We’re one month in today, and honestly, not much has changed since I posted Welcome to the Dark Side. Well, things got a wee bit worse. It’s my fault, really. I let someone’s careless words throw me off my groove, and I hit bottom. It was like I got caught in the middle of this one movie…
And I reacted kind of like:
And when Jason’s gone, and I hit bottom, usually it’s something that sticks with me for months. I call this a funk. Heck, the last time it happened, it took almost a year to pull out of it. I guess I don’t do anything half-measure, right?
So yeah, I thought it would be different this time. And it is. Unlike last deployment, where I was just a hot freaking mess for the year, this time, I knew I couldn’t afford to do that. Why? Because my four-year-old walked in the room and said, “Mama, why are you crying?” This was pretty much like:
No kid should see his mom that upset, especially when he’s already missing his dad and I’m the one stable person he’s got. Then I remembered that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, the one that says, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and I realized…. OMG.
That’s when I stopped being sad, and I got mad. Mad that I let someone take me down during one of the hardest months of my life. Mad that I didn’t stand straighter, weather that storm and sail on. Mad that I didn’t sharpen my tongue and let it go, and yet really happy that I hung on as gracefully as I could. Mad that it consumed me for days before I could come up for air and see what it was doing to me, doing to my kids. I should have been like:
or at least been like:
But no, I’m all in a funk. Angry, but still a funk.
So yeah. So a few days later, the kids are going nuts in the morning, and Chase has lost his shoes for the 3000th time this week, despite the cute little cubby that has his name on it, and the bus is due in four mintues. Yeah. So maybe I fly off the handle a wee bit more than a 5 year-old deserves. This leaves me driving to his school a few hours later so I can pull him out of class and basically:
Yeah. I told him I was sorry, that I was wrong, and that I loved him, even shoeless. While I’m having this little moment with Chase, Aidan’s teacher happens to walk by and says, “Mrs. Yarros! I’m so glad to see you! Is everything okay with your husband?”
Which leaves me kinda like:
To which she responds, “Aidan was really worried Monday and said that there had been an explosion, and your husband was blown up and you didn’t know if he was alive or dead?”
Yeah. So I assure her that Jason’s fine, and that Aidan had talked to him Sunday night AND Monday night. Believe me, two nights in a row is a rarity.
So he gets off the bus, and I basically want to:
and maybe a little:
So once I confront Aidan with that little joyous lie, taking toys to school that could have gotten him suspended, and raiding his dad’s birthday package and taking the contents to school (yeah, he had a bad day), he starts crying that no one at school was paying attention to him and he wanted to be special.
Now I’m all:
Wow. I can’t decide if I’m irate with Aidan for lying and upsetting his classmates, slightly impressed that this lie got him out of major trouble with the toys the next day, or just ready to give up because he’s lacking attention. When it comes down to sheer numbers, there’s four of them and one of me. I’m outnumbered and sometimes outgunned. And now, well, now I’m overwhelmed and ready to just quit from the thought of failing my little men.
Now I’m looking with longing at these bottles of wine, and I’m cursing myself for giving up wine with all that processed food that left three weeks ago.
So yeah. Jason’s doing his best to calm me down and tell me that I’m doing great, and stop letting other people make me doubt myself, and all that perfect stuff deployed husbands say when they can see you’re about two steps away from boarding the crazy train.
Right. So today, I wake up, and before 8 am, I’m staring down angry, fighting, kicking kids who can’t seem to understand that because they’re brothers, they’re on one team, and I’m feeling all:
And as I start yelling, I feel like I’m turning into:
This is NOT who I want to be, and it’s certainly not who my boys need me to be.
So after I knock out some of the to-do list, which include the 10,000 forms needed for the boys’ summer camps, I put Brody down for an after-lunch nap and ask the boys for peace and quiet for 40 minutes so I can get a run in on the treadmill upstairs. For anyone who’s read my little look at working out
, you’ll understand why this is amazing. Plus, I’ve finally lost enough weight to get the smile of approval from my doctor and not worry about falling through the bedroom floor as I hit the treadmill. Score.
