Running On Empty
Was Jackson Browne trying to get through the day with two toddlers when he penned that classic? In case you aren’t familiar with the song...
The three of us are currently in the backyard. And while Billy is busying himself with all the plastic toys we’ve collected, Vivi is pacing back and forth in front of me, yelling out things like, “Can we go inside?”, “Can I have dinner for some reason?”, “Dada wants you to listen to me”, and “You’re being difficult and ‘frusterated’”. I’ve said “no” to both of them a minimum of 40 times today and it’s approximately 10am. I’ve pulled Billy off the kitchen table and other towering heights every 15 minutes since 6:30am. I’ve unsuccessfully commanded him to sit on his bum as much as I’ve told Vivi she can go in her room if she wants to be “mean and mad”. And that’s been a shitload of times; you know it so.
In between all that, we laugh and act silly, I hug and kiss them, and I wonder how I could ever be annoyed and stressed with them because being with them is actually the BEST thing in the entire universe infinity times over and my heart is so full it feels like it will explode. And then someone starts whining or crying over nothing and we start the cycle all over again. I’m constantly sweeping up pulverized Cheerios, cleaning up spills, delivering snacks, tickling Billy, answering all of Vivi’s ‘but why’ questions, reapplying sunscreen, and trying to pee alone. Then I have to try to plan other shit outside of this day like which shifts I can pick up for work, Vivi’s 3rd birthday party, and how to renovate our kitchen on a budget. First world problems; I fucking know it. I know how lucky I am that I even get to complain about ANY of this shit, but there’s a lot on my plate, on my agenda, in my e-mail, on the floor of my car, in the laundry pile, a lot of appointments and dates to remember, and friendships and relationships to maintain. And I guess what I’m trying to confess to you all is this: I AM JACKSON BROWNE. What? That was dumb. No, I mean: I AM FUCKING EXHAUSTED.
Even when I’m away from my kids, I can’t fully enjoy the leisure of it. There’s a visceral connection that screams loudly when you’re apart, especially when you’re just starting to enjoy your kid-free time. There’s no rest with them and there’s little rest without them. I’m not saying some days are not absolutely defuckinglightful with them, because they absolutely fucking are. But sometimes you have a run of AHHHHHHHH I can’t get anything done/get my shit together/take another minute of tantrumming days. At this point, I tend to do one of a few things:
1. CRY. ‘Cause sometimes it just feels fucking good to cry. My aunt calls it releasing a little steam from the boiling pot. Kettle? Pressure cooker? Something like that. She’ll remind me after she reads this.
2. Call someone and redo #1. It keeps the crazy from reverberating in your head and puts it out into the atmosphere instead. Plus, other people are usually better at solving the crisis that you’re in too deep to fix or look at from another angle.
3. Put on a whacky Pandora channel like Dionne Warwick, maybe Marvin Gaye and Tammi (I know these are weird choices, that's why I called them whacky). Sometimes I put on something that reminds me of being a kid and listening to whatever my parents had on. It’s comforting! Really! Even though it sucked at the time.
4. Sing, as in like, sing the stress out. Vivi is super sensitive to any sad sounding music, so I explained to her that sometimes people are sad and they sing about it because it makes them feel better. They sing the sad right out! I swear it works, even for the tone deaf. Try it. Just duet with Journey or something and shout sing, “Don’t stop belieeeeevin’!” It’s like bitch slapping the yucky shit feelings out of your body. And dance, too. You have to, or it doesn’t work.
5. Write. Even if it only looks like this:
Fuck! Muthafucker!! Mutherfuck it all to hell!
Brittany/try it with your name
These things give me some clarity. They level me out a bit. They reset me. And then I bellyflop back into the kiddie pool. ‘Cause that little part I mentioned about my heart being so full trumps (fuck you Donald for ruining that word for me) the bullshit and insanity of the day, every time. Isn’t it the reason we keep popping these little weirdos out anyway? And now Vivi is running through the house with no clothes on yelling, “I’m Batman, you little pooties!!” So I should go inside and see what that’s all about. I’ll refuel my mom tank with some wine at Happy Hour (4pm. No, 3:30pm). And if you’ve been feelin’ what I’m feeling, peoples, hang in there! We’re all in this thing called life together. #thanksforgettingitprince