Home Stretch

We’re so close I can taste it.

I can also taste bile at the back of my mouth. I hate this time of year.

Things are super stressful. There is so much to do, and I’m exhausted. My daughter is struggling mightily with the transition from her regular Kindergarten routine to attending camp. Picking her up is an absolute nightmare in which she’s insolent and blatantly refuses to do anything I ask (like put her shoes on so we can go the fuck home) and I eventually lose my shit and drag her out by the arm at 6pm, under the judging eyes of parents and camp counselors alike. It’s awesome.

There is food to order for her birthday party. Presents to wrap. A scavenger hunt to write clues for. A jumpy house to confirm. Money to throw in a million different directions. And a daughter who, instead of being excited and grateful for her big celebration is melting down because her best friend’s party is the day before hers and she’ll be getting her presents a full 24 hours before my daughter gets any. Never mind that her friend is only having three girls over to her house and my daughter’s party has swollen to massive proportions. Never mind that my daughter will be getting tons of presents THE NEXT DAY. My daughter actually asked me if she could not go to her best friend’s party because just knowing her friend was getting presents when she wasn’t was more than she could handle. This is EXACTLY why I didn’t want her to be getting presents at all. It just not seem like a healthy fixation of being given things.

My house is a mess. My husband is taking both kids to daycare and camp every morning and is totally stressed out. I’m leaving later for work than I want to make sure they’re all ready to leave on time every morning. I’m falling behind on grading papers at work. At night my husband and I don’t really talk; he reads comics on the couch, neglecting the dishes and other mess in the kitchen, and I stumble out of my daughter’s room at 9:30pm after bedtime, finish up the laundry and other necessary chores and fall into bed.

Have I mentioned that I hate this time of year? Why does my daughter’s birthday have to fall in the final weeks of my school year? WHY?!

It has been confirmed, at work, that I’ll be teaching on both campuses next year. Evidently they CAN make me do it, and that is my schedule, as far as admin is concerned. Whether or not I can teach Spanish to the 6th graders instead of World Languages on the computer is still up in the air; one administrator says one thing, and another says something else. Neither seems very sure of themselves. I guess I need to make a meeting with the people at the new school and figure out what room I’ll be using, what resources are available to me, and what I can spend to buy the supplies I need. I’ll be teaching 1st period at the other middle school and 3rd through 6th at my own. The other middle school starts later than mine, which is good for the morning routine at home with my family (I can still bring my daughter to school, which wouldn’t have been possible next year otherwise) but bad for transferring between the campuses (there is only about 20 minutes for me to pack up and make the 10 minute drive). So yeah, that is happening. I still don’t really believe it.

By next Tuesday so much of this stress will be resolved, the biggest hurdle being my daughter’s birthday party. (This is definitely the last time we throw a big one for her, next year she can have something small, or nothing at all.) But others will linger. I need to remember that it’s not all unicorn farts and fairy queefs once the school year ends.

My school year if over in a week and a half. I know I can do it. I also know I’ll be miserable until it gets done. And then I have this hellacious schedule to get ready for next year. God, I wish I had looked for another job (and yes, I’m still looking, but so far no full-time Spanish positions have been posted in the area).

But we also have St. Louis to look forward to, and just the general slowing down of summer. I need it so bad, but I can already feel myself getting tense as I realize it’s not going to be enough to undo the knots that have tightened in my neck and shoulders. The breaks are never enough to get me back to where I want to be; my life if just not sustainable right now and I need to make more big changes so that I’m not always racing for the next break. I just don’t know if I can make the necessary changes. I don’t even know what they are.

Sorry for this stress dump, but I needed to put it somewhere, otherwise I might go crazy from circles it all keeps running in my head.

One and a half more weeks and then I can breath. Then it will get better. I can do anything for one and half weeks.

