Struggling

Sorry for the absence from this space. Things have been hectic and at the end of the day I just don’t feel like writing much.

The reality is I’m kind of struggling right now and I don’t write much anymore when I’m struggling. I’ve learned not to put myself out there in certain ways–my words have been used against me too many times, even by people who claim to understand that this space is mine and that what is said here does not represent who I am. I just don’t feel comfortable writing some things, and that is probably for the best.

My daughter’s first day of Kindergarten was… challenging. She got sick the day before and was running a fever of 101. I was heartsick because I know how important the first day, especially for a kid who gets herself worked up into an emotional mess before big transitions. So the next morning when she woke up with a hellacious cough and a continued fever I dumped a bunch of acetaminophen down her throat and sent her off even though she felt like shit. Once it was clear I wasn’t going to accept the “I’m sick” excuse she started crying that she was “really nervous.” Obviously she had a cold, but I wonder if some of the fever wasn’t a result of her emotional turmoil. She has missed two of her own birthday celebrations (they had to be cancelled) because she got sick the night before. I think she may be the kind of kid that works herself up so much she has a physical reaction. (I used to be like that.)

She was in much better shape when I picked her up. She said she loved Kindergarten and that her teacher is super nice.

It’s gone downhill since then. Now the afternoon/evening is peppered with reasons she hates Kindergarten and hates After Care even more. It’s been a hard transition for her, to be sure.

We also started the no additives diet. I’ve communicated to the after school program that she can’t eat their snacks and I send her with her own. This has already caused some problems (my daughter getting upset because she can’t have the gummies they are eating), but honestly I’d rather start now so they get used to it from the beginning, even though it probably makes my daughter hate after care more.

I drafted an email to my in-laws about the diet but my husband has to check it before we send it. I don’t think they are going to take it very well. They will surely have many judgement laden questions to ask. I just hope they follow it, even if they do judge us.

I was hoping we’d see some positive changes in the first days but so far there hasn’t been much to show for our efforts. If anything this week has been harder than most, but I suppose that is to be expected.

Also, this particular diet eliminates a lot of fruits because they contain salicylates, which some children are sensitive to. Unfortunately almost all the fruits my daughter actually eats are on the no-no list (apples, grapes, oranges, berries of any kind). She doesn’t eat any vegetables so if we take these out she will get no fruits or veggies except banana and mango (neither of which she is willing to eat right now). We decided not to take them out completely for the time being, and if we’ve seen no improvement in four weeks we’ll take them out for a month and see if that helps.

I will admit that after an initial period of not expecting this to help, I suddenly was sure it would be our ticket out of this struggle. Now, I’m back to feeling like it probably won’t do anything but drive my shopping budget up a couple hundred dollars a month. Honestly right now I’m feeling pretty hopeless.

Speaking of my budget, I know I am a couples weeks deliquent on posting my spending and honestly, I’m not sure when, or even if, it’s going to happen. The reality is I’m in a pretty negative head space about it (that and a lot of things) and it’s becoming a source of personal resentment, not inspiration or accountability. So I’m just tabling it until I’m out of this headspace. I know it was helpful for a lot of reasons–and I still want and need to focus on my spending to improve our financial situation–but I’m kind of done putting my spending on display to be judged. It’s not that anyone said anything that upset me, it’s just a lot of pressure to put up every transaction I make. I think it was causing me undue stress and I either have to stop doing it or enter a different mindset about it.

So yeah, I’m struggling. With a lot of things. I knew the transition back to school would be hard for all of us but I did not anticipate it being this hard. And I’m not comfortable really going into how deep or dark this hole is right now. The one thing I do know is I’ll climb out. I always do. My dark times are cyclical and I always cycle lowest at the start of a new school year which is a very stressful, uncertain time. Add in my daughter’s stress and it’s no surprise I’m feeling this way. I just need to trudge through and eventually I’ll find myself on the other side. In the meantime a lot of reading and TV watching will happen in place of writing, because I’ve learned that writing doesn’t help me out of this kind of space, it mostly leads to me posting something I later regret.

Who knows, maybe tomorrow I’ll regret this.

27 Comments

  1. If writing the budget posts does nothing positive for you right now, by all means, don’t write them. None of us have time for things that just add to the stress. You have more important things to spend your time on, like grocery shopping. 😉

    I’m sorry kindergarten isn’t going well. It will get better. I was a very emotional child who cried ALL.THE.TIME and especially before school most mornings. It got better every year. Hang in there!

    1. I honestly wouldn’t mind as much if she cried, but it sucks when she’s angry and aggressive. That is harder to approach with empathy than crying. 😉

  2. I hope you don’t regret this. It’s a snapshot of how you’re feeling at the moment, and I can understand that. You’ve a lot to deal with, and the budget issues and posts on top of that just burden you further. If writing doesn’t help you out of a dark space, then don’t beat yourself up for not posting. I think we should write because it helps us – either figure something out, or to get support, or simply not to feel alone. If it becomes just another thing that’s too hard, then give it a break till you’ll get benefit from it again.

    Sending hugs.

    1. I used to think writing helped me out of a dark place, now I wonder if it helps me perpetuate it. I think it depends on what is going on. But I don’t expect myself to write when I don’t want to anymore. And that has been very freeing.

  3. I used to get really sick before major events I was anxious about. I went to summer camp for years and had a love-hate relationship with it and often got sick the night before. Before a 9th grade rafting trip about which I was extremely anxious, I got really sick and even threw up on the bus ride to the river. Which didn’t embarrass me as much as it should have.

