Goings On

It’s the fourth week of summer (how is that possible!?) and we’re finally falling into a routine. The days still feel long but I don’t feel totally ineffectual. I’m actually enjoying myself some days. Other days I feel like I might totally lose my shit. In a single hour I can oscillate between wishing I were really a SAHM who never had to go back to work to counting the weeks until our first day back.

I’m trying to stick to what I was doing while my husband was away so I can continue feeling on top of the house stuff. I thought long and hard about just offering to do the dishes during the summer but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just knew I’d feel too much resentment if I took on more, when he NEVER offers to do the same for me. (Is this my whole problem? Is this why our marriage always feels strained? Because I can’t bring myself to offer him that without feeling resentment?) Luckily, I thought of an alternative that I think we both appreciate: I will do the dishes in return for help with bedtime when he’s around to contribute. This is a win/win because by the end of the night I’m very grateful for a break from the kids and I can stay on top of the dishes throughout the day. I think we’re both happy with the agreement.

It’s interesting because my husband seems to respect my contribution a lot more now that I’m home all day with the kids. He tries to give me more breaks and when I offer to give him breaks he at first declines, saying I never get them anymore. I think it’s just easier for my husband to understand how long the days are with both kids because he gets a taste for it on the weekends. On the one had I appreciate that he recognizes how exhausting they both are, but on the other hand I’m frustrated that he can’t respect how depleted I am after a day of teaching AND mothering. But don’t worry, I’m mostly just appreciative that he is validating the intense effort that navigating the days with these two entails. It’s a welcome change in our dynamic.

My birthday is a week from Friday. I’m turning 35. A while back, when I thought my parents wouldn’t be around to take the kids, I decided I was going to try to do something with my friends this year. I actually have a few friends to do something with and that is novel and exciting. Later my mom’s plans changed and they offered to take the kids for our “birthday weekend” (my husband’s birthday is four days after mine and we love when our birthdays straddle a weekend like they do this year) so we took them up on it. Knowing I could fall back on dinner with my husband, I started to get cold feet about doing something with friends. I do have ten or so women to invite, but few of them know each other. Maybe it would be weird? Maybe no one would come? I couldn’t commit on what I wanted to do and I didn’t send out invites. I was about to just bail on the whole thing.

Finally last night I bit the bullet and sent out the invites. I invited ten women (and their significant others if they want to come). I’d be surprised if half make it. We’re just doing drinks and apps at our place. My husband will be mixing some mean cocktails and we’ll be (hopefully) enjoying our friends’ company. I’m proud of myself for trying to do something with my friends. It feels right to celebrate with other women during this year–establishing meaningful friendships has been so important to me. I just hope some people come and I have a good time.

The rest of the weekend my husband and I will be enjoying each other’s company in the city. We intended to go away but some unexpected financial obligations earlier this year made that impossible. We’re both okay with it. We’ve done all the weekend getaways we want to do (that don’t require plane tickets) and we so rarely get to enjoy this city without our kids. I think we’re both kind of looking forward to the staycation. My husband already has multiple reservations made. It should be a fun three day weekend (he’s taking Monday off).

Hosting people at my house on my birthday has lit a fire under my ass about getting rid of some of the junk I culled ages ago. I never ended up having that garage sale so I have a ton of kids’ books, toys and DVDs to get rid of, along with our cat tree and my daughter’s book shelf. I’ve already sold my husband’s stereo cabinet and an expandable gate we used in my son’s room when the elliptical was in there. Having people over will also force my husband to deal with the enormous CD collection that he pulled out of garage storage to go through but ended up leaving scattered in boxes across three rooms. It will also provide the impetus needed to actually clean the place. It’s almost always picked up these days (at least most of it is) but it hasn’t been properly scoured in a loooooong time. That will need to happen in the coming weeks.

My son’s eczema flared recently and then he scratched it and broke the skin. The results were ugly and on Friday before July 4th we realized the welts might be infected as we saw crusted yellow scabs. The poor boy is on his first round of oral antibiotics and finally after three days the inflammation is going down. I can’t tell you how much I hate eczema and how powerless I feel against it. It’s always there; we can never make it go away completely and it makes my poor boy miserable with the itching. Our pediatrician assures us he’ll grow out of it eventually but I won’t believe that until I see it.

