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back to my regularly scheduled life

back to my regularly scheduled life

August 3, 2006

It has been strange. This coming back home. Surreal even. I wasn’t prepared for this.

It’s only fitting that this morning, within moments of sitting down with my laptop and coffee at my breakfast room table, my 19 month old son knocked over my cup of coffee. It poured out all over the table and by the time I got a dishrag it had poured off the end of the table and onto the floor.

It is an old house; the floors are not level. Nothing forms a puddle in my house, it forms a river.

I began cleaning it up and the mess kept getting farther and farther away from me. It is 8:00am and already it is oppressively hot here. And I was annoyed.

My 19 month old son splashed through the coffee. “Uh-oh.” he said. Stamp-stamp-stamp in the river of coffee.

I was angry. “Get out of the damn coffee!” I wanted to yell. But I didn’t. I looked over at him crouched down in the coffee, his eyebrows raised, and his mouth in the perfect “O” shape and I felt guilty and sad.

I had been away, on my own, all alone for 6 days and I come home with less patience than I left with. Instead of feeling rejuvinated, I feel something else. I am annoyed at myself and my own insecurities. I read the accounts of the conference written by other people and wonder if I were really there. I mean all of the things that people have blogged about happened, yet all of them together somehow do not form the whole picture. And I am not even sure that it makes sense.

I am saddened by the way I feel I was treated by a friend. And I guess lonely. After meeting, talking, laughing with so many interesting women I feel a definite lack in my real life.

Yes, I feel lonely. Which is ironic considering I have seven children who never leave me alone for even a minute and who talk to me until my ear drums rupture and I become deaf.

We finished cleaning up the coffee “together” which really means I cleaned it up, and cleaned him up, and tried to make it SEEM. LIKE. FUN!!!

As I walked back into the breakfast room I glanced out the picture window and see that an animal has gotten into our garbage cans once again. All our garbage is spread out over hell’s half acre. I mentally chastise myself for having my 11 yr old bring the trash out last night, though simultaneously wonder just how difficult it is to secure the garbage can lid properly.

I sat back down with a fresh half cup of coffee, since that is all that was left in the pot, and open my laptop. My daughter snuggled up next to me on the bench. Her little index finger stroking circles on my arm. Her finger found my shoulder and began scraping away at what remains of my temporary tattoo.

“Mommy take this off now. You need to take this off. It’s not yours.”

I know what she means. And she is right. It is time to get back to my regularly scheduled life.

Posted by Chris @ 7:03 am  

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Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    What a morning.

    If it makes you feel any better (loneliness loves company?), not going to BlogHer made me feel a little lonely. I read everyone’s pre-BH posts and during-BH stories and post-BH recaps, and felt so lonely here at home all by lonesome. Who would’ve thought that a blogging conference would get a bunch of mothers down?

  2. Novaks8 says:

    I know that feeling well.

    I was very grumpy with my daughter last night and then when she was asleep I looked at her and felt like scum.

    I almost woke her up to apologize.

    I waited until this morning.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Jolie says:

    You have summed up that all too familiar feeling too well! Thank you for giving words to what we have all felt at one time or another.

  4. Angela says:

    The harsh reality of real life is always so much harsher after a get-away. When I started noticing a trend in my days after a girls night out (Read: Going to Joann’s with my neighbor without kids) I just braced myself for the hangover of reality with a demanding, screeching 1 year old and a tv-aholic “I’ll only eat it if I’m in front of the tv” 3 year old. It’s gotten better since I realized this phenomenon, but I don’t envy how you’re feeling. I hope it gets better. ‘Specially about feeling mistreated by a friend. That’s the worst feeling.

  5. Nancy says:

    I know what you mean by being lonely at times–even while having kids constantly underfoot. I have had to move several times due to my husband’s job and have always had a difficult time finding close friends. I appreciate your honesty, as I know so many others do. You are a great writer and, even though I don’t know you, an awesome mom.

  6. Lilly says:

    My one kid went away for a week with his school. It was the first time I’d been on my own and alone with myself or with my husband since he’d been born. I was surprised that I didn’t miss him while he was gone and kind of wished his trip would last another week. I LOVED BEING FREE of the normal day to day requirements of life with a kid, however beloved. Once I got a little bit of that freedom it was hard to adjust back to regular life. But the truth is that when I had that freedom I totally took it for granted and wished for a family. Yep, it was a little hard to put the parenting yoke back on but pretty soon it feels right again.

