I Broke My Brain. Again.

Oh, my poor, perforated brain.

That gurgling you hear is the remains of my skull dribbling to its ignominious end.

The sad thing is, I’ve totally done this before. Maybe this is just a side effect of using my brain or trying out new things. Like, getting old or hurting myself just breathing.

But the indignity. THE INDIGNITY!

Especially since it’s really my own fault. Also? It’s Kelby Carr’s fault for putting on such an awesome Type A Vegas Bootcamp. While I’m passing the blame around, Affiliate Summit West deserves some, too.

brain drainSeriously, I have been unable to sleep at night because my brain is buzzing about with ideas about stuff I want to write about, products I want to create, videos I want to make, and publications I want to pitch. (Oh, did I mention these are my goals for the year? More on this when I sack up and am willing to talk about it in greater detail. Until then, vagueblogging will have to suffice.)

I have become so absentminded that I can no longer drive.

(For my wise-cracking friends who think Asian female driver stereotypes are hilarious, please. Humor is in the unexpected. This is so easy I’ve basically gift-wrapped it for you. Try something more original, mmmkay?)

Anyhow, back to my terrible driving.

I rarely get lost (especially with the advent of GPS) and yet yesterday, I went to four different locations to find a dance store because Google Maps wasn’t working, I kept thinking I knew where the store was (yes, all four times), and most importantly, I wasn’t working.

Like, seriously. I couldn’t believe it while it was happening. I almost gave up and went home except that Gamera had her first ballet lesson today and needed stuff. (My mind is in shambles. I cannot even articulate beyond “stuff.”)

Then tonight, I went out to grab some late night boba and I cannot fathom where the “good driving decision” section of my mind went. I missed my turn and then I had the brilliant idea to flip a U on a busy road where you it is really inadvisable to do so. So I turned but then saw grass and got completely disoriented. Did this major road have a grassy median? And if so, was I going to drive over it in order to turn around?

I decided to not drive over grass and as I backed up, (thankfully, the road was still clear) I realized that I had overshot my arc and it was actually the other side of the road.

For fuck’s sake. Pull it together, lady!

Add that to the fact that I was having trouble peeling apples or remembering where I put my phone or my keys or whatever and for the love of all that is holy, I REALLY NEED TO GET SOME MORE SLEEP.

But I can’t on account of all these ideas and my ridiculous sense of urgency and needing to complete things all at once because I hate open-ended situations and did I mention that I also recently planned our summer trip back to Taiwan and that took a lot out of me, too?

BREATHES DEEPLY

On the plus side, I haven’t really yelled at my kids much these last few weeks. Maybe there’s some good that’s come out of this after all.

Alright friends. Brief post on account of Sleep Deficit Spending and Perforated Brain Syndrome. Also, I have to pee.

Radical Self-Care

So last week, after I cleaned my laundry room and cleared my kitchen table (I would post a pic but I fear jinxing the situation), and then doing and folding several loads of laundry, I was exhausted. I think I also cooked most of our meals. (Hapa Papa couldn’t figure out whose house he was living in but he wasn’t complaining.) By the end of last week, I was tired, cranky, and barely homeschooled Cookie Monster.

I went into my session with Dr. T feeling defeated and bleh and annoyed with myself.

want to be an excellent homeschooling parent, keep my home clean/neat, and cook good, nutritious meals for my family. But I often feel as if I can only have one, or maybe max out at two of these desires. So, because this week I cleaned and then cooked, I sucked at homeschooling. Like, totally blanked out. I’m surprised Cookie Monster learned anything at all last week. Especially after I yelled at him several times while working with him on math and piano.

I remember back in May, Dr. T asked me what would nurture me and give me life. I had no idea and as a result, got really sad, feeling as if I were no longer a person.

When I think of things that I assume should bring me life such as going on Mothers’ Night Out, hanging out with my friends, running off to the spa and getting massages or pedicures, reading, or watching TV, they are things that I enjoy, but don’t really give me life.

To me, all these activities are escapes. They are my alcohol or drug. I flee my home but come back more exhausted (usually due to staying up too late and not having the energy to take care of my kids and then feeling shitty about that). They don’t actually solve any of my problems.

Then, Dr. T told me something that in retrospect, seems so obvious. Also, suspiciously “easy.”

