Thursday, April 28, 2011

Starvation, Frustration, and the All-Time Favorite: Overwhelming Guilt

I'm cranky.  Not sure why.  Oh, what the hell?  Yes, I am.  I'm cranky because:
1) I'm starving
Ellie challenged me to a week-long detox.  We're following Gwyneth Paltrow's 7-day-Cleanse.  I don't know if I necessarily believe these types of regimens do what they say they do....which is to eliminate toxins and clean out your liver, etc.  But this one isn't quite as awful as most of them and it is basically giving me a week of healthy eating (although scant) and eliminating most processed foods....I say most when a lot of people would say all - but I'm weird about processed. To me, if it has been dehydrated/dried and altered or powdered or comes from a can - it's gone through a process and is no longer whole.  The dried fish flakes?  Didn't look whole to me.  Anyway - with the exception of the obvious hunger - I'm feeling pretty good. I'd been retaining some fluid and now I'm totally not.  That alone makes me feel better.

This cleanse is supposed to be easy.  It's not.  Things that Gwyneth said would take five minutes took more like twenty.  I think maybe it takes her five minutes to let her chef know she's hungry and she's just confused her lifestyle with the lifestyle experienced by us Ordinary People.  She also acted like all of this stuff would be easy to find anywhere. It's not.  We've felt like hunter/gatherers....going here there and everywhere and still not finding it all - Whole Foods even shrugged over some of the items on our list.  Oh, and let's not forget that it is freaking expensive.  There is no way Regular Folks With Mortgages could keep this up. 

I'm doing it because I'm fat and hoping to kickstart myself into a real effort at weight loss. I do think I'm accomplishing this goal because I feel very strongly that I don't want to blow it - doing this for a week is just too much work to throw away. 

Ellie's doing it to be competitive.  She doesn't need to lose weight and as soon as Saturday rolls around she's going to chow down on a gigantic veggie pizza.  She eats really healthy anyway - the only true vegetarian in our house - and the one time she ate a bunch of junk food with friends she was sick the next day.  So she is just basically trying to kick my ass and detox better than me.  She's a bit competitive....have I mentioned that before?  Everything is a contest to her - my little tiger cub raised by pussycats.  In a yoga class our teacher, Wendy-Girl, had to actually remind her that yoga was not a competitive sport and there were no winners and losers and and Ellie said, "Oh, I know that! But see how my leg is higher than Mom's?"  When we were asked to hold poses for as long as was comfortable - Ellie's comfort level was simple.  She was simply comfortable holding a pose longer than everyone else, and not a second less.  Let's face it, it's one of the reasons she has a full ride to college next fall...and the reason I know she won't blow it when she's there.

So, you can imagine my pride at having been able to swallow TWO spoonfuls of olive oil (we're talking Fear Factor) when Ellie could only swallow ONE.  I mean, seriously.  I haven't been that victorious in a long time, if ever. I think I may have gloated.  I know I bragged.  And I held up my bottle of extra virgin olive oil and quoted Ellie's favorite phrase: I'M A WINNER.

To which she replied, "Just like Charlie Sheen."

Sigh.  So I'm hungry.

I'm also cranky because:
2)  I'm frustrated. 
I'm frustrated that I can't find enough time to write.  Or read.  Or nap.  Or just sit and be.  I've chosen this lifestyle - homeschooling and having kids around me ALL THE TIME and being active in their lives yada yada...but sometimes a mama just wants to sit and write a steamy scene without a 9-year-old coming up and saying, "Whatcha doing?" and then looking over my shoulder, or sticking her face in mine, or climbing on my lap.  Yes, I've been writing steamy scenes.  And I'll write them basically anywhere I can...because as I just mentioned....finding time to do it is an issue for me.  Ellie had a rehearsal in a church once...and when she was all done she walked back to where I was sitting behind a pew on the floor and said, "Writing smut in the back of a church, Mom?"  I totally was.  Anyway, sometimes a mama just wants to finish a bit of dialogue without having the 7-year-old coming in and yelling, "Mom! Jules won't let me in my own room!" or any number of things find their way into my characters' mouths:

"I can't explain it, really.  Not very well, anyway.  It's's like I can't escape the rhythm of the world. It invades every part of me. I hum with it.  I'm shackled by the weight of its endless sounds and colors and JULES WON'T LET ME IN MY OWN ROOM!"

Ugh.  So then I get mad.  And then I feel guilty.  Which brings me to reason number 3 as to why I'm cranky:
3) Guilt.
I hate the guilt.  I know every mother has guilt, but mine all revolves around writing.  Well, not ALL of it.  I have a few other character flaws, as well.  Being a writer isn't my only one. But ignoring my kids instead of writing...being short with them because they're interrupting my flow...rushing through the minutes of their lives (you know the minutes I'm talking about...the ones you can never get back)...rushing through them so I can get back to a scene.  Silently wishing, at times, that they were in school - even though my Asperger's son wouldn't survive a day.  Guilt over all of those things...and guilt over the times that I blame them for the lack of words, the incomplete thoughts, the poorly structured sentences....when it is my own lack of skill, talent, or focus. Guilt over not being fully present because I'm silently plotting, or being distracted beyond words by the fear that my story has fallen apart. Again.

