It is Monday afternoon and I am once again watching Lillie do her swim lesson. An hour of peace to myself! I’m taking deep breaths in and out and trying to reset as I type this. Venting out my family frustrations on the treadmill this morning didn’t seem to do the trick. I still don’t feel better. Maybe after I write this I will be in a better state of mind. I certainly hope so for my sake!

March 13th was my children’s last day of attending actual school. Max stayed home from school that day with a headache and a low fever. I have been with my family since that day which is over four months now. Most of you know me by now and you know how much I love time with my family. However, it is clear as day to me today that I need a BIG giant break from them. All of them.

Yesterday was one of those days where I couldn’t seem to say or do anything right with my husband. Let’s start with the fact that my friend’s little dog was attacked by a dog and died and that it was haunting me. This dog was her baby. I know how close she was to her dog and I know how close we are to our dog. My high empathy was in high gear and I was finding myself feeling nervous to walk Tanner. We have encountered quite a few dogs off their leashes. I am begging all of you to keep your dogs on a leash and to tell all your friends and family to do the same. You never know how your dog is going to react to another dog or to a stranger that they don’t know or don’t remember.

We had a dog (who seemed harmless) run up to Tanner, smell him and then try to bite him. I am a little traumatized. Anyway, here I am feeling all shook up from my friend’s post about how her dog was killed and then I proceed to put Tanner’s harness on way too loose. A German Shepard walks by us (not seeming very happy to see Tanner) and Tanner is easily coming out of his harness. Seth gets very angry with me and storms off home to help me try to fix the harness. “You’ve been all upset about a dog getting killed by another dog and you put his harness on too loose. You make no sense,” Seth scolds me very upset with the situation we may have been in if Tanner ran to that German Shepard. Let’s just say that was just the beginning of a frustrating day with each other. We get cranky. We don’t always get along. We don’t always say or do the right things. It continued like that most of the day. Seth is at work and I am hoping that when we see each other after soccer that we will be getting along better than yesterday. It’s okay to have an off day but I needed a break from my husband today. I admit it.

Let’s move on to Max……He was recommended to be a WEB leader at school. What this means is that as an 8th grader this year he would be helping the 5th graders adjust to a new school. Max is such a great leader on the soccer field and with his little sisters. I know he would be good at this. I have to push Max to do anything extra at school. I am finding it completely exhausting today. Ella is hoping to be a WEB leader one day and can’t wait. Not Max! I think I just need a break from my family!!! My patience is feeling very low today!

The good news to share with you is that since Max went back to soccer, he has been a different kid. I can’t even begin to tell you how much sports and prosocial activities are good for our children. They need them and I am hoping that soccer can continue. He went from playing soccer constantly down to zero school and zero soccer. This is not good for our children’s mental health. Max is acting much happier and there is a definite shift upward in his mood. For this I am very happy!

Let’s move on to Ella Bella. My easy middle child is not always easy anymore. She is 11 years old. The hormones and moodiness are loud and clear on a regular basis. For the most part she is still my sweet easy child. She woke up today so cranky and did not want to go to camp. I am not used to her being cranky. I joke with her that she is supposed to be the “easy child.” At least it makes her laugh! I have to remind myself that crankiness and moodiness are totally normal for a tween.

Let’s move on to the main culprit. My sweet, adorable, fun, energetic youngest child Lillie is driving me absolutely crazy! Who can fault her for being so much like her mother? I can’t blame her! She is very social and ALWAYS wants to be with friends. If she isn’t with a friend, she is talking to a friend on the phone. If she is home with no friend to play with and no one on the phone she wants to know what’s next? Where are we going? Who are we seeing? What are we doing today? Can we go to…. She always wants to be doing something. If we do go to a friend’s house it is never long enough. If I let her play at a friend’s house for three hours, it isn’t enough. “Why do I have to leave?” Is always her question.

We went swimming at my parent’s pool Saturday. Tanner our dog was overdue for his dinner and we hadn’t walked him yet and it was getting late. “We need to go home and feed Tanner and walk him,” I told my parents. “Can I stay and swim more?” Lillie asks. There you have it. The perfect example of my life with Lillie. I don’t have to tell you this. You already know this. I love Lillie so much. She is the baby that I begged for. I wanted another girl so badly and I got one. I give her so many hugs and kisses all day. She is my little buddy. I could go on and on and tell you what I love about her. Right now, I am going to tell you that she is driving me nuts. They all are!

It’s been a nice break writing this and I haven’t had to hear the word “Mom” once. Do you know how good just that feels? I needed this little break. Thank you to Juliana for teaching Lillie how to swim right now and giving me an hour break! This mama needs it badly!

There are days when I cope well. There are days when I don’t cope well at all. Let me tell you all what I should have done differently yesterday to give myself some breaks while my husband was home.

  • The good thing that I did for myself yesterday was to disappear into the basement and workout for a long time by myself. I didn’t get interrupted once (a miracle) because Seth was upstairs feeding them all. Thank you, Seth.
  • When they were all driving me crazy (including Seth), I should have left the house, driven to Starbucks, gotten myself a coffee, driven to the park and relaxed with my coffee and a book all by myself.
  • I should have run away to my friend’s pond and sat in the backyard. She told me I could come over any time and I should have taken her up on it yesterday. Screaming/venting to her about my family probably would have helped too if she was home!
  • Told my family I was going in my backyard and that none of them were allowed to come back there until I told them it was okay! Funny, right!
  • I should have started this blog yesterday because writing always helps me feel better.

Seth’s two cents after he read this of other methods of coping that I could have used yesterday:

  • Hit the punching bag in our basement to help vent my frustrations.
  • Played angry music!
  • Seth is so good at this and I see him meditate every day!

So why was yesterday more frustrating than normal and why am I feeling family’d out in particular today? I think it’s normal for our kids to drive us crazy on and off. I think I expect that. When my husband is cranky and we aren’t getting along, on top of the kids driving me crazy….I think that put me over the edge.

So here I sit taking deep breaths and writing. Do I feel better? For sure! A break from hearing the word “MOM,” writing, fresh air and deep breaths are all helping me. Parent’s just know, that if you are feeling family’d out, you are not alone. I think we are all having moments of feeling this way. Especially if you are a stay at home mom or you are trying to work from home with kids running around. We have been home together for a very long time! It has been months!

We are over month four of the kids being home. I would love to hear how you are all coping and taking breaks for yourself. Help this mama out! I love hearing your ideas! I hope you are getting breaks from your family! I’m thankful for my family. I’m very blessed. I also need a break from them!

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R

P.S. Note for me to remember to tell everyone on my VLOG Wednesday night about why Seth “agreed” to a pool!!