She told me that for me, self-care would be when I chose not to stay up late to finish a book in one sitting and instead, retired at a more reasonable hour so that I wouldn’t be tired the next morning. Self-care would be when I chose to communicate with Hapa Papa and let him have moments to rest so that I wouldn’t feel guilty about being an entitled prat. Self-care would be when I chose to go through the mail every day and pay bills immediately rather than have mail stack up for months and years at a time. Self-care would be when I chose to walk away from my kids when I feel like I’m going to explode and scream at them for whatever ridiculous reason at the time.

Self-care looked nothing like what I thought it did. And also, seemed semi-doable once I stopped freaking out about doing the self-care “right.”

After some thought, here then, are some things that I can do to make myself feel nurtured and cared for:

1) In order to not feel guilty all the time regarding feeling entitled to tons of free time and shunting the brunt of house and childcare onto Hapa Papa, I will:

– Let Hapa Papa sleep in and I will take the morning shift on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. (Currently, he lets me sleep in every morning unless he is out traveling or needs to be in the office early.)

– Check in with Hapa Papa to make sure he’s doing okay. (I know, I know. It’s weird to actually communicate – but apparently, that is what people do in marriages.)

– Thank Hapa Papa and choose to be grateful for all that he does rather than feel entitled to his kindness and easy-going attitude.

2) Eat regularly (such as breakfast).

– This includes making simple but nutritious food for my family on a more regular basis (we’re talking rice/noodles + meat + veg + fruit).

– Making and drinking more smoothies/popsicles

– Eating fruit. (I realize I buy all this fruit but I save it all for my kids. I don’t actually eat them myself.)

– Taking my vitamins/supplements consistently.

3) Sort and take care of mail daily. (Including paying bills immediately.)

4) Kitchen table daily. Otherwise, the mail and art and stuff stacks up on my kitchen table until we have a party/event at my house and then we shove all that stuff into a bag and then we shove that into the laundry room. And then, I have just piles and piles of bags full of stuff that I have to sort again a year later.

5) Tidy up play areas 15 minutes daily. Force the kids to be part of this in order to earn their screen time for the next day. The place doesn’t have to be spotless, but tidier.

6) Exercise/stretch. Since I have so many things I want to do to care for myself, I’m going to combine this with the children, too. Make them stretch and exercise with me.

7) Meditate. Also, with the children. Likely, right before bed so we can calm down a bit before the nightly ritual of them getting out of bed a million times until I scream at them to stop.

8) Go to bed before midnight. That’s really still not enough time, but I just need to consciously choose to stop choosing to watch shows when it’s 11:30pm or to stop reading even if I’m not yet done. Otherwise, the brief feeling of satisfaction is occluded by my bitchiness due to lack of sleep.

9) Fold laundry and/or do dishes ASAP(This will likely not happen – but one can dream.)

10) Walk away when mad/frustrated. This will hopefully help me not scream at my kids.

11) Write/journal.

12) Put down my phone. I need to stop using my phone so much when I have downtime and just take out a pen and paper and write. Or read. Or whatever. I have the time. I just waste it.

Even looking at this list makes me sort of tighten up inside. I feel anxious and as if I’m setting myself up to fail. However, I just have to tell my all-or-nothing personality to STFU and chill the fuck out.

So, I just have to remind myself (and perhaps you dear readers can help, too). This post is just a gentle reminder of the things I can do to cut down on my anxiety. It is not supposed to make me feel more anxious. (Ah, irony.)

I mean, this is silly and too easy, right? And I say, “easy” because if I had only been doing this already, much of my cycle of angry cleaning then exhaustion would be solved, right? This post is seriously just a Mash Note to the proverb: A stitch in time saves nine. (Incidentally, I didn’t even understand this saying until a few years ago. When I literally was stitching/patching Cookie Monster’s pants. This is probably why I have so many fails at adulting.)

So, this is just how it looks for me to self-care. What does it look like for you?

 

A Good, Swift Kick in the Ass

After my last post whining about not having my shit together, I had complained about the same stuff to Dr. T wherein she promptly tore me a new one (albeit, nicely).

She basically said that I had a vicious cycle of having high standards, being extreme and either doing everything at once or doing nothing at all.  Of course, I would get overwhelmed and do nothing and then get more depressed.

She reiterated wanting me to consider medication because I have such a difficulty overcoming inertia that she wonders if it has something to do with my serotonin levels. Either that or exercise. I had to try not to laugh in her face at that suggestion.

However, since I didn’t want to do either, I got my ass in gear.

