparently, I had a lot to think about and get out:)

I believe that I will always struggle with Christmas break while I have small kids at home. Dave doesn't understand it. I'm not sure many people do... I have a hard time articulating it, too.

Its not that I'm sick of the kids. The girls were actually wonderful during the break. And they were awesome last weekend - so my breakdown had nothing to do with them. They played together very well during the break, they didn't bug me a whole lot, we kind of chilled for the time that we were home and just hung out. So its not the girls...

I think its the break itself. Christmas break is 2 weeks. Two weeks would be enough to get into a new "break" routine, however, the two weeks is constantly broken into chunks due to the holidays. So we have a couple of days home, then a couple of days away, then a couple home and a couple more with people here, then a couple home, then one at someone else's house. Dave is home a day here and there. There is extra mess in the house because of the new christmas gifts. The girls go to bed late because of the parties and the break. There is general chaos at all times because of everything. There are expectations on me from other people - expected to go to this party or have these people over. Expected to bring this kind of food here, or plan a menu for this or whatever.

And to top it all off, there is very, very little silence, which means I have no ability to really think things through. I found it difficult to even think about a grocery list during the break. The constant noise was hard for me.

By Saturday, then, when you put all of that together with the anxiety and stress that is related to our financial situation I think I had broken. Sunday I was better. Monday I was even better than Sunday and by Wednesday I was back to myself totally.

Dave doesn't get this. And my counselor wanted to blame it on the girls being home, too. But I reiterate - it has little to do with having the girls home... Summer break, for example, is tough for the first few days until a new normal is established. And that new normal sticks around for 3 months. Spring break is too short for a new normal so we just go with it. Random holidays are fine. Do I look forward to them? Not necessarily, but I'm not a basket case about them (which I felt was somewhat implied).

It is the disadvantage of being introverted, I'm afraid;) I mentioned this to my counselor (had my first session last night) and had this conversation:
C: Have you read the Introvert Advantage?
J: Yes, I have
C: Its a great book.
J: Sure it is - I learned a lot from it, but it doesn't help me out when all of the extroverts in the world have NOT read it.


Another thing that has helped me in the last couple of days is that I have gotten back into some Bible study time. Our church is doing a sermon series on this and although I did not go to church Saturday night, I listened to the sermon online. The preacher gave a very easy, doable way to do regular Bible study and I have been doing that every day after Georgia goes to her room for quiet time. I had previously made the mistake of thinking that I could only do it in the morning before they all woke up and it inevitably got pushed out of the way. I'm enjoying it. I'm learning from it and I've come back to wanting to get to know God. I had moved away for a while... and blamed him for moving away from me. I felt alone and abandoned. But it was me - I was isolating myself, which is typical for me when I'm in the crazy cycle:)

I'm feeling hopeful again. That was the one thing that I could identify last week as the change in my attitude. I lacked hope. I had lost my hope. Throughout this whole EJ journey, I had always felt hopeful - I knew it was going to be hard for the first few years, but the hope remained that his income would increase - albeit gradually - and that eventually, within 4-5 years we would be back to paying our bills and hopefully earning a trip here and there. And we were on that path. His production was on a gradual incline. He was doing well. He earned the bonus and he earned the trip. He paid our expenses one month. Things were looking good.

And then the economy crashed. And I lost hope.

Before that, we figured our supplemental funds would get us through the next 2 years if he kept going at the rate he was. We figured we would still need to supplement, but not very much. But when the economy went south, it became less than a year's worth. And that started to get scary... Oh my, there is so much I could go into about this but this is already long. And because of the economy and how frightened everyone was, I felt like no one would be doing business with him which = little to no income.

He has brought me into his office to show me his pipeline, show me his production graph, show me his goals. HE is feeling hopeful. HE is feeling his business turning around for the better. HE is feeling the economy shifting (even slightly). HIS hope has brought mine back. We are, by no means, going to be back at the place we were a year ago, but every month is getting better than the previous (that was one problem last fall - each month was getting worse than the previous) and we have buckled down on keeping track of our expenses in a forward looking way, rather than looking behind us and trying to correct it the next month. Our budget is tighter than I ever thought I would have to live, but it is doable and we will make it. We're not in this alone - we never were.


Marissa 11:22 AM  

I'm glad you're feeling turned around. That is really great to hear. And I'm so with you on the non-routine of holidays being a nightmare. I'm pretty adaptable, but Naomi, I have learned, is not nearly so and we are subsequently still recovering from Christmas/New Years. The lack of routines/naps/the way we eat normally, etc has really taken a toll and I'm afraid that Naomi's overstimulation with family is leading to some severe boredom and acting out now that it's back to being just she and I every day. I think I kind of thrived on non-routine in my previous life, but since I've become a mom . . . not so much.

Marissa 11:23 AM  

Also, what is the thrust of "Introvert Advantage"? I am an extrovert and I've never heard of it. :P

April 4:10 PM  

I feel that way sometimes too with the holidays and for sure with all the construction we did. I really love getting the house back in order and having things back to normal. I felt like I was on the crazy cycle too. So even though our situations are different, I can totally relate!

Brenda B 3:51 PM  

I'm glad you have your hope back.

I need to read the introvert advantage. I completely understand how too many people and too much chaos can send you over the edge. This morning we went to a new church for the first time in 7 years. My friends son had spent the night with us and he knew where he was going and led us into the youth building instead of the front doors (mistake #1). We sent the big boys off to Youth and began to make our way through a maze of halls looking for the nursery. To make things worse the previos service had just let out and we were going to wrong way in a sea of people. Then half way into the building we realized that Carlin still had the diaper bag (mistake #2) so I stopped where I was and Ed trecked off to retreive the diaper bag. A wave of panic washed over me and I just wanted to go home. I hate not knowing where I'm going with a ton of people that I don't know.about a min later I saw my friend walking towards me by the time she got to me I was crying and feeling stupid. She led me to find Ed and the diaper bag then took us to the nursery and the into service. The rest of the day was great but even thinking about it now and talking about it with the family this afternoon with the family makes me cry again.

I'm sorry to be so long with this but I totally relate with disruptions making you crazy.

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