Over the past two months, I have had increasing problems with tension headaches, sleeplessness, and neck mobility. (I hesitate to call any sleeplessness “insomnia” largely because when I go to bed, I do fall asleep; and if I wake up due to one of my children *cough*Bun*cough*, it’s more a matter of being kicked in the kidneys keeping me up, although I do have the occasional racing thoughts at 4 a.m.)
I took the opportunity over the weekend to see if my sister, whom I will now be referring to as Dr. Sis, could help me out with the neck thing. Using a combination of massage therapy and chiropractic, she worked on my neck for upwards of an hour Saturday and Sunday. I’m a tough patient, it turns out.
She adjusted my hips and back as well, which she thinks will help with my neck, too. But she was pretty honest: I have muscular and skeletal issues that are going to need care. She thinks there is some degeneration going on, as well. She prescribed daily heat and stretching. I should probably find a chiropractor, too, huh? My free adjustments will cease — or become far in between times — when she moves to Wilmington, NC.
She also warned me: “You’re going to be pretty sore.”
Boy, she wasn’t kidding. Between the ride back to Pittsburgh with two over-tired children who would not just pass out already and those adjustments, I was in considerable pain when I finally pulled into my driveway. DearDR was supposed to take over as POD (and I was supposed to go to a blogging event on the South Side), but his high-school friend who is living in Arizona was visiting, so that didn’t happen. Fortunately, my MIL once more rode to the rescue by serving dinner to everyone (Earthmom and her family were on the compound as well), and my SIL and BIL-IL took all the kids for a nature walk, so I took to my bed for about an hour with a heating pad and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (yeah, I know, I’m behind).
The major issue (it seems to me) is that when I have stress/anxiety issues, I tend to “store” them in the muscles of my neck and shoulders. In thinking about this more in depth, I keep coming up against: WTF do I have to be stressed out about, really?
Yes, we had repeated bouts of strep throat this summer — as a matter of fact, summing up my summer at my Aunt M’s 70th birthday party a couple of weeks ago went like this: a month of two rounds with strep, and a week in Cape Cod. Then lots and lots of other travel and activities coming up — a spa weekend for me, trips to Seven Springs a couple of different weekends, sundry summer stuff — into August. Plus the usual stressors: full-time work, paying bills, raising children — my wonderful, adorable, challenging children — maintaining a relationship with my equally overworked husband.
This is normal life, I tell myself. Why am I such a basket case? None of us (and I’m counting my parents and my ILs here) are dealing with life-threatening health issues (knock on wood); my children are not special needs children, or even particularly high needs; my husband and I are employed and have health insurance; we have a roof over our heads. Heck, we get to do things like take road trips to Erie, Seven Springs, and Cape Cod. I have good friends with whom I enjoy spending time; I have good family, ditto. Yeah, we still have debt issues, but they are resolving and not getting worse.
What is wrong with me that I find the relentlessness of my children so very exhausting sometimes? And their screaming — oh my gosh, the screaming has to stop. Even when it is in fun, it makes me crazy. They are so bloody shrill, my girls. The drama, too, simply escalates. I tell Monkey I can’t talk to her right now, and she wails about how no one ever is going to talk to her ever again. When things aren’t going Bun’s way, she stomps off in a pout and says, “I’m not playing with you guys.” Which, adorable, but so not to be encouraged.
At one point in Erie, I was on the back porch of my parents’ house with my mom and Dr. Sis. The girls were in the back yard. I was yelling down to them: “Bun, where are your shoes? Monkey, don’t climb that tree. It’s too little! Stop feeding the dog berries from that bush!” (Monkey’s response to that last one, “I’m just giving him the berries to play with.”)
My mom chuckled. “That’s your life, pretty much, isn’t it?” she asked me.
Yeah, it is my life. A constant barrage of guiding and asking and telling and saying no and re-direction (when I remember). And in response, pouts and yelling and reasoning that isn’t reasonable and (occasionally) “okay, mama”. (On the nail-biting thing with Monkey: “Monkey, stop biting your nails.” “I like them really short.” “Well, I’ll cut them, then. Just tell me when you want me to.” “Well, this is how I cut them.” “Monkey, that’s a bad habit. It doesn’t look nice.” “I like my nails to be really short.” *headpalm*)
Each Monday finds me more tired and feeling the need for more catch up — on laundry, on husband time, on sleep, on cleaning, on me time. At this point, I’m thinking of just throwing it all in until they are in college. Maybe I can start playing catch up then.
Count down to Spa Day (standing in for Girlie Weekend this year): Five days.
Also, this “news” article from CNN.com makes me want to go kick some ass. Full-time parenting is a grind? Really? [Insert swear words of choice here.] My heart bleeds. With apologies to the full-time dads I know out there. Who get it, and don’t need a news article to point out what moms have been saying for centuries.