I'm trying really hard to stay calm through the chaos that is: 1) Christmas 2) Christmas Break 3) Christmas Shopping 4) my busiest time at work when 1/3 of the things I worked on in a year are due back signed and everything is an exception and on fire 4) we added a baby 5) a move anniversary.
Oh and Hubby- he's doing a consulting gig for a company he hopes to get hired for and so he's getting paid hourly and can't take random time off. So I'm trying to stay calm with him also.
So last week when at 5:22pm he called and asked me to get the baby from her daycare instead of him, I agreed. Then I picked up the other four kiddos and we ran home to let the dog out. Hubby was still now anywhere close to being home, so I decided to take the kids to the store for the errand I had to run because I needed some addition teacher gifts for today. (This is the part where I kick myself for not going the night before after a work function, but I didn't want to deal with the largest mall in the state and it was too late to go to the store in the local strip mall center.)
So I throw the stroller in the car, you tube how to connect the car seat to it, and take 5 children to Bath and Body Works.
If you have ever been in one, you know it's got lots of sensory going on- smells, colors, testers and their tables are piled high and close together with product. My kids love this store. They love all things good smelling and they could spend an hour testing the scents out.
I had managed to get the extra hand sanitizer and hand lotion I was after and was over in the candles picking out something for the aunts in the family. The kids were standing quietly next to the stroller at the next table over. Just as I was turning to walk the 4 feet back over to them I heard a giant crash. And saw glass all over the floor. Sarah had knocked over a glass candle and was now frozen and dissociated.
I felt all the eyes in the store turn. Im sure all the other shoppers were thinking "of course it's the lady with 5 kids. Who brings 5 kids into a store with breakables? A Sales Associate appeared (weird because none of them wanted to help the lady with 5 kids who was clearly buying stuff) and was all like it's fine, don't touch the glass. I managed to stay calm and tend to my kiddo experiencing a PTSD trigger who was beginning to cry. Assured her it was ok. It was an accident. We got to the cash register and got out of the store.
We were all hungry and I made the decision to treat the kids to hot dogs and cheese fries (and myself to chocolate cake) which took an insane 30 minutes in the drive through (this is where I kick myself for not just saying we are having cereal for dinner.)
We got home, fed the baby, ate dinner, and then the girls asked to help wrap the teacher gifts. Trying to stay in my zen mom state, I agreed. I would not say I'm a perfectionist but when I have a task to do, I try to be efficient. It was now 8:30pm, I hadn't peed since 4pm and I was exhausted. I asked Stella to cut some ribbon to length and gave Sarah a task and then Simon wanted to help so I gave him the task of knotting the ribbon. Except that he couldn't because it was too short.
"Stella, when I said cut the ribbon this long, did you use the example to cut the rest?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I mean did you use the example I gave you of how long to cut the ribbon, did you measure the new cuts of ribbon against the example? Because you cut the remaining ribbon.
And this is the part where the zen Mama took off. I didn't yell but I started explaining that I give directions for a reason and it's very frustrating when those instructions are completely ignored. And it's fine that you made a mistake but we wasted all this ribbon and I was hoping to get this done quickly.
So she started crying and then Simon started crying. Did I mention I wasn't yelling? And now two kids are crying? I got up and left the room and realized that it was now 9 PM and I had not peed since 3 PM.
So I go back downstairs and sit back at the table and baby Solana is cooing in her rock and play and I say "maybe Mommy will just stop talking. If I don't say anything then everyone will actually be listening". This of course was met with giggles.
Zen didn't happen on Saturday when I discovered that Sarah took the hand sanitizer out of the shopping bag from the ill fated trip above, and then proceeded to leave them about the house. And then her siblings discovered it and no one told me. There was lots of yelling upon discovery. And a call to my Mom and a call to Hubby to come home. And tears, for all of us, except the baby who slept right through my tantrum.
This is hard. I don't think it's harder because of the baby (except for the lack of sleep) but it's hard to manage the sabotage, and anxiety, and expectations we put on ourselves to make this time of year special.