And I'm overwhelmed by the amount of physical work it takes to run a household of seven.  I'm behind on virtually everything. The laundry, the shopping, the cooking and cleaning.  There are forms to be filled out and details to be handled.  Order Camille's skirt for the dance demonstration, make travel arrangements for Ellie's Wyoming Competition, print up and fill out forms so Joel can get his learner's permit, mail off his last geography lesson, register him for biology, make those dental and optometry appointments, put all of Ellie's summer performance dates on the calendar (I'm sure I'm already double-booked)....lots of little details.  I recently read an essay called,  Drowning in Daylight by Tess Hardwick, a writer mom.  Found it by accident and it resonated with me strongly.  Drowning.  I often feel as if I am drowning - right here in my comfy red chair. *Tess has a new book out, her first novel, called Riversong. Tess is on my blog roll, now.  OH!!  Speaking of blog rolls - you read Our Simples Lives, right?  Mark is up for an award for Best LGBT Parent Blog or something like that.  Go to his blog and click on the pink link to vote for him.  You can vote every day up until May 13.  Mentioning this was one more item on my to-do list. But I really want Mark to win! And he wants to win! Then he can be just like me, Ellie, and Martin Sheen.

4) I'm overwhelmed.

I realize that some of my blog posts might make it seem like it is endless fun and games over here.  And often it is.  But sometimes it's not.  Sometimes I'm cranky.


  1. Joel shall be proud. A little Tolkein sums it up for this momma.

    "I feel... thin. Sort of stretched, like... butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday. A very long holiday"

    although when I have gone away I am racked with worry and guilt over not being at home.
    Can't win for losing.

  2. Oh sardine mama, you are a great mama and a great writer and your kids are super lucky that you care so much! Reclaim some space and forget the guilt. But I am intrigued by this smut you are penning. I would ask more but am already late to pick up my daughter at yoga and don't even feel guilty about it!

  3. You ARE a winner - and don't we all feel like you do now and then? This evening I yelled (not a first time, it actually happens quite often at the moment) and dragged my son through the garden - and then I cried, hard and long: I only have two children, the cleaning lady came today and I do get to work, because the children are at school and daycare, and still I RUSH THROUGH the minutes - I'm such a loser!! so maybe you prefer not to have me reading your blog - but it always gives me hope: you run a BIG (and often fun...) household AND you find time to read and write! Kind regards and enjoy the last days of detoxing!

  4. I can totally understand the feeling of being overwhelmed. I was so overwhelmed by my life recently that I had to go to the hospital when I had the flu, and was also diagnosed with mono! It's fun being an adult with mono let me tell you. Just do what you can and don't feel guilty about what you can't. That's the best/only advise I can give you.

  5. I was wanting to write something pretty funny and then this post turned a little sad, for me. I was wondering if homeschooling is 24/7 all year long including Summer. Will you have more time to yourself, to get away, once Summer hits? I'm just wondering if you are able to get away for a day or two out of the week and the older kids can help the younger ones?
    That chick who writes the Harry Potter books rents an entire suite at a swanky hotel in Scotland to do her writing. Is that an option for you.

    Thank you so much for mentioning me in your post and on "the facebook". However, just today, I dropped out. I quite while I was ahead. How do you like them apples?
    Come visit me. We'll drink some wine.
    Your Friend, m.

  6. Aren't y'all all being sweet and supportive? Thanks! And Chris, thanks for calling me a winner - even if it is a little Sheenish! @Denny - was the hospital relaxing? It sounds rather lovely at the moment - a bed, a remote, yucky food I didn't have to cook...five stars, baby.@K - Nice Quote. I love it. @Dinster - smut is smut, what can I say? I'm writing a contemporary romance - not quite smut, but occasionally steamy. But I like to call it smut because it sounds more wicked. Mark - you're getting your own comment.

  7. Mark - YOU DROPPED OUT?? WHILE YOU WERE WINNING?? Tell me baby, what's your story? (sorry i occasionally quote chili peppers songs.)

    As for me getting a break - I'll get a couple over the summer. As for homeschooling during the summer - we unschool so it is summer all the freaking time over here - meaning the kids are always out of school. So it isn't so much the schooling that is keeping me busy - it is simply the fact that I have a herd of kids and they do stuff. And just, you know, having people here all day (hey, they live here after all) just means I'm always On Call. I'd just like to go off-duty...but I don't want to go off-duty more than I want my kids here doing all the things they do in the fantastic freedom they have to do it in. But I am allowed to whine occasionally, right? Look at all the attention it gets me! I'd love a swanky hotel in which to write...I should look into it when hell freezes over.

  8. I am officially CAUGHT UP (reading your blog)!!! And it's barely May! Ha ha!~

  9. I don't know what happened with my comment - it somehow got posted by "Chrisje" which is my gmail-alias, but I'm still Jade (from Belgium), and I do believe you are a winner, but have no clue what you mean by Sheenish (being belgian, living without television, and hardly having time to go to the movies + prefering to read blogs rather than the newspaper or magazines I am NOT into "people"...). Am getting curious about the result of the detox-thing: should I try it too? Will it give me back some energy so I can actually prepare real food for the children and prepare my classes? And if you leave to live in a suite in whatever hotel, please don't forget to blog now and then!! Kind regards, Jade

  10. Jade - Hi! It was nice hearing from your alter ego :). Sheenish - let's to explain. Charlie Sheen is a celebrity. He is insane. Like Mel Gibson's insanity on steroids. I love him. (Sheen - not Gibson). Anyway - he tends to say he's a when Ellie says I'm a winner like charlie sheen it isn't necessarily a compliment and might in fact be a reference to mental instability on my part. I'm going to blog about my de-tox - but yes it was great! I lost 7 pounds in 7 days and now I'm sticking to a diet because it just felt so good to shed it.

  11. I don't know what this cleanse consists of and sorry to read it is so hard. Perhaps you may want to try Threelac -- it's a probiotic that is supposed to kick-start weight loss. It clears all the candida in your body (which makes you crave carbs) and lose weight in the process. Most people I know who went on this Candida cleanse lost at least 15 lbs or so.

    Good luck!