    1. I am surprised her body can respond with an actual fever but as it happens more and more I actually think that is what is happening. Especially when she seemed SO MUCH BETTER after he first day. Her fever was completely gone and it never came back (although the cough lingered).

  4. Lots of support. You are doing hard things and the start of school is stressful for teachers and students. As always I am impressed by your courage, determination and perseverance. In two months you will know about the diet thing. Just like 2 months showed you what you wanted to learn this summer about spending for right now. The dark will lift and we will cheer on your behalf. Fingers crossed this weekend has laughter lined up for all of you … and your wonderful commentators.

    1. You’re right that we’ll know something in two months. I think I’m just a little scared about what we’ll know (my two months of budget work revealed some pretty upsetting realities about our financial situation. What if two months of this diet reveal that it diet isn’t a solution to our problem? Then what?)

      1. It took us 6 weeks on this diet before we saw any real changes. Keep at it and be super strict, then you can add things back in as soon as she is clean. And if it’s one food on the diet that she likes, just stick with that for now. Don’t worry about variety as much as consistency.

        1. That is really good to know. I have to say, I’m worried I won’t know if we’re being strict enough because she is with so many other people during the days and I can’t trust her not to eat other things. I’m worried it’s not worth the effort since I don’t have complete control.

  5. I so rarely comment here, although I do often read. I just wanted to offer some moral support. As many other have said, you’re under no obligation to do anything you don’t want to (in terms of the budgeting or writing, etc.). I often have to remind myself that we cannot and should not survive on inertia alone – we need to constantly be asking ourselves, “is this what I want?” If the answer is no, then definitely stop!

    I also wanted to say that, as the child of two teachers, back-to-school was always a very stressful time in our lives. It’s a huge transition that lasts longer than we even realize, as even the prep work (planning for my parents, buying supplies and clothes for all of us, etc.) begins well in advance. My sister, in particular, was quite sensitive to it all. She would literally get a stomachache whenever she would see my mom’s gradebook (this was the 80s and early 90s) out in those days leading up to school. And the day that my dad started his summer football practice she was impossible to deal with. By the time we were in high school it got to be a joke, like, “Oh, Dad’s got his first 2-a-day practices, so don’t even BOTHER trying to talk to [big sister],” but it was very real anxiety for her. So, I don’t really know what my point is, but I guess just that transitions and beginnings are hard.

    1. Thank you for the moral support, and for helping me understand that other kids have a hard time with these transitions as well. That is actually really, really comforting to me.

  6. The start of kindergarten is really hard! And unfortunately, it takes a long time to get better. I’m sorry to say that, as it is SO tiring, but at least you’re not alone.

    And I relate so much to the feeling that you can’t put things out there without them being turned against you. I hope you have another positive outlet for your feelings, though.

    1. Thank you for reminding me how hard it is. I think I can forget when all I see on FB is the smiles of the first day and I hear from other moms how much their kids love it and how great a time they are having. I kind of did feel alone–it helps a lot to know that I’m (we’re) not.

    2. I do have another positive outlet for me feelings, thank goodness. Emails to people I trust with my fragile self have been a life saver right now.

  7. I’m sorry you’re struggling. Really really hoping it gets better soon. If the budgeting posts were stressing you out, definitely no need to add another stressor to your life. I agree with above, the transitions are hard for most, even if facebook posts don’t reveal it. I think we expect too much from our kids when we think they’ll adapt to a brand new routine within a few days. Imagine if you started a new job and didn’t know anymore? Wouldn’t you feel “off” for a while, until you got your bearings? And our kids don’t have the emotional skills to do anything but freak out. I also agree that her telling you that she was nervous actually speaks to more maturity/understanding of her feelings than most kids her age, as well as trust in you. B’s answer to me about why he’s freaking out is always “nufthing” “i dunno” “go away”.

    1. You’re right that we expect too much from our kids. I know I do. I’m trying hard not to, to meet my daughter where she is. I’m getting better and better at it but a lot of times I’m really off the mark.

  8. I hope your daughter is feeling better. In regards to the in-laws, I feel you…they may scoff, they may judge, but the bottom line is, you’re the parent, you’re doing what’s best (even though their attitude may be displayed differently) and honestly, they had their chance with their kids. {sorry, my inlaws are exactly the same way}

    Lots of support headed your way. I know right now you feel hopeless right now but just think, in a few months you’ll say, I did the right thing.

    1. I actually believe I may be saying that I did the right thing in the next few months. It feels good to have hope.

  9. The Kid didn’t get the hang of preschool 2 days a week for a month and it took more like 3 for kindergarten. Her after care was actually the worst part but we didn’t know that until the middle of the school year. I am hopeful adapting will get easier as time goes on.

    1. Yeah, the after care situation really is tricky. It’s clear I’m going to have to do more to make sure she is being treated well there. I’ve heard more disturbing things over the weekend…

  10. We had to stop our after care in pre-k b/c D couldn’t handle it and was acting out. It was frustrating and sad. I felt so bad for him. D’s first day of 1st grade was Monday and even though he denied being nervous (new school building, new class, new classmates), he was clingy and kept hiding his face and then when I picked him up that afternoon, he came out sobbing because he thought I was going to leave him there. Oy.

    1. Yeah. It’s been hard hearing that she hates after care. This second week has been better. I hope it keeps getting better. I’m sorry D had a hard time at his. That is so tough.

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