Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hiding Out

To be perfectly honest, this is my greatest skill as a mother, and it doesn't make anyone too happy, least of all the rest of my family who, at least to some extent, depends on my active involvement as a parent. 

Here are my kids in a rare moment of tranquil harmony in Juneau--a detente of sorts--in between episodes of nuclear warfare over magformers or who had more sugar or chewing gum than whom or who destroyed whose cardboard doll house or car.

I'm okay when things are going well, but it's between these momentary lulls in conflict when I do what I do best: hide out. 

In the bathroom, in the bedroom, in any room where my kids aren't punching each other, bouncing off the walls, or otherwise presenting an opportunity for me to actively parent; an opportunity that inevitably results in an escalated fight that adds a third person to the melee and exhausts all of the participants.

Even now, as I write this, I'm sitting at the dining room table in my parents' apartment, listening to my kids and my mother play with "kinetic sand" (a.k.a. the worst, messiest thing since Play Doh) on the floor and having intermittent meltdowns. Being an only child, I am constantly asking the "is this normal sibling behavior" question, and I'm reassured that it is, yet that doesn't really help me.

"The Valley," is what Geoff calls our bedroom, after the movie Valley of the Dolls which I guess is about a women who take pills and hide under their blankets in order to cope with existence. If I'm honest, his analogy isn't far afield from reality. I feel frozen to mediate the arguments I can overhear like "YOUR BUTT HAS AN INFECTION IN IT!" and "SHUT UP!!!!" and "HE/SHE PINCHED ME!," followed by wails.

I could finally crack open Siblings Without Rivalry or re-read 1-2-3 Magic. I could stop mindlessly picking up objects, examining them, and putting them down again. I could quit tweezing my eyebrows. I could put down my phone, or stop blogging, or stop scrolling through Instagram, or pretty much do anything that would be a better use of my time as a mother instead of a total retreat into helpless inertia and procrastination of The Most Important Job I Have.

But I don't. I hide out, because I am overwhelmed by parenting, and I'm pretty sure my kids will be in therapy over this someday. 

I guess trying to break my habit of hiding out so much = #2017Goals?

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