Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feeling Like the Titanic - in More Ways than One.

I need a makeover. Spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally. I am a wreck. And because I’m so far from where I want to be in all of those areas, when I think about all I want to change, I get overwhelmed. I start to feel like I’m drowning, and with every attempt to get my head above water, I push myself further and further beneath the surface. Glub. Glub. Glub. Glub.

I am a Catholic. I was raised Catholic. I’ve never not been Catholic. I went through my phases in college and young-adulthood where I certainly wasn’t living a very Catholic lifestyle - but I always felt very bad about it. I never considered not being Catholic. I like being Catholic. So it would stand to reason that I am happiest when I’m being a good Catholic. Now, of course, this could mean lots of things to lots of people – even within circles of “good Catholics.” To me, it means not only fulfilling the bare minimum obligations of going to church on Sundays and holy days, going to confession once a year, receiving communion, etc. Those things are a given. For me, what I aspire to is a more meaningful prayer life (read: a prayer life, period.) I want to take what I have learned from the Gospel and the lives of the saints and implement those things in my own life. I want to lead a life that, even if I were on hidden camera, anyone watching would know I was a Catholic and I could be proud of my behavior. This is not, um, currently the case.

I’ve been at the same weight, within 5 lbs., for about 2 years. My mother congratulates me on this. “Wow! You’re so good at maintaining your weight!” Sigh. Yes. I suppose I am. The problem is, this is not the weight I want to maintain. I want to get down another 10-15 lbs. and then maintain that weight. The problem isn’t a lack of knowledge, or lack of a plan, or trying so hard and nothing working. The problem is me. I am the self-sabotage master! I am a pro at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I will lose a pound and then hope I'll somehow continue to coast downward while I scarf down several handfuls of spicy almonds, and chocolate cake, and ice cream. I end up feeling like a blubbery, roly-poly, jiggly marshmallow. Boooo.

Sucking at so much takes a toll on a person. It gets inside your head that you suck, and then you can’t hear anything else. Every kid’s whine, every dirty dish, every dusty surface, every lame text message adds its voice to the one in your head. It’s a chorus of “yoooooouuuuuu suuuuuuccccckkkkk.” And repeatedly hearing that you suck might possibly, if you're someone like me, make you cry. Cry, cry, cry. Last night, I thought I lost my ipod. Even worse, I thought it was stolen by the 2-year-old, which pretty much meant I would never see it again. I spent a good half hour - after everyone had gone to bed and after I should have been in bed - searching and bawling, bawling and searching. I wasn't crying JUST about the ipod, of course, but it certainly set things in motion.

I can't think straight lately. I'm easily distracted. I miss the point of jokes and cause trouble when I say "what?" too many times. I'm listening, I just don't get what people are saying!! I tried calculating the difference in race times the other day and got it wrong. A very simple problem, and I didn't even catch the mistake until several days later. I used to be a math whiz, of sorts. I got a 730 on my math SAT's (a few <ahem> years ago). And now I can't subtract??  I even misplace things - like ipods.*

I'm at a point where I feel like Frances at a certain part in Under the Tuscan Sun. I tried to edit down this video, but couldn't. The part I'm talking about is from 6:52-7:55. (But I do recommend the whole movie. It's one of my favorites!)

"You're sad! Again! You're like a big black hole!"

Yes, that's me. A big black hole of misery. I'm feeling hopeless and crappy and crappy and hopeless. And bitchy.

Sigh.  I attribute a lot of these feelings to PMS, but I hate to say "PMS" because I don’t think most people take it seriously. I think it’s safe to say that 90% of the world sees PMS the way it’s caricatured in sitcoms. “Yeah, yeah, yeah – it must be her time of the month. What a bitch!” But for me, and surely others(?), it’s a very real internal warzone that wreaks havoc on every aspect of my life. It’s not as simple as being in a bad mood. I feel like a completely different person who can’t get out of my own way, and I can’t sidestep the nastiness no matter how hard I try. (Please tell me I am NOT alone in this!!)

Remember in the movie E.T., how the flower - what was that? a marigold? - was somehow directly connected to E.T.'s well-being? When he was dying, the flower was dying; when he was coming back to life, the flower perked right up, and that's how Eliot knew he was going to be ok. Well, if you would like to know the state of my well-being - emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, whatever - take a look at the state of my house. If it's a mess, I'm probably a mess, too. If it's neat and tidy, then chances are I'm probably in pretty good shape, too. And I'm not sure which begets which, but it's probably a chicken-or-egg scenario. It doesn't really matter which comes first, though. Messy house = messy life. And right now, my house looks like someone turned it on its side, then upside-down, then right-side-up again.  Everything is kinda in the right place, but none of it's good.  It, like me, is a wreck.

So, if I can't fix me, I'll fix my house. I'll focus on these external things and hope to be miraculously internally transformed. I'll doing laundry. I'll sweep the kitchen. I'll clean the playroom. It will keep me busy and, more importantly, it will restore some of my sanity. And sanity is a good place to start.

*After finally giving up and going to bed, I found my ipod in my nightstand drawer - just where I had left it the night before.  Glub.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Much To-Do About Nothing

Whoooooops! I guess I forgot about this blog for a few days. So much for the 30-day challenge. But it's all good. I don't think I've disappointed too many readers (LOL!!) and I'm here now, so...