Nothing motivates me, it seems, like the threat of medication.*

So, I cleared out my laundry room. It doesn’t sound like a big deal except for the fact that it was so crammed full of stuff that we could barely squeeze in to do laundry. Basically, every time we had a party or had to clear the kitchen table, we shoved all the stuff into a huge bag and then shoved that into the laundry room.

Going through all the artwork and mail and bags and bags of stuff was literally like going through a time capsule of our last year. I know because the last time I cleared the laundry room was a year ago.

Bye bye, labors of love from my darling children! My entire recycling can is full of art. Whoooo!

I did remember to take pictures of them, though. I also took pictures of the art we had on the walls and took lots of the older pieces down to replace with their newer pieces. Very exciting. Cookie Monster was less thrilled and exclaimed, “No fair!” Not sure what was so unfair but hey, he’s not six yet so who knows if he even knows what that means!

Here is my glorious laundry room:

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Of course, this took ALL day (thanks, Hapa Papa for taking the kids out) and it lasted all of five minutes because I still need some place to put this:

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Not to mention my breadmaker that I bought at least a year ago that I should really move back out to the garage.

Likely I will just shove into one of my cabinets. I have to clear those out, too.

And because I wanted to procrastinate cleaning the laundry room, I also did some homeschooling (on a Sunday, too!) and began to rearrange the contents of my homeschooling bookshelves. I reluctantly moved all my nonfiction books into the bookshelf in my office/guest room closet. Is it wrong that the main reason I was reluctant to do so is because now, when people come over and browse my books, they won’t see my “intellectual” books?

I’m such a poseur.

Now I just have to move piecemeal through the rest of my house (going from biggest pain point to the next). Of course, all this means is that I will have to end up cleaning my laundry room again because I will have moved and dumped all the stuff from the other rooms there.

FML.

*A/N: To clarify: I think medication is great, useful, and lifesaving. (Whether the garden variety of antibiotics and vaccines, or the serotonin regulators, etc. for depression et. al.) I, personally, do not feel it is what I want at the moment. I may change my mind if I need to in the future.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

What is it about life that it just piles and piles and piles on top of everything and everywhere?

I mean, I realize that entropy is the default state of being and the Second Law of Thermodynamics so why fight against The Universe?

And yet.

No matter how much (or let’s be real, little) I do, it’s never enough. I always feel behind the 8-ball.

Is this a Woman Thing? Or a Mom Thing?

I mean, I don’t really hear Hapa Papa bitching and moaning about the state of the house (although, lately, it seems to be pressing on even him) or feeling as if he’s always behind or never caught up on shit.

However, now that I think about it – and I mean this in no way to diminish what Hapa Papa does because he is quite the involved father and provides pretty much all monetary support for our family – he really only has two major areas of responsibility: providing monetarily for the family and being an involved father.

Everything else is on me. Now, usually I don’t mind because quite frankly, I’m a control freak and I rather enjoy having everything be what I want it to be (or think it should be). But then, when things aren’t quite right, it’s all on me.

Hapa Papa is an easy-going guy and a good sport, so other than a few things, he really doesn’t have a particular opinion on whatever new parenting philosophy I’m trying this month or homeschooling or sports (wait, he does have an opinion on sports) or food or household chores or whatever. As long as it doesn’t particularly bother him, Hapa Papa mostly just gets out of my way and lets me do my thing and tries to support me as much as he can.

He is a good man.

But just like I (God-willing) will never have to feel that singular burden of providing financially for our household, he will never have to feel that singular burden of everything else. The staggering amounts of minutiae in the daily lives of five living and growing human beings.

I am overwhelmed.

(Although, I can’t say I have ever felt whelmed.)

It doesn’t seem as if it’s that much. I mean, I am a competent person of above-average intelligence and ability, right? Right?

So why do I feel so shitty? And so dissatisfied?

And now that I think about all the stuff that is within my purview, it really is a lot! I mean, I am not exaggerating when I say that Hapa Papa only needs to think about (and do) his career/making money and being a good father/husband. (And to clarify, Hapa Papa does a ton more than the “average” husband – so please know that I definitely appreciate him!)