  7. Flowergirl6 says:

    You are not alone in your feelings and you are not alone physically (by any stretch of the imagination). I feel that way more times than I like to recall. The hardest part is that people IRL don’t understand how that can be when we have ’so many kids’. If I lived near you I would so totally come over and keep you company. Then we really wouldn’t feel alone with 13 kids running around.

  8. halloweenlover says:

    Chris! I hate to hear you sad! Come visit me!

    I know what you mean, though. It is always a let down after a big event. I am already anticipating my letdown after our vacation next week.

    I wish I’d gone to Blogher, especially because I would have loved to spend 6 days with you!

  9. Jeni says:

    Chris, Once again thank you for putting yourself out there and eloquently capturing what we all feel from time to time. I know you’ll get your groove back. We all do. I sat at home and read all the accounts of my favorite bloggers at Blogher and felt like the biggest geek in all the land and …..lonely as all get out. I was like why dont I have a pack of wine sipping girlfriends with cheeky inside jokes? I guess I’ll just continue pouring my kid’s apple juice in wine glasses and forcing them to stay up and watch Project Runway with me. Whatever.

  10. TC says:

    I have no words of wisdom, only hugs and reassurance that motherhood is hard sometimes

  11. kate says:

    I find it great to get away but coming back is always sad. You anticipate coming home and then when you are there find yourself in a slump. Atleast I do.

    Sorry that you had a bad feeling from a friend, but from what I read you were an amazing person to hang out with and be with at blogher!

    You have 7 children and a husband that love you more than anything and a group of readers and friends that find you amazing. Hang in there!

  12. Jodi@OC says:

    I know that feeling all too well. Everyone thinks a mom with many kids needs a break but for me the same thing happens. It is like letting a bird out of a cage and then putting it back again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to death and I KNOW every minute at home with them is worth it. Sometimes I just feel the need for adults and logic and no messes. But then I must bring my brain back to life with kids.

  13. Jenny says:

    That downswing happened last year too, despite the giddy recaps. It will take me days to process everything I saw and said and felt. I do think a lot of the “was I even there” feeling can be attributed to the size of the conference.

  14. Susan says:

    I’m sorry, Chris.

    I do understand how you feel. I felt that way when I went on travel (for my job) this past spring. It was a wonderful trip, but I missed my kids terribly, and then I came home and had less patience than usual. It’s like the selfishness I got to experience for those 4 little days changed me for many thereafter. And I hated myself for it.

    *hugs*

  15. peepnroosmom says:

    I’m sorry you’re feeling sad. Maybe it will just take a little time to get re-adjusted.
    This is crazy, but this is the second time I have posted something to my blog only to find you have posted something similar. As weird as this seems, I am feeling sad about my kids going back to school. It will be only me and the baby. And I’m going to be lonely without all the laughter and craziness going on in my house.
    I hope you feel better soon.

  16. Ashley says:

    Wow. I feel so much better about myself after reading your posts and all the comments. I never imagined the lonely feeling was normal. I felt that horrible lonely feeling after I had the baby…even though we had tons of visitors. I thought there was something wrong with me. Mothers don’t get lonely when they have their children around. So then that was topped with guilt. Ick. I am just so glad these other women have validated my feelings.

  17. JustLinda says:

    I struggle with the loneliness too. I think we all sort of do, some moreso than others. It’s such a paradox that we feel alone or estranged or uncomfortable or ill-fitting or disconnected or different but we ALL feel that way, so in our very disenfranchisement, we are all the same. That’s what I think.

    Take heart… because when the children are young, we give up so much, but we only give it up temporarily and their childhood does go by so very quickly. We gets bits of it now, but someday we’ll have it again. And then, it will be something else we long for…

    It’s the transition that is hard, leaving, coming back, adjusting, thinking, realizing…

  18. foodmomiac says:

    Motherhood is terribly lonely. And, getting back to reality is always terribly hard. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you are very much NOT alone in your loneliness.

  19. Debbie says:

    Life is mundane. You’ll settle into it again soon enough. *shrugs*

  20. Katie says:

    I hate the loss of patience after returning home from a vacation without the kids, I always experience it too. I like Jodi’s analogy of a caged bird. Much nicer than my version: “it’s like being hit with a hammer all the time, after awhile you just become numb to it. Stop for a few days and then it really hurts when the hammer hits start again.” See? A caged bird sounds better.

