Found My Self, Lost My Mind

Caryn: So today kicked off the 2009-2010 ”speaking season” for me. Today’s talk was the one based on my book—with a smidge of the Rev thrown in—so it was all about losing ourselves, confused identities, and unrealistic expectations. All the stuff I love.

On the way home, I was feeling a big smug, thinking how after all my years of wrestling with who I was as a mom and a woman and all that, I was really doing pretty well. And I am, actually.

But then the rest of today happened. Two of the world’s crabbiest, screamiest, yelliest, fightingiest, whiniest kids stepped off the school bus and walked into my house–joining their already crabby, screamy, yelly, whiney little brother. It’s been, to be honest, the afternoon from hell. I cannot remember ever having such a wretched time with my kids.

I started out trying to remain calm, soothing moods with hearty snacks, cooler clothes, and a good rest. To no avail. Mass timeouts haven’t worked. Threats haven’t worked. It’s all descended into madness. My throat actually hurts from yelling so much.

My house is bedlam, and I seriously think I’m going to lose my mind. Have we talked about this at all, Revolutionaries? I can’t remember. But I’m dying to dig into these crazy-making moments of motherhood. To find out what sets you off and what you do to calm down. To regain sanity.

In many ways, I hate even bringing this up since it plays into a stereotype in and of itself (i.e. the crazed, frazzled mom). But these days are real. These moments when we “understand child abuse,” as one friend once told me, when we get why so many moms have turned to substances to get through the day or week or life, and why, we think we will (and sometimes do) lose our ever lovin’ minds.

(On a positive note, I escaped my crazy house to my front porch to write this. My kids followed [of course!] but are all playing quietly and nicely. Huh.)

Carla: So are you saying that the fact that I gave my 12-year-old a lecture on respect and how her leaving her lunchbox sitting out until bedtime even though it has an unopened container of yogurt in it that we now have to throw out and why do I have to keep having this conversation with her and when will she start to understand that her choices affect me and that’s why this is an issue of respect and she’d better start shaping up or I really am going to throw away everything she owns was crazy? You might have a point.

I had some time to myself last week and I had these big plans of getting my house really organized–or at least de-cluttered a bit–now that most of us are back in school. But honestly, I was so overwhelmed by the crap in my house and that no matter how often I pick up or clean or purge I am still surrounded by other people’s #$&^ that I didn’t do anything. So of course I am standing right there on the edge of losing it every time someone leaves a sock on the floor or a dish on the table. So I am totally snappy and crabby and mean.

To answer your question, I seriously think the only thing that will get me back to normalcy is to throw away everything we own.

Caryn: Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. But with that, you are on to something. The stuff makes me crazy. Actually, ever since I opened up a copy of our old friend Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Amish Peace and read about how the Amish live with what is only absolutely necessary, I’ve been on a mission to get rid of half of what we own. Except for the dishes and silverware and cups because we’re already running low. Ditto towels. And cute fall shirts for me. And money (at least right now. Someday I truly want to live on the whole reverse tithe thing). And maybe my books. I could get rid of 25% of those, probably.

But the point is, while I don’t agree with the Amish on many, many things, I do think they’re on to something with the only what’s necessary bit. Although, I’m guessing Amish mamas lose their minds too.

Deep breath. New day. Another breath. Women of the Rev (and Dude of the Rev): what do you need to do to regain your mind?

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