Here’s just some stuff off the top my head that I have to take care of on a regular basis:

– Follow up with Car Rental Company to make sure they submit the missing paperwork to our credit card company re: a claim
– Follow up with Health Insurance Company re: multiple claims/missing money
– Submit FSA receipts
– Take care of all benefits
– Physicals and dental appointments for the whole family
– Saving/Investing
– Paying everyone and every institution that we need to pay
– Enrolling/Scheduling kids and their classes and paying on a monthly/quarterly basis
– Shuttling kids to all their activities
– Feeding/Bathing/Clothing/Maintaining/Keeping Alive/Disciplining children (and self and Hapa Papa)
– Keeping track of extended family birthdays/special events/visits/illnesses/etc.
– Keeping in touch with family friends
– Scheduling car maintenances
– Insurance (life/health/car/home/flood/umbrella WHATEVER)
– Shopping (food/clothes/home/educational/etc.)
– Cooking
– Cleaning/Laundry/Dishes/Garbage
– Mail (absolutely my LEAST favorite)
– Diapers
– Potty Training
– Parenting
– Taking out the garbage
– Compost
– Returning library books
– Sleep training
– Homeschooling
– Ovulation/Fertility Tracking (if we are still trying for a fourth)
– Taxes
– Anything that requires a phone call or a live human

Look. I know this shit is what life is made of. And again, it’s not like Hapa Papa doesn’t contribute in terms of housework (I am always elated when he unloads the dishwasher – one of my LEAST favorite activities even though it is incredibly simple). Furthermore, Hapa Papa is amazing at giving me space to decompress and disappear from the family. He gives me entire WEEKENDS (on a regular basis!) so I know I have it good.

But if I have it so good and am still feeling crushed, how the fuck are other people doing this?

Is everyone else just better at faking it?

(Ok. I do know some people who are terrible at faking it and when I look at them, I judge. I know. I’m a hypocrite. But seriously. Come on, people. Get your shit together.)

What do you think? Are we all just sucking at “adulting”? Did our parents have these problems, too? They must have, right? Let me know in the comments.

Someone Get Me An Adult

People, people, people. I just can’t get my shit together.

Seriously. I think I’ve somehow landed myself in a minor depression again. I care about stuff, but not enough to do anything about it. I kept telling myself I’d get it together after our LA/SD Trip. Now, I tell myself I have to get certain stuff done before our DC Trip. (But only the stuff that has actual deadlines.) But really, I’m telling myself to get to it after school starts.

My kingdom for a “wife”! (That’s probably what Hapa Papa thought he was getting, but too bad, Sucker!)

I will settle for someone to just follow me around and nag me until I do things. (Better yet, I would prefer someone to just do things for me.)

Why is adulting so hard? Why is life so hard? (Cue sad violins and people giving zero fucks at my privileged, pampered life.)

know I’m being a whiny asshat. I know it’s sad and pathetic and whatever other invectives I hurl at myself. But here I am all blech-like.

To quote Fat Bastard from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, ” I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Substitute eating with whatever (well, also, the eating) and there you have me in a nutshell.

I want to say a lot of my paralysis is because I’m conflicted of what I want and why I want it. But that only covers some of the problems like parenting/disciplining/interacting with my children or homeschooling. I know all I have to do is just fucking shut up already, sit down, and think about what I want. I just choose not to do it because then once I know, I have no excuse not to do it and then I have to do it!

Which then, brings those problems into the column that is the most problematic: life.

How is it that I am so incapable at life? I know if I just got off my ass, my bathrooms would be cleaned, my laundry folded, my carpets vacuumed, my home decluttered, my bills paid, etc. I know because I’ve done them before. At least a million times before. And I think lately, that is the problem. What is the point? Why bother doing anything at all? I WILL JUST HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN TOMORROW.

Or depending on what it is, in about ten minutes.

I mean, seriously. I do at least three loads of diapers a week (not including regular laundry). After I spent half an hour mopping the kitchen floor, one of my kids spilled their milk. And thought about eating a cookie so immediately, my floor was covered in crumbs. I vacuumed my crunchy carpet and almost instantly, my children chose the crumbliest, flakiest food to consume and then promptly walked all over my family room.

I used to care about things (back in the days before Gamera and Glow Worm were born) but each successive child has sucked the will to do anything out of my body. I am now the opposite type of parent I thought I would be. Just a sad, deflated, screaming mom completely run over by her irregular children.

I think I need an accountability partner. Someone to check in with and make sure I get stupid shit done. Maybe I don’t need a wife after all. I NEED A MOM. Just not a mom like me.

