Friday, December 17, 2010

I Can Fix Myself

This is what I thought for years. Years.

I thought I would love being a stay at home mom. I'd bake with the kids, go on little excursions, cook dinner, keep a neat house. I knew I'd be busy. I knew life would be messy. But I didn't know I would be a mess. I didn't know that life would be an out of control death spiral, just whirling and twirling in a never ending cycle of me losing it. Things were so. .. messy, not just in the physical sense, but also in the emotional sense, that I started trying to fix it using external means and rationalizations. At the time they made perfect sense.

I tried, on numerous occasions, to convince my husband to move. This house needs work. There is wallpaper that needs to come down (Not like, "oh, that's unattractive." But it's actually peeling from the wall.), bathrooms that have not been updated since 1968. A yard that needs to be fenced. Children's bedrooms that need appropriate storage. I was convinced that if we moved I'd be able to fix all this. All of these problems would be taken care of. We'd buy a newer house, a better house. I'd organize it better when we moved in, with all sorts of nifty storage stuff. But we had to move for this to happen. Because the house was the problem. I couldn't organize this house. I couldn't do the work it needed with three kids and we couldn't afford to hire the work out. So we'll just be living in this mess forever, I'd screech  at my husband. Moving would fix so many things. I'd be organized. Then I'd cook for the family. Do laundry well because I'd have a better laundry room. Put it away because the closets would have better doors on them. The rooms would be prettier so I'd want to keep them clean. The floors would be prettier so I'd want to sweep and vacuum them. And the list goes on.

I did actually convince him that if we redid our bedroom I'd have a place of calm, a sanctuary to retreat to when life got too crazy. That this would calm our household. Create peace. Harmony. I was wrong. And how desperate to help me, to help our family, to make me and us happy must my husband have been to agree to this?

I also tried to convince him that I should go back to work. This being said as I laid in bed, sobbing because I simply could not face another day of life. I couldn't shower. I couldn't put my hair in a pony tail. I couldn't breathe. But get a job? Super idea. Because if I had a job, I'd be efficient. I'd magically pop out of bed in the morning, way before the children, get dressed, make coffee, make my bed then wake them up with a soft kiss. We'd calmly dress for the day before I'd take them to school and daycare. I'd then go to my happy little job where I was appreciated and needed but no demands were made of me. I'd come home to a clean house because nobody had been home all day to mess it up. I'd cook a healthy, home made dinner for my family since I'd have the energy to do this for them -- I had after all been away from them all day. We'd play, then take a fun bubble bath. Read a happy bed time story and go to sleep. Seriously. And I'd promise my husband that this is what life would be like, if only I got a job. I could fix this. We'd make more money, so we could move! Or hire the work on the house done, hence fixing problem number one. Again, this was all being said as I sobbed in bed, curled in a ball, afraid to face just feeding and loving my children for the next eight hours by myself. That's all I had to do. My husband did everything else. But I could fix it, really.

Maybe the answer wasn't moving in Delaware. Maybe we needed to move back to Michigan where I grew up. Then I'd be closer to my parents. The housing market there is terrible, so we could get a great house. . . I could go back to work . . .my mom could watch the kids. . . my husband could study for the Michigan Bar and eventually get a job there. Eventually. And I won't lie. I thought about just leaving, taking the kids and going to Michigan. Because I couldn't do it here. Maybe I could fix it by being somewhere else. I could fix it. I could.

In the end, in reality, I couldn't fix it. I had to surrender and say help. I had to get help. I had to stop trying to fix things and start healing things. It was the hardest, most humbling, best thing I have ever done.

I went to the hospital, not once, but twice. I went to and am in therapy. I have a psychiatrist. I take medicine and will for life. But I have a life.

My house still needs a ton of work. Wallpaper needs to be torn down. I have tile in my bathroom from 1968. It is beyond ugly. My laundry room is not efficient and I have to crawl over laundry every day. I use a closet as a pantry.

My house if full of love and light. Would I like to move? Oh, yes. I'd like a bigger yard for the kids to play in, new bathrooms that I'm not going to gut. But my house is now a home and moving won't make that any different.