    Feeling alone sucks. Been there, done that, still doing it.

  21. R says:

    aw, I like this train of thought. I’m selfishly glad you’re back and writing, but I think I understand what you’re trying to say. I’m “alone” with my three kids all day and it’s not something I can make my husband understand; it is what it is.

  22. Darren says:

    Sorry you feel down, Chris. But look on the bright side! Next week at this time, Nabby and I will be there!

  23. Chase says:

    The tattoo is a perfect analogy. The one I have planned for today deals with the same thing - going from a zillion miles an hour at BlogHer to nothing. It’s a major shock to the system.

    Great post. Keep smiling. :)

  24. Heather B. says:

    Chris! I miss you!
    and I’ve had a crappy time getting back to reality as well and I only have one person (myself) to worry about.
    So sorry :-(

  25. Rae says:

    It’s so hard to come back to what you’ve so aptly named “the trenches”. It’s like you get a little taste of what used to be you, only that doesn’t even feel quite right, and then it’s so hard to get back in the swing. I feel that way even after one day off… worse afterwards. I recently went to do some art with a group of people and they treated me like a star the whole time and I got so much affirmation and then I came back to the world of not so much affirmation.

    I feel for you. It’s good that we’re so adjustable.

  26. meredith says:

    I know that feeling. Getting back to regular life is the best way to cure it.

  27. Jeff says:

    Once every 3 or 4 months, I leave the kids and town to stay at a nice hotel on Minneapolis. I’ll visit a few places that I like (Como Conservatory, Kiren’s Pub) and maybe meet a friend for breakfast. For the most part it is my chance to sleep, read a book, have more than a few consecutive hours quiet time.

  28. Miss Peach says:

    Ugh, adjusting back is always the worst. Hang in there! The last little analogy was great. You’re a fabulous writer, which you know, but just reiterating.

  29. Adrienne says:

    A realization that I’m really starting to own (not just have fleeting glimpses of): No matter how many people I have around me, if they aren’t people who “get” me, I might as well be alone.

    Physical lonliness is different (and I think a lot less painful) than soul lonliness, and it seems like when I’ve had that really warm kind of connection that it sounds like you got at BlogHer, I feel the soul lonliness more when I come back to what is my current reality.

    I work for a school district that is in a very steep improvement initiative, and we have a saying about data…all data is data…which is like these little “ahas” we have in our lives, I think…it’s good information, tells me that even though I have much in my life, there might be something that I need to cultivate or nurture for myself. Even the stuff that feels like “bad data” can produce good results. Capturing what that is in your current dissonance and building a little bit of it in your day-to-day might give you a touchstone of sorts to the way it felt for you at BlogHer.

    And lastly…I think most moms feel that “split screen” kind of existance. As a single mom, I have retreats from motherhood every other weekend most of the year….and the dichotomy between my MEself and my MOMself can be unsettling even though I experience the shift on a bimonthly basis. Recognizing and coexisting with the “who” you are when you are not momming is really hard to do when your “exposure” to your alter non-mom ego is infrequent.

    Be kind to yourself…you are either as normal as I am or else you are not alone in being weird, okay?

  30. Jen says:

    I understand the loneliness, even when you really never have a single moment alone. I love my kids. Love. Them. They do not, however, offer me a chance to kick back and have a few margaritas with the girlfriends or idly chat about something other than Barbies, Crayons, or how to build a four foot castle out of blocks.

    When I do get a girls weekend, the first few days back are always the most difficult. You really have to quickly shift modes because they are WAITING FOR YOU AT THE FREAKING DOOR! Makes you feel loved though.

  31. mom8k says:

    I call this the Cinderella syndrome: the Ball is over–back to the ashes (trenches)!! I always think the exhiliration of time away will carry me through drudgery for months to come, then 2 days later I’m mourning the niceness I’ve left beind for the “harsh realities” of 8 kids. And then I equalize and get back to life as I know it, and I really DO like it!

  32. Daisy says:

    I call it “re-entry”. And I can identify with the River of Coffee; I live in an 1890 Victorian home. Nothing is level, and no corners actually measure 90 degrees. But we love it, warts and all — as I know you love your kids, and they love you.

  33. Whinger says:

    That’s such a drag, and I’m sorry you’re down. But it appears you’re handling it all with aplomb, and that’s really the most we can all do in times of feeling not-so-okay.

