Friday, September 21, 2012

Fragmentation: a weekend cure

I'm sure you're familiar with this: Yesterday I found myself complaining loudly (to no one in particular) about how Shira has been waking up through the nights again, not napping or sleeping well, oh--and she had that fever the other day for fourteen hours, and then there was that time I was trying to take her temperature that day with the ear thermometer and she screamed murder, and then it finally dawned on me. Ear infection. Clearly becoming a parent doesn't automatically bless you with smarts, because it took me days to figure this out. This is how I found myself at a McDonald's eating fries and drinking chocolate milk with the girls last. Our family doctor sees urgent cases only through a walk-in clinic and this is how we ended up at the McDonald's next door, trying to kill time during the ninety-minute wait to see our doctor. We have ventured through those doors only a handful of times, but boy does it work. Not sure what Alyce is doing in that photo, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with checking to make sure Shira didn't get more chocolate milk than her.

And now Friday. It feels like a lost week between the infections and the flu and multiple visits to the doctor, but it was a full week nonetheless. I was thinking today about how busy my days feel with Shira, even now that Alyce is in school full-time. I think one of the reasons I struggle so much with time is that I radically misjudge how my days are spent, or how I think they ought to be. Do you ever do that? Before the day actually gets started I think that Alyce goes to school with Matt and then I have an enormous day in front of me, filled with space for me to use (productively or not). Of course Shira needs a nap in there, and we both need lunch, but aside from these necessities there is all this space! Is it a mental disorder that prevents me from acknowledging all of the demands on my days? It isn't only the tough, annoying, makes me want to procrastinate kind of things that I avoid acknowledging, but the good stuff, too. I think I will name the disorder Fragmented Brain Amnesia. (Do you trademark these kinds of things? Probably not, it's a terrible name. I'll be accepting suggestions below.) Fragmented Brain Amnesia manifests itself when there are many different things on my plate. I expect that anyone can suffer from this disorder, in any job, but I can only speak to my experience as a parent who works from home while also running after the children.

Here are the symptoms:
Messy hair (from the running through of hands)
Glazed eyes (from all the running through my brain)
Constant snacking (from the 349 times a day I'm in the kitchen)
High shoulders (tense from missing deadlines and/or personal goals and expectations)
Goofy grin (usually experienced in the morning when I've forgotten, again, just how busy I'll find myself)

The Causes:

What to do next:
Review short and long-term goals
Make new lists
Actually look at list (mentioned above)
Settle with "made it through the day" instead of "perfection"
Smother family in kisses
Watch some Sons of Anarchy (Season Four)
Enjoy a date night with husband while girls sleepover at their Nana's house
Have brunch with friends 
Go to a book festival

*These last six items are my therapeutic plans for the weekend. What are yours?

1 comment:

  1. Haha...I'm a fellow sufferer...I have all the symptoms. I like your "settle with made it through the day" coping skill. It's a good one. I know this will be "the lost fall"...I work, come home, crash on the couch with kids on top of me, make lunches, do dishes, go to bed...aaaand repeat. And I'm always, always tired. Sorting laundry in my bedroom is a two-three weekend undertaking. I don't even know if my therapeutic plans work: go to Ottawa to visit dear old friend who is sadly dying of a brain tumour; visit Chapters and a wool shop (THAT's the therapy part), watch the first season of the Tudors (again), and maybe try to spend 10 minutes alone with my husband because it feels like it's been months.
    PS McDonald's is magic...the trick is to not take your kids there so often that they become complacent about it. We don't do happy meals or treat of the weeks...fries and an apple juice or chocolate milk are enough of a treat! We go maybe three times a year and they LOVE it. They call it "the French Fry store!"