Filling my son’s prescription at the after hours pharmacy was pretty much the only thing we did on July 4th. We’re never invited anywhere and we never make plans for ourselves; the holiday always passes without even the slightest hint of acknowledgment on our part. Scrolling FB this weekend I felt like the only person in America who wasn’t holidaying (or at least picnicking) with friends and family. I wish we had people to spend those kinds of days with. I don’t know why we don’t have families to do that kind of stuff with. All the people I would turn to turn to someone else. It’s odd to feel like an outsider in a city you’ve lived in for over a decade. I wish we were better at making and keeping family friends.

And now it’s late and I’m tired and I really need to get to bed. Sorry for the long, rambling post that probably could have used bullet points. I’m sure appreciate being brought up to speed.

So many topics tackled above. Feel free to tackle one in the comments!

20 Comments

    1. It really is! I was going to comment on your post about eczema but in the end I realized I didn’t have anything to add that would help. Shea butter (100% raw) has worked well for us to manage it but it has never made it go away completely. We put coconut oil on our son’s patches before his baths (and we found that more baths make it worse–I also found really conflicting information about that, frustrating). I hope you find something that helps your child’s eczema. It can be so upsetting to feel helpless and ineffectual in the face of something that makes our kids suffer.

  1. I felt the same during the 4th last year. That’s why I decided I would go visit family this year. There are parades and fireworks in our city but it doesn’t seem as fun doing it alone.
    The birthday weekend sounds AWESOME. We had some time to ourselves at home last week and it was really nice to be able to do some of the things we used to do—even some mundane things like walk the dog or grocery shop—that we never get to do TOGETHER anymore.

    1. I have been reading about your time without the kids and getting excited for my own (and taking notes). I hope it’s good for us. Our marriage has taken a back seat to everything else lately. We need to make it a priority again.

  2. My brother had terrible eczema as a baby. I remember sometimes his scalp had little red dots of dried blood. He did grow out of it. His hands were still kind of gross and dry through elementary school, but the worst of it was over way before then. He had this very lengthy skin care regiment.

    1. We also have a lengthy skin care regiment. It’s kind of exhausting, actually. I’m constantly putting stuff on his skin. I wouldn’t mind if it actually seemed to help but it doesn’t really.

  3. Thanksgiving is our holiday like that – we are usually alone or we invite over a friend who is alone. I decided last year to start our own tradition, and DH and I ran the Turkey Trot… which only worked because someone did come over this year and could watch E, but we hope she can do the family run with us in the future!

    1. Thanksgiving was always like that with my family (my mom, dad and sister). Every once in a while we’d have another family over but usually it was just us. Now we go to my parents’ house with my sister so that feels a little better, even though really it’s the same thing as before, I just have my own kids there.

  4. We always go to my SIL’s for dinner on the 4th but it’s a loooong day leading up to it- we don’t have a pool or parade in our neighborhood and yeah, it seems like everyone else is having this ideal American holiday while we are stuck at home, bored. Then later, fireworks are too late for our kids so we just end up going home and going to bed. Holidays in general just frustrate me- they never live up to ideas and expectations in my head.

    1. It really does suck that fireworks have to be so late. I get it, you want it to be dark to see them, but 9:30 is WAY too late for even my older daughter. I mean, she could handle it, but I couldn’t.

      It’s not warm here and no one has pools so we couldn’t go that route. Sometimes I wish we lived somewhere warmer because I love all the activities associated with warm weather. I feel like we miss out on a real summer living where we do.

  5. We’re lucky–our little town has a 4th of july parade. Cheesy but good for kids. Then bouncy houses and a picnic on city hall lawn with music.

    My 1st had food related eczema–lots of stuff one wouldn’t expect to cause it like rice, peas, grapes. I was doubtful too but indeed she did grow out of it around two.

    1. That sounds like a perfect way to spend the 4th of July. I wish the city had something like that.

      Did you know what foods triggered your first’s eczema? I have always wondered if my son’s was food related but he is so picky I don’t know how we’d take the usual suspects out of his diet. Blerg. I hope he grows out of it. I hate to see him suffer.