    Just think: almost bedtime.

  34. Carmen says:

    I’m sorry that your reentry was less than adequate. I know mine was as well, and I’m still struggling with it.

    May next year be better.

  35. Stacey says:

    If you give a Mom a muffin,
    She’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
    She’ll pour herself some.
    The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
    She’ll wipe it up.

    Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
    She’ll remember she has to do some laundry.
    When she puts the laundry in the washer,
    she’ll trip over some snow boots and bump into the
    freezer.
    Bumping into the freezer will remind her
    she has to plan dinner for tonight.
    She will get out a pound of hamburger.
    She will look for her cookbook (101 Things to Make
    With a Pound of Hamburger).
    The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
    She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
    She will look for her checkbook.

    The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out

    by her two year old.
    She’ll smell something funny.
    She’ll change the two year old.
    While she is changing the two year old, the phone will
    ring.
    Her four year old will answer it and hang up.

    She remembers that she wants to phone a friend
    to come for coffee on Friday.
    Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going
    to have a cup.
    She will pour herself some.

    And chances are……
    If she has a cup of coffee……
    Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

  36. EK says:

    I have a wonderful cassette (yes, a cassette and not a cd ;-) that I should send you. Anyway; a mom sees her littlest out the door and off to his bus stop and then settles down to the kitchen table for her morning coffee. A few seconds later there is a little knock on the door, she opens it to see her son standing there, “What’s wrong - why aren’t you on the bus?” she asks him. He tells her - “School is boring and lasts FOREVER.” She tells him - “That’s LIFE - get on the bus!” and she (Patsy Clairmont) shares how God has repeated that to her time and again when she is moaning and groaning about the same things in her life, that it is long (lonely) and boring - “That’s Life - Get on the bus!” :-D

    Hugs to you dear lady!

  37. InterstellarLass says:

    I think we’ve all been there. Looking wistfully at the woman with no children, looking hot in her trendy clothes with her friends at lunch. But then our kids grab our arms, legs, whatever, hug us, kiss us, or turn in that certain way where we realize they are the most beautiful creatures in the world. And my kids are way better than any Prada bag.

  38. Laundry Woman says:

    I was so surprised that you were going and so proud of you that you were able to in spite of all the clickety-clack that goes on in rooms of hundreds of women. I’m nobody. really. That is all right I guess. I’ve decided that the most important Somebody I will be is to my six children…What they have is an appearance, but it is not what is real every day.

    Please keep on being you. You have touched me so much already and I’ve only been reading you for a week. I know so much of what you explain, and it needs no other explanation. You are a mother, and that is very very good. You don’t have to be anything else right now. You are good enough. Please know that.

  39. Maddy says:

    Once a year I go to the annual scrapbook weekend away, it is huge and there is so much build up to it. When I get home I am tired and glad to see the family, BUT, I have this massive let down the next week. Nothing to look forward to, back to the same old stuff. It is like this for lots of people Chris.
    It will pass … as soon as you make the deposit to go to next years Blogher and the excitement starts all over again.

  40. Alissa says:

    post-vacation let down is the saddest feeling in the world. and yet, you can’t avoid it… unless of course, you stay on vacation.

  41. becky (misspriss) says:

    i heard so many good things about you at blogher. and i’m wishing i had gotten to chat with you (i think i gave you a hard time about getting stacy a drink, but we didn’t get to talk).

    i’m sorry that you felt slighted by a friend. it makes the loneliness more acute, sometimes. i’ve been feeling the same way recently, so i think i understand a teeny bit. i hope things are going better for you.

  42. Mrs. Pickles says:

    Awww. :( Yeah, I hate feeling like that too. I remember a while back I went on an amazing, life-changing, oh-I-feel-so-holy-now retreat, sure that my life was completely turned around and I was going to be an infinitely better wife and mother! I wasn’t home for 5 minutes before I started grumbling at my husband and yelling at my toddler, wishing everyone would just go AWAY and leave me alone with my spiritual high. I could be such a happier person if I didn’t have to deal with my family! :b

  43. Angie says:

    You know, the accounts I read from bloggher kind of put you in a different light. You seemed so much more sedate and level headed than those other women. I always liked your blog, but I like it even better now. It didn’t seem like blogher is a place I’d like to go,and it didn’t seem like your kind of place either.

  44. Heather says:

    and yet again, I say yup.