The View Through The Soda Straw

Myopia is a neat word, but a terrible condition. I know because I had it for many years, starting in elementary school. I could only see objects very close in front of me and everything else was just a colorful blur.  Glasses helped, but the blur bled through on the sides where there was no glass resulting in myopically good vision only in front of me. Contacts were better but sticking stuff in my eyes daily – or worse, sleeping in the contacts – was not particularly fun.  Then, in 2004, I had Lasik.  Angels sang, the heavens parted, and I could see the trees and the forest and the individual leaves.

Via Creative Commons

Via Creative Commons

While I can see everything clearly now, myopia is still ruling my life, only this time its of the metaphorical variety.  I realized recently that for some time now, I have not been able to see my forest for the trees of Little Miss, Rex, Mr. X, work, and household management.  I feel like I’ve been on a Sisyphean treadmill of laundry, dishes and poop control (dog, baby, pre-schooler or cat) and It. Will. Never. End.  Rex will never be potty trained.  Little Miss will never sleep through the night.  I will always be telling Mr. X to continue to look in the fridge for the cheese because yes! it is there! I will never be able to relax when I get home from work and enjoy 5 minutes of peace.  I will always be catering to someone else’s needs.

Intellectually, I know that this is not the case. Time will march on, hopefully magically depositing Rex’s poop in the toilet with it and encouraging Little Miss to snooze for at least 6-7 hours straight.  But, I can’t see into the future. I can’t see the light at the end of these tunnels. I cannot predict when these magical events will take place.  On the other hand, I can predict the next time I will have to empty the dishwasher (tomorrow morning), change a diaper (later tonight), or fold laundry (again, probably tomorrow morning).  I can see the very myopic view of the future and it looks a lot like the past days.

I want to see the bigger picture, though, because it helps me to appreciate the tedium of today.  I worked really, really hard to get this family and I want to enjoy these days that will never be here again.  I’m trying very hard to get the long view, to love every minute of this time because it will disappear.  Except that there is not an insignificant part of me that asks, “Do you promise?”

At any given time of the day when I reflect on these challenges, motivational slogans run through my head: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!”, “The days are long, but the years are short!”, “It won’t always be this way!”  Frankly, they just make it worse.  I want someone to say something more like, “Hard things are hard.”  Four words that recognize that sometimes life sucks the very marrow out of you and it’s ok to be tired, to maybe whine a smidge about the hardness of it all. Sure, many people have it a helluva lot worse than I do, but these are my challenges. They belong to me and I’m the one who has to live with them.

Maybe recognizing that I have been missing the bigger picture is step enough for now.  Frankly, between all of the potty training histrionics, sleep training failures and daily living, I’d just as soon focus on a big glass of wine at the end of the day.


4 thoughts on “The View Through The Soda Straw

  1. The laundry gets better. You either get used to no sleep or you end up getting more sleep. Kids get comfortable using the toilet (but then, the next one needs to go through it too). The work never ends.

    But keep this in mind…some people like infants the best. Some people like toddlers the best. Some like those tweens the best. Some like teenagers the best. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then you probably haven’t hit the stage you like best yet. I’m an infant person, and I will struggle trying to relate to my daughter as she goes through the many challenges of childhood and teenage years…because I never cared about the stuff that bothers her. I just lost my mom, who really enjoyed that stage between toddler and rotten teenager, so my daughter will miss out on expanding her relationship with her grandmother there. But you’ll find that spot that you love – where the days seem tiring but worth every second. And I find that remembering my favorite times (those infant days, filled with discovery and smiles) helps me get through those days when my daughter CAN’T STOP TALKING. AT ALL. EVER.

    So, yes. It’s hard. It may or may not get easier, depending on your perspective. But I think that hard stuff fades into the background of routine, and you’ll be left with just those fantastic memories of the times you are enjoying yourself.

  2. I’m right there with you. It’s hard as hell. I know it will get better but … yeah. (fwiw, I’ve off-loaded all animal poop duty to the man of the house. That helped somewhat …)

  3. My dear Mrs. X – hard things are indeed hard…and there are days that really, truly, epically SUCK…that’s the honest, brutal truth. Potty training is messy, gross, frustrating as hell, especially with a boy (I know, I thought Captain would be heading to college in Depends!!!!)…and sleeping children are such a HUGE blessing. There are days that being on the hamster wheel of parenting with an obnoxious squeaking at the axle make me want to run screaming to the nearest spa or bar, or spa with a bar…

    But then, there are those moments – those utterly amazing moments where Littlest One climbs onto BB’s lap (she’s 3 now, like Rex) and snuggles up under his chin and says “I have a secret!” and he says “what?” and she looks up at him, big blue eyes shining, and simply kisses his bearded cheek and says “you’re my best daddy and I love you!”…and somehow, all the countless loads of laundry, and diapers, and wet sheets, and spills, and dirty dishes and sticky floors melt away.

    Those moments are few and far between…I have the added double-edged sword of being at-home…so there’s no break from the squeaky wheel it seems, just different tasks in front of me…

    Find those moments of joy – they are there. Know that right now, they aren’t frequent because there are 2 little people who still NEED so very much from you and Mr X. And the animals will need you, albeit on a lesser basis, forever…but each day, each load of laundry, each load of dishes, each diaper changed, each attempt at pooping in the toilet…it all brings you one step closer to the end game of raising amazing adults that you know will be better than you and Mr X are.

    For now, hang in there, work with Mr X to find a balance so you can both have some needed refueling time with the whole family, with just each other, and most importantly, alone…because, to use a cheesy quote “tomorrow is another day”…

  4. It’s called burnout. Sometimes the thought of washing another dish or any other domestic task makes me want to run for the hills. Unshowered, poo in my fingernails and dog hair all over the only pair of pants that fit, yes, I have had a few days like that, haha. Might I suggest, one night out during the week for dinner or takeout? sometimes even a cheap sandwich dinner at Tim Horton’s was better than nothing. My kid loves it! And no dishes to clean. Or banning laundry for 3 days? I used to see women on Friday nights at a local family restaurant with their young familiesand they always had a glass of wine in front of them. They had that look on their faces – dammit, I earned it!

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