Today I want to talk about...[<pause> decide what you want to write about and then continue like it was your plan all along.]... Daily To-Do's! Ah yes, that's what I want to talk about!

I have been struggling with this for days, weeks, months - maybe even years. For me, it's not enough that things get done. It's not enough that they get done when they get done as long as they get done. No. I need things on a schedule so I know they'll get done *when* they're supposed to get done. They'll be done by the correct person at the correct time. My house will run like a well-oiled machine because every chore is clearly outlined on a calendar from now until the end of time!

<sigh.> Only in my dreams. And ok - that sounds a little crazy now that I type it out in black and white. But I do like things ordered. I do like things neat & tidy - - not just my house, but the manner in which I run my house. And it's not because I'm a control freak. Or, I should say, it's not just because I'm a control freak. It is also because I, like most people, don't enjoy chores and cleaning, and the more "automated" those kinds of tasks become, the less time they take to do, the less of a big deal they are, and the faster you can get on with life. And by life, I mean all the stuff we WANT to do!

But here's the problem. Every time I come up with a system, part of it works and part of it doesn't. So I keep readjusting and reformulating and redesigning, and we end up with NO PLAN AT ALL. If I were my kids, I'd get pretty frustrated that I couldn't just pick something and stick with it. But they're young and they'd get in trouble if they told me that, so I'm safe for another year or two.

My latest plan involves a large magnetic white board. Ideally, this is what will be on it for each new day:
  • the day of the week
  • the date
  • the day's forecasted weather (so the kids know what to wear)
  • the day's planned dinner (so I'm forced to think about it before 4:59pm)
  • each person's chores/plans for the day
  • any additional notes about that day (birthday party, playdate, holiday, etc.)

It will be a nice little (ok, not-so-little) hub of information for the whole family. Some things (the weather, dinner) will just be for reference. Others (everyone's chores) will be for checking off. The kids will know what they need to do (without being nagged by Mama). I will have good reminders for the stuff I want to get done. I really think things will run more smoothly around here. Or, at least I will feel like they are running more smoothly - - and that's what it's really all about! How Mama feels!

I'll try to check back when I get everything in place and let you all know how it's working. Or how it's not working - and how I plan to fix it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just Showing Up, Folks.

I'm in such a foul mood today.  It's one of those days where I want to disconnect from all social networking, cancel all communication with the outside world, and move to a cave in the mountains (in a warm climate where there are no dangerous animals, of course).

I've wasted my whole damn day making invitations for my son's birthday party, taking waaaaay longer than I needed to, and they still came out relatively lame.
I haven't exercised.  I haven't prayed.  I'm living like a person who's depressed.  Am I depressed?  Maybe.  But to admit that is to admit that I'm being selfish because I always think selfishness is at the root of depression.
So, am I being selfish?  Oh, most likely.  Man.  I hate it when I figure out stuff I don't want to know.
Suck it up, chick.  Get movin'!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Prayer, Exercise, and Self-Improvement

I was not nice this morning.  My 10-yr-old daughter was leaving for school and I asked if she had her snowpants with her.  She didn't.  We had a quick conversation about why - none of it was very important - but I ended up saying something snide intended to make her feel guilty.  Why did I do that??  Completely unnecessary, unhelpful, and just not nice.
We had a few more words before she left - - I was trying to lighten the mood without actually apologizing for being a jerk (again, not very nice) - - we said our "I love you's" and she went out the door.
"What kind of crappy mother had I become?" I immediately asked myself.  Seriously, I'm constantly wondering - usually out loud - where my kids get their bad attitudes, and I don't need to wonder.  I have a bad attitude.
I pictured Mary talking to 10-yr-old Jesus and was sure the conversation would have gone a little differently.  (Ok - it's a little comical to imagine - but this really is how my brain works.)  Suddenly, I felt like such a slimy troll.

"Here you are given these beautiful children to love and take care of and you treat them like such an annoying inconvenience!"  (That's me talking to myself.  Mary would, again, probably have nicer words to say.)
So I decided I needed to start praying; praying merely to be a nicer, gentler mommy.  I decided that I will say one whole rosary a day asking for assistance with this.
Not long after I made this decision, I received a Facebook invitation asking to join others in an 18-day rosary novena praying to overturn the recent HHS mandate.  So I decided to piggy-back the two.  A rosary for "nicer Mama" will double as a rosary for overturning the mandate.  That's two birds with one stone!
And guess what? I have all the rosaries on my ipod.  I decided to kill three birds with one stone.  I plugged my ipod into my treadmill and added exercise to the mix!  Walking & running and praying - excellent cardio!  Good for the heart and soul.

They have the Couch-to-5k running program.  I highly recommend C25K to anyone who, like me, is NOT a runner.  It gets you running a 5K by the end, and it pushes you just enough outside of your comfort zone each week to show you what amazing things you can do.  I'm going to create the C25D (couch to 5 decade) running program.  Start out by running only during the Our Fathers and by the end, you're running for the entire rosary!  Ha-ha! I'm joking. Kind of.