The holiday season is a trying time for me, as I am sure it is for many of us Working Married Moms! On the last day of work before vacation I rush to clean my desk, throw out lots of paper (hoping that no one comes asking about them at some later date), I water the desk plant and pull out the Clorox wipes to soak up all the nasty stuff that’s been collecting since the Thanksgiving holiday. Good. Now that the office is purged of germs and old documents it’s time to go home and do the same, right? NOT! When it comes to home, the energy to organize, clean and purge just goes right out the window, and so do I.
Upon beginning Christmas vacation, my body goes into hibernation mode. Not just a physical hibernation but also a true mental breakdown. All the issues that I’ve been avoiding by staying busy burst forth, no holds barred. Christmas vacation is when all my shortcomings, obligations, fears and memories of lost loved ones swoop in and hang over my head. So instead of cleaning out the closets like I scheduled on my new iPad, I start my vacation by sitting, staring, sleeping, crying and rotating through them all in no particular order! The sadness can be overwhelming, to the point that I just don’t want to get out of bed.
On one of these lowly nights as I am slobbering with tears and snot, my husband, Kevin walks into the bedroom, panicked that something awful has happened.
“Hey honey, what’s wrong?” he asks.
“I just don’t know,” I whine. “I’m just sad.”
“Sad about what?” he asks.
“I’m just sad and I,I,I…”
At this point I break down into an uncontrollable bawl because I really would just prefer that he stop asking me questions and just hug me or better yet leave me alone to wallow in my sadness.
“Oh honey, did I do something wrong,” he continues. “Did I say something? Are you hurt?” Kevin goes on and on until I just stop crying and look at him.
“No, nothing is wrong,” I say more sternly. “Just stop asking me so many questions. I’m just sad ok?”
“Yeah, but what are you sad about?” Kevin starts again.
“Just everything is wrong,” I sob. “I’m tired, the dishes are dirty and no one helps me around the house. We need a humidifier, it’s dry in the house and I have a headache. We need to pay the mortgage and the kid’s school tuition is due. I think we spent too much money for Christmas presents. I mean what are we teaching the kids? It’s not about the gifts but about the birth of Christ.”
“Well yes honey,” Kevin says. “But we agreed to those gifts, right? You put together the budget for the gifts.”
“Look, I was talking,” I whip back. “That’s not the point. I just need to get this off my chest.
“It’s been cloudy weather and we need the cars fixed. I haven’t taken a shower in two days. I’m just tired and sad. I was just reading from Women Know Best magazine before you came in and I realize that the problem we have is that you don’t listen.
“You are always doing the talking and you just don’t understand me. See, I speak from an emotional place and you are always trying to fix me. Why can’t you just listen? I’m so tired and sad.
“I’m dreading going back to work. I wish I had more time to rest and just sleep or do whatever I want to do. I have too much pressure on me. Between dance classes, karate, Girl Scouts, cheerleading, play dates, birthday parties, fifth grade homework and student council, I just don’t have time to breathe! I only have one television show a week that I watch and even then, after I lock myself in the bedroom, someone is always knocking on the door or yelling to get my attention. Don’t you understand? You just don’t listen. You just don’t get who I am.
“I just need some time to myself, I don’t get any time to relax. I am always doing everything. I just, I mean…You know how sometimes…”
“Ma, Ky won’t let me play on the computer!” Buddy yells from downstairs.
“Ky, share with your brother,” I yell back.
I start again. “See sometimes when I’m trying to share with you my feelings you just look at me like I’m some stranger. Then you try to tell me…”
“Ma! Ky isn’t listening to me! She won’t share the computer,” Buddy screams.
“Did you hear what I said? Ky, share with your brother.”
I turn to look at Kevin, annoyed that I can’t get out my thoughts. “Anyway. Then you try to tell me how I should fix it but I don’t really want to fix it. I just sometimes want to be sad, to be able to go through my feelings and not be disturbed with all the…”
“Ma! She still isn’t sharing!”
At this point, I just roll my eyes and ignore the yelling from downstairs.
“Look, honey, all I was saying was that I just need you to listen to me and give me some time to do what I want to do.
“Honey I need you. I just need a hug. I’m tired,” I say.
“Ok sweetheart.” Kevin says.
“I love you,” I yawn. “Thanks for being there for me.”
And with a big stretch, I pull the covers over my head and leave Kevin to deal with the kids.