Slowly Moving Forward

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of March already. I thought 2014 just started? *sigh*

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been just slammed these past few months. It’s not even that bad – I’m just slow. I’ve been making excuses for myself, taking advantage of all Glow Worm and my doctor appointments (between his allergic reactions and my back going out), I’ve dropped most of my house-cleaning (except the bare minimum) and paying attention to the mail (eg: medical bills from all these appointments). Plus, my 2014 Goals were just slammed to the back burner and I ignored them.

Well, I’ve been very productive today. Of course, it’s 1:30am and I am also really screwed tomorrow (today?). But I’ve gotten several monkeys off my back. (Which makes me exceedingly happy even though really, these things are just what normal, responsible adults do on a daily basis. Whatever. I’m still feeling chuffed.) It especially makes me happy in light of my previous post addressing stuff I suck at.

So, because I’m four years old, I’m gonna tell you what I finally did:

1) Cleared out and filed approximately 3-4 months of unopened mail. SO PLEASED and SO RELIEVED. Do you know that this isn’t even the longest I’ve gone without going through my mail? I had at least two years worth of mail in several paper bags that I powered through right before Gamera was born. Or was it Glow Worm? I really don’t remember. All I know is that it was pathetic. And yes. Really. TWO YEARS. (This includes medical bills – I really don’t know how I was that bad. It’s not like we don’t have the means to pay for things. I was just really fucking lazy. *sigh*)

2) Gathered my 2013 tax documents for my CPA appointment today. Now, at least I was a teensy bit better last year and started a folder for tax documents (both a physical one and an electronic one). But, of course, I didn’t download all my 1099s and W-2s until past 11pm. (Hey, Cookie Monster and Gamera didn’t conk out until past 10:30pm and I ranted about it on Facebook and then I watched a well-deserved episode of The Vampire Diaries.) And you know, we have a shit-ton of accounts.

3) Paid a lot of slightly past due/about to be past due medical bills. What? I kinda mentioned this in #1? Pffft. This is so awesome it’s worthy of it’s own mention. (Admittedly, this is a lot like being proud of NOT beating my own children. But I don’t care.)

4) Started back on my housecleaning schedule again. Ok. I didn’t only do it today. And I am still letting a lot slide. But baby steps, ok?

What? You were expecting more? TOO BAD. That’s all I’ve got. I really need a wife.

When TV Feels Like Homework

Ever since I had kids (ok, ok… if I’m honest, even before I had kids), I have a mental queue of TV series and movies that I “should” watch. You know, the entertainment equivalent of eating fancy meals (not vegetables because that would be documentaries and the History Channel). Like, I should totally watch The SopranosLost, Game of Thrones, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, etc. But just the thought of it is mentally exhausting and feels insurmountable.

At least before I had kids, I could binge watch series (and believe me, I have!) but now that I have kids, it seems almost impossible. Unless, of course, I’m binge watching something kid friendly. That’s what we call business as usual in our house. In the rare moments when I have free time, I’m too tired to invest it into watching a series where I’ll be hooked and need to know what happens next and due to my extremely addictive nature, will lay aside all other life-giving duties just to splay out on my couch and zone out to five seasons of some awesome show. It’s even too exhausting to think about watching a movie (let alone remember what movie I wanted to watch).

Currently, I have in my DVR queue the last 4-5 episodes of Burn Notice which ended last summer, at least half of last season’s Covert Affairs, several episodes each of Vampire Diaries and The Originals, and this does not include all the shows that I gave up any pretense of watching and deleted from my DVR to make room for more Dragon Riders of Berk for the kiddos.

want to watch these episodes, but the reason I don’t is because I know myself. They’re like potato chips. I can’t just watch one. If I finally sit down to watch one, I will have to immediately WATCH THEM ALL. Then before I know it, it’s 2am, Hapa Papa is annoyed at me, asking things like, “What are you, a teenager? You think you’re still in college? YOU HAVE BABIES!” and I’m exhausted and cranky the next two or three days.

Yes, I know. A TV Bender leaves me out of sorts for days.

Those shows better be the most awesome things my eyeballs have ever seen. EVAR.

As a result, I end up watching shows that I like and love, but aren’t full of sex and violence so I can watch them around the kids. Even then, sometimes, it gets dicey. Plus the kids get annoyed and I get manipulated into watching Dragons for the billionth time. Again.

It’s easier to leave the TV off.

Please tell me I’m not the only person who finds consuming entertainment hard work!