Taking Care

Once upon an evening, I was left alone with 7 cats (one sick), 1 dog, 3 stinking (I mean that literally) children, two loads of laundry, and one unmade dinner.

It sounds typical, I know. But for some reason, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming emotions that were hitting me from all angles, and as the now-bathed-and-not-stinky kids ran circles around each other both fighting and laughing at the same time… I pulled a load of wet laundry from the washer and moved it to the dryer. It seems simple enough, but I had an outright BREAKDOWN.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.

My emotions took over reality, and I bought it. I gave into them and sat in the OVERWHELMEDNESS of it all. It felt something like this:

(PS: anyone want a cat? It’s obviously adorable?)

I stepped over the clothes left on the floor by the kids, the pencils, crayons, toys, dolls, and various kitchen utensils left on the floor by my littlest and I pulled dinner out of the oven. Dinner was tostada shells covered in cheese with a slight sprinkling of green chili because HEY! veggies.
Gotta feed the dog before the sun goes down. Gotta get the kittens food away from the bigger cats… gotta keep the –
“HEY, get the kitties OUT of the house!”
Make sure the reading is done. Did we read? Did that happen? Check homework. What’s for breakfast? Remember to check the cupboard for applesauce for Lacy’s lunch tomorrow.
“Alice, no choking… the kitty is sick.”
Pick up the bath towel… what’s it doing on the table?
“Turn the TV OFF. I didn’t say we could turn it on. Is your homework in your folder?” I repeat my rhythmic instructions, “Homework in your folder, folder in your -”
“Back pack,” the two older kids drone out methodically.
Open the door to feed the dog, the kittens run inside. Put them back out. Close the door quickly. Don’t step on them…
Gotta let the dog out, hope Alice isn’t choking the kitty inside.
Open the door to go back in, the kitten sneak in. Catch them, put them back out.

I put a tostada on a styrofoam plate and put it in front of my son.
“Oh, EW,” he shook his head.
The sick kitten cried out from her box.
The healthy kittens cried out in reply from their cheeky little hiding spot between the screen and front door.
Alice cried out. Because that’s what Alice does always.

I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.

I washed dishes because there weren’t any clean and promised the kids they would FINALLY have a pair of clean jeans in the morning. They rejoiced.
I stared at the wall, unable to either eat or ask the kids what their favorite part of the day was.

“I want to go to bed and not eat,” my son said, turning his nose up at the green chilies, which AS WE ALL KNOW are FAIRLY FATAL.
I looked at the clock. 7:30.
“Okay, but you can’t get out or get any kind of treat,” I said.
“That’s fine!” He popped up and bounced into his room.
I don’t understand boys…

I sprayed the girls’ hair with detangler and brushed. They hated me. I hated hair. They needed to get in bed, and Alice refused to sleep. But it was 8 pm and I NEEDED SLEEP. If you put Alice in her play pen (her bed), she will climb out. She will kick one little leg HIGH up until it catches on the top bar of her play pen, and then she’ll hoist herself up and slide right on out. She’ll walk proudly into the living room, VERY awake and say, “HI, HONEY!”
Who can put her right back to bed after THAT? I’m not able to, as yet. I decided to buckle her in her high chair and put a movie on until she drifted off. She KNEW what I was doing and openly rebelled. Kick, scream, flail.
She reached her perfect little hand up and FORCIBLY PINCHED whatever she could get it on, and all I’m going to say is that NO MAN will ever understand the pain a child can inflict on a woman’s chesticles.

I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.

Kids were finally in bed. ish.

I needed to email my husband…
We try to “check in” with each other every day. We run through a list.
How are you physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially? What victory have you had today?

He’s out of town, so I email tonight’s check in.
I can’t do this. Children. Kittens. Cheese.
Laundry. Out of baby shampoo. Pencils.

I let out a ragged breath and signed off.
Then I took a deep breath back in and reread what I’d written, and everything became clear. The cat pee, the art supplies, the microwave dinner. I highlighted My Gigantic Rant and hit “delete.” I started over.

Physically: I am overwhelmed and haven’t done anything to take care of myself. When you’re home tomorrow, I’ll need you to take the kids for the evening so I can go away.

I spent the next evening lapping the track at the school, shaking off the emotions that had piled over the course of a week and a half of no self-care. I went with a buddy, and we laughed and talked and laughed and talked. I drove away feeling the wonderful effects of the emotional detox and then drove straight to a convenience store for chocolate.
But when I pulled up, I realized the inside of the truck was SILENT. So I just sat there. I took a breath and no one hit anyone. I closed my eyes and no one pinched anything. There were no hungry kittens, no dinner needing to be made. NO ONE NEEDED ME BUT ME.
I opened up my gospel library app and read Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians, took screen shots, texted them out. He is wonderful with words.

There’s a few authors that are SO WONDERFUL with words that my heart speeds up when I read them: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron (why are all of these people dead?!)… Paul is one of those people.
2 Corinthians 5: 6-8
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Does anyone else laugh when an emoticon shows up in ancient books? For we walk by faith, not by sight. SMILEY FACE.
Reading those words brought on a sort of pep-rally from inside of my soul, and I decided to go home WITHOUT chocolate. I knew what I really needed, and it was dinner. I went home and ate steamed broccoli and baked chicken. I drank filtered water. I went to bed by 10.

And the world makes sense again. I’m BOSH at remembering to take care of myself, and when I don’t, my emotions take the driver’s seat and I end up having a melt down in my sweats in the middle of the laundry room while the baby chokes the sick kitten and my two children choke each other.
Or something like that.

My goal this week is to spend at least 30 minutes each day taking care of myself: eating something healthy, going for a walk, taking a shower (yes, that counts. These days, that counts).
What am I going to do today? A nap. Why? Because I stayed up past one watching an 80’s cult flick.
It happens.

In other news, here’s some words to make your heart speed up:


Makes me think of my sweet little Lacy who tells us each night who she gave smiles to :)

Thomas Moore--inspirational quote

Flannery O'Connor

#BiggestLoser motivation!

Mother Teresa

Anais Nin


There's no place like it.

one of my favorite quotes


Okay, I need to stop.  I could go on like this forever.  What is it about words that makes me go nutsy?  There’s so much magic in words.  So many right answers.

Maybe for self-care I should WRITE instead of sleep?  Survey says? YES.

(but because I want to add a million more, I’ll pacify myself with linking up to my pinterest board with ALL THE WORDS.)

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