10 Comments

  1. its of support for you through these next days. And then through the end of the week as everyone moves to summer schedule.
    Glad your husband is doing both children to school even though it totally stresses him out and he stops functioning when he gets home. First praise him, then ask what would help him in the evening so you are also less stressed. Does he set up a “out the door in the morning” hot landing spot for himself and each child in the evening before bed? Ask him if doing that would reduce his chaos in the morning. Note I said HE set up the hot landing spot not you. Remind him you know he is counting down the days TOO until summer and no school for you arrives. Yes, catering to the man ~ which ought not be necessary ~ but he grew up in an old school tradition so it is harder for him than for some other men…….. like those who are single parenting which some men do very well.
    The whole mess of commuting between two schools sounds terrible for everyone. However if they only want you to ‘monitor’ a computer program class, maybe that will be an ‘easy’ prep for you. Be sure to complain loudly if all computers are not fully operational each morning when you arrive…. document and turn in the information to office each week if things are not in order. Politely of course, no blame just the loud facts ma’m.
    Next year with older children will get easier. Tell daughter she can open one gift morning of her friend’s party, HOPE birthday girl does not open gifts at party…. that is one modern tradition (opening later) that I really approve of as it reduces the stresses on everyone.
    Ask the camp counselors to help her have her shoes on in advance of your arrival and please believe me the other parents are not ‘judging’, they are being grateful that THIS time it isn’t their kid; because the truth is sometimes it IS their kid. Hopefully this will reduce your stress. I’d say let the child go barefoot and then clean their feet before entering the house except I do know syringes and poop and other nastiness is real on SF streets/sidewalks. Would flip-flops for coming home be easier to get on her feet? Bet you already thought of that.
    HUGE sympathy!!!!! HUGER SUPPORT.

  2. I hope you feel better having gotten all of that out! It does sound like a lot. And here I was, wishing one of my kids had a summer birthday.

  3. I’ve always wished one of my kids had a summer birthday, too, because I wanted to have a simple outdoor party! But I see how it being in the middle of your craziest time of year is a tough.
    Man, that is a LOT of stuff. I’m glad your husband is taking both kids to school for a few weeks, even though its hard on him. This way, when he only has to take one (or gets a break from taking either), he’ll realize how easy he has it! But I do hate that you have to be the one putting the kids to bed AND doing the evening chores.
    I hope Tuesday comes very fast for you, and I hope writing this was a relief in some way!

  4. I keep thinking of your post and remembering that sense of absolute desperation. IT DOES GET BETTER. Honest. You WILL get through this.
    Birthdays for children are ALWAYS hard and emotionally fraught and I swear every year culturally we make it a bigger and bigger deal and children learn the pressures involved about who is invited and gifts and cakes and the whole shebang.
    When is your midwest vacation? I am so looking forward to your having it…. and it means you won’t post which I shall hate but I want you to go anyway.
    SUPPORT is sent!!!!!!

  5. Sending lots of virtual support over the next few days as you deal with all of this. It sounds super stressful. I hope writing it out helped.

  6. Wow, that all sounds so stressful! I can’t imagine! I can’t believe you have to teach at two campuses next year, it seems insane!

    I hope the next two weeks fly by with a minimum of stress! And tell your husband to do the dishes. If mine can after a 16 hour day…so can yours!

  7. I’m a little surprised as to why you expect your six/seven year old daughter to be grateful for her party. She’s not going to have any concept of the fact that it’s something to be grateful about, through no fault of her own (or yours), as she’s seven and in a Western society where ALL the kids have similar celebrations.
    Also I think it is fairly mature of her to recognise that her friend getting presents is going to be upsetting for her and she doesn’t want to go…. Lots of small kids have trouble regulating their emotions. It just seems like you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect Dalai Lama esque values from a child in a Western society, it will come with time and maturity, just enjoy the party.

    1. I don’t expect her to be grateful for her party, I expect her to be able to wait another 24 hours after her friends’ party until she gets her own heaping mountain of presents, especially when her friend was just getting three presents. But maybe that is too much for a kid growing up in Western Society to manage.

      1. You seem quite disappointed that she isn’t grateful as in your post above.
        Give her a break, she’s 7.
        Also if she realises it upsets her seeing her friend getting presents and she decides not to expose herself to it, isn’t that a smart move on her part?
        She likes presents and she likes presents for herself, sounds like a normal kid.

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