      1. Peas, rice cereal, rice, risotto, grapes,corn,tomatoes,potatoes. There’s probably more I don’t remember off hand. Luckily pasta (no tomato sauce) and avocados were ok, along with soy products and other fruits and veggies plus wheat based stuff. It was a lot of trial and error. We had given her puréed peas and rice cereal as her first foods and then she developed red patches in the crooks of her elbows and knees. We took her to the pedi and he said eczema. We were shocked. We eliminated those foods and it went away. Thus began our process. We would introduce/eliminate one thing at a time.

  6. I can’t believe it’s the 4th week of summer either. We haven’t done one thing on our (my) family summer bucket list. It’s not really a bucket list but I want to do things that make me think of summer, like take advantage of free concerts, going to parks more often, swimming, etc..

    1. My summer bucket list is also left mostly unchecked. My kids have Great America season passes (from their grandmother) and Santa Cruz boardwalk passes and we haven’t been to either yet!

  7. We have achieved homeostasis with eczema!! It IS possible! After about a year of little to no break outs we tried a different (a bit cheaper) soap made by the same company and it came back with a vengeance! So! She will be using Aveeno baby eczema soap and lotion until she moves out of my house, at which time it will be up to her, hahaha!! So far the sunscreen the dermatologist recommended last year hasn’t caused a flair up or anything!! I have not added dairy back to her diet, I hate seeing her miserable so I’m too scared to try, plus her dad and grandpa have significant dairy reactions, (stomach wise) so it’s better for them if I just continue to cook dairy free. I hope that brings you some hope anyway! I know MANY tears have been shed in this house because of eczema, (probably mostly mine) so I would have been grateful to hear of a light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. I am grateful to hear there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s dim, but it’s there.

      How did you find out your daughter’s eczema was caused by dairy. If my kid’s eczema were caused by dairy or wheat there would literally be nothing left for him to eat. NOTHING. I’m too scared to find out, honestly.

      1. You would be surprised actually. G is the pickiest eater in all the land and still manages to have super awesome meals.
        Our story is long and complicated, with blood tests and elimination diets. What really brought it across was when we had her drinking lactaid and she became lethargic and so, so, BLAH. As soon as we took her off that she did so much better. Then when she was 3 she had chocolate she said; Sometimes these make my belly hurt mom. and didn’t want anymore. I mean, you don’t refuse chocolate if it’s not dire. It’s not the lactose it’s the COW. She can actually have goat and sheep milk products, and because she doesn’t remember the cow version she does very well with it. There’s multiple choices for cheeses, yogurts, milks, butters. It’s actually not that hard for me to cook dairy free anymore. And it helps the sensitive bellies of those that were my biggest doubters, so ha ha.

        The trip to the dermatologist was VERY enlightening if only for the following sentence, it’s what helped family members get onboard with it all…. She has eczema, regardless of what she eats, it will always be there. However some things will cause flair ups of it. Soaps, foods, sunscreens, etc. Dairy is one of those for G.

        She had previously been tested for all kinds of allergies, while in the middle of a giant rashy stage, and tested negative for all of it. I cried. For quite awhile. I mean I thought she was going to have scars the rashes were so bad. And no answer in sight. So believe me when I tell you how awesome it is to be where we are now. Tell me his favorite meals and I can see if I can make them dairy free. (you’re on your own with gluten, haha!!)

  8. Don’t worry…you weren’t the only person not picnicking or doing fireworks. We were celebrating my mother-in-laws birthday. Awesome.

    Your birthday weekend sounds freakin’ fantastic. I sometimes feel guilty how excited I get about a night/weekend without the kids. Why? Don’t do that! Enjoy it and take plenty of pics!

    1. Haha. The only thing worse than doing nothing is doing that. . I’m sorry.

      Is it bad that I DON’T feeling guilty for being SUPER excited that I’m spending some time away from my kids? Maaaaaaybe if I were working full time right now I’d feel a tiny smidgeon of guilty, but with as much as I’ve been seeing them, I don’t feel any at all. I’M COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS!!!!

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