Somewhere during those 2 1/2 miles (remember, I’m still plump, people), clarity strikes.
I’ve been so focused on the outside this week, on people’s opinions, on keeping myself together, that I’ve completely violated my one deployment promise to myself. I’ve lost my shit and quit focusing inside this family, on what really matters.
So as I’m running, I tell the little sensitive, overly anxious people-pleaser inside me:
That’s it. It’s time to get a grip on this freaking deployment.
What’s really important here? It’s NOTHING outside this house, and everything IN it. It’s these four little boys, and their feelings, and needs, and everything about them. And everything else that’s dragging me down, causing unnecessary stress? I need to say:
Because getting myself in a funk 1 month into a deployment is just…. Just… unacceptable, and I have to own that. No one is responsible for my feelings but me. So the next time this happens, because come on, I don’t live in a bubble, I need to be strong enough to not get dragged down, and instead say:
Sure, it takes 6 weeks to adjust, but screw that. These kids don’t have 6 weeks for us to settle in. We need a plan and we need it now. So we call a family meeting and lay out a plan. Ready? Here’s our One-Month-In kids-love-it plan:
1. Chores. That’s right. Kids helping out and Mom not playing maid over every play-dough mess in the house. They chose ’em and they’ll do ’em.
2. With chores, they’ll get a little token, we’re calling them puff-balls. When they’re complete, the puff-ball goes in the vase. When they’re caught doing an act of kindness for a brother, another puffball goes in the jar. Mean acts get puffballs taken. When the vase is full, they get to pick a fun day from their Puff-Ball list! They came up with some pretty unique little adventures. 😉
3. In keeping with our No-hermit, Happy Deployment promise, we created a little summer bucket list, and we’re getting out of the house. No, really, this time, I mean it. Watch out Upstate NY, the Yarros Boys are coming. May God have mercy.
4. Acts of Kindness. Every week, we’ll do an act of kindness as a family (yes, they made a list), and if it doesn’t get done, we lose all our puff-balls!!!
Why the acts of kindness? Because I swear the kindness gene is broken in the world today. I so desperately want to teach my boys that kind is the most important thing they could be. It’s more important than smart, beautiful, bold, or sharp-tongued. This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. FAR FROM IT. I am a hot mess, and I’m not always kind. It’s something that I’m working on, and thank goodness I have every day anew to try again. That’s the most I can ask of myself, and the most I can teach my kids. God, I hope they grow up to be the helpers and not the hurters.
Overcompensating? Maybe. Maybe I know that I haven’t always been the nicest person, but if that’s the one thing I want the kids to grow up knowing, it’s how easy it is to be kind. I want it to be second nature.
Mostly, I need them to know that my focus is on them, and how wonderful their little hearts can be if they leave them open. I want them to see how great we’re going to be, how fun this summer will be if we can pull together as a team. I’d also not like to lose my shit again.
We’re one month in.
We’ve been through:
*See you laters
*Three kids with Fifths disease
*One Ear infection
* One broken printer
* One Neurology appointment with increased Meds for ‘Kins
* Two more requests for the manuscript
* Our 13 years together anniversary
* Our 11 Year Wedding Anniversary
* Mother’s Day
* A ton of hugs and kisses
What have I learned so far? Well:
For starters, this month has taught me that the only people more defensive of me than Jason and my parents are my kids. Seriously. They may look all cute and cuddly, but really, they circle the ferocious little wagons when they know something’s off with mama.
In case you’re wondering, that’s Brody breathing fire. And Aidan, while he may be a little out of sorts, is the most like his dad. He’s freaking fierce. I mean that in the most motherly way possible. My children stun me on a daily basis, and leave me humble.
There’s something to be said for being the mother of boys.
What else have I learned? Your battle buddies don’t have to be at the same duty station to still be your BB. Running Woman, you are the Queen of perfect timing.
And lastly, what I’ve learned from this first month:
We’re one month down, and too many to go. But we’re here, we’re strong, we’re coming together as a little family to push on through and not waste this time apart. Besides, when you look at the numbers, 5/6 of us are here, and we’ll hold each other up.
One Month Down.
Baby, we miss the heck out of you.