Thursday, February 17, 2011
Oh yes, it has arrived. I admit, here and now, I have entered the Apathy Stage. Revel in it with me for a moment. The entire household has been down for the last couple of weeks with intermittent occurrences of head-colds, stomach bugs, and in my case, epic pregnancy-induced heartburn. For the last little bit we’ve been foraging instead of having regular meals, living off saltine crackers and suspicious looking leftovers. Dishes and laundry are piling up. Half my kids have been running around in pajamas, the other half, undies and T shirts that haven’t been changed in a few days. I think I’m the only one who has bothered to shower in nearly a week. I may not feel good, but I insist on smelling good. As for the others, I’ve ordered them to stay downwind.
We (but especially me) are officially suffering from burnout. With everything. School, chores, church, interpersonal communication, hygiene…(I warned you I was keeping things real here.) Even TV has lost it’s mind-numbing charm. Consequently, the house is in chaos and the bickering between the kids has increased. I’ve been tempted to put hazard tape up across the front door. It is NOT pretty here.
However, before I’ve completely depressed you, I will say that I know this is temporary. I know as soon as I start feeling better, things will improve, by virtue of the fact that I’ll care about the state of the kitchen and general housekeeping again. I’ll go back to insisting on daily bathing rituals. I’ll get excited about using the copy machine to run off math lessons. Right now, the kids are on the upswing, meaning they have tons more energy than I do—but they’re all young enough to still need a lot of hand holding to help with chores and still need considerable one-on-one time for schoolwork. They are bored and I can only boss them around from my prone position on the couch for so long before they revolt and run screaming into the backyard half naked.
Sometimes, when you feel crummy and don’t want to face the day, I think it really is best to surrender to that and hide under the covers as long as the kids will allow. I’ve heard crashes and clunks and screechings as I’ve been buried in blankets, and when no one comes in bleeding or on fire, I manage to quell the concern over what’s happening by reminding myself that everything in the house is cleanable or replaceable. Wow, I’ve really sunk low.
Burnout is a part of life—and it often seems to hit me and my family when we’ve been under the weather or had some major change in the family or our environment. I used to stress about those “blah-I’d-rather-be-doing-anything-but-this” times, thinking I was shortchanging my kids’ education. I mean, what if they get “behind?” What if I get SO burned out I can never get out of feeling this way? But now, I know that this kind of thing is cyclical. Sometimes, you can force yourself out of it by changing your routine, or taking a couple of days off. Other times, you just have to ride out the ugliness. When things are good, they’re great. When they aren’t, they aren’t—and it only makes things worse when you stress out.
I’ve found that having friends to talk to helps a lot. I meet up once every month or so with a group of other homeschooling moms—we call our meetings “Mother’s Meeting.” No kids are allowed (except nursing babies) and we meet at someone’s house for a couple of hours to talk about whatever’s going on in our lives. Our meetings generally have themes or topics and each mom is asked to come prepared to talk about whatever the topic is. Questions and concerns are encouraged and “what works for you” ideas are even more so. I find these meetings inspiring—it’s nice to see I’m not the only one dealing with balancing housework with homework, and it’s fun to rejoice in each other’s triumphs. It’s comforting to share each other’s burdens and concerns. We laugh, we cry, we encourage each other. Oh, and we generally have treats. Always an upper, in my opinion.
This month’s meeting is in a week or so, and fittingly, our topic is “Burnout—when does it hit and what do you do?” I’m looking forward to this meeting because I SO need it. I’ll post what I learn/gain here on this blog afterward.
Now, back to the couch and the ginger ale.