Thursday, 29 November 2012

The straw that broke the camel's back

The straw that broke the camel's back
29 November 2012

Have you ever had that feeling of being completely overwhelmed?  I’m sure you have.  We’ve all experienced it at some point or another.  It is a horrible out of control feeling of not being in charge and of not ruling your emotions.

The last few weeks have been manically busy for me.  In fact I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this.  It is very prevalent at this time of the year.  For me it’s been functions, exams, dance demo’s, crafting, markets, Jumping Castle mania (it’s like this every year – and it’s really a good thing that it’s busy), birthday parties, end of year parties, class parties, etc.  Not to mention the normal run of the mill stuff, like shopping for my home, running it, cooking, kids extra-murals, family commitments, and the like.  Sooo much to organise.  Loads to do, to get, to remember.  Basically too much to do, with too little time to do it in.  Perhaps your busy is due to other stuff, but for me it’s been the above.  I haven’t even wrapped my head around Christmas yet.  I think it might dawn on me in a few weeks’ time.  When the current crises start dying down.  When all of the school do’s are done and the exams are over.  Once we’ve had the last swimming and dance lesson of the year.  For now at least I’m lucky that most sport has stopped, and extra lessons too.

Then it’s decorating the house, making Christmas cards, the daily shopping and speaking of shopping, Christmas shopping too.  I haven’t even gone there yet.  There simply hasn’t been time.  Lately it’s all been very late nights and early mornings.  I know I’m sleeping too little.  My plate is too full and I don’t quite know how to make it smaller.  Or perhaps I do, but I just don’t want to take the unpalatable options available to me.  So I slog on.  Just as you’re slogging on too.

Our trip to Durban was a huge testament to organisational skills.  There was just so much to do.  It sounds ridiculous that it rattled me so much, but such is the nature of my work and being a mom.  Unfathomable if I stopped and thought about it long enough.  Apart from the kids, there was also a business to delegate and relinquish for the weekend.  I clearly remember organising everything with military precision and nothing was left to chance.  I was overtired and rushed off of my feet.  Despite this, everything was going according to plan.  Albeit the fact that my schedule was tight, I at least had a schedule of sorts and pretty much managed to keep to it.  Until one afternoon, when I sat down in the study, in front of my computer – ever so briefly.  I quickly had to make a little note of something I needed to write down, to remember to do.  And when I grabbed my favourite clutch pencil, and pushed at the back, no lead magically appeared at the tip.  I pushed and I pushed, but alas no lead.  Finally I opened it up and saw that I had run out of lead.  And then despite scouring my study, rummaging around and thinking that I possibly had some pencil lead somewhere, I had none.  And just like that, I blubbered like an idiot.  I gave into a completely hormonal outburst and release of tension.  I lay my head down on my crossed arms and I sobbed like a baby because I had no lead in my pencil.  How ridiculous is that?  Pathetic!  However after my little meltdown I felt a lot better.  Like the big girl I am, I reached for a conventional pencil (it had been lying right in front of me after all) and carried on once more.

I wonder if it is a purely girl thing this?  Or if guys are also prone to meltdowns like this?  Perhaps the hair trigger is a little bout of road rage.  Something completely unrelated.  Some poor sod, just happens to be in the firing line – in the wrong place at the wrong time.  All just because he forgot to put his indicator on, is driving in the fast lane or some or other little misdemeanour.

I’m not prone to tears in general, but every so often I do indulge.  Oh, I get sad and have the occasional moment, but they’re normally completely valid.  A sappy movie, missing my dad, a beautiful advert on TV (pathetic, I know!), a book I’m reading, something to do with my kids, etc.  But just once in a blue moon a hormonal meltdown is healing and releases tension.  This past week, I had another little release too.  I phoned my mom and cried – just so overwhelmed with all I had to do.  Very little sleep, crafting nearly all day and all night, kids with exams and extra-murals, running a home, Jumping Castles, Grant away for a week and normal little family drama’s.  And somehow after I cried I once more felt ready and able to take on the world.  Ironically I think I completely stressed my mom out in the process, but at least my tension had been released.  When I get overwhelmed like this, my mantra to all is this “please, just don’t be nice to me”.  Because if someone is overly nice to me, I’ll most probably cry too.

I remember feeling the same during this time last year.  Also overwhelmed and if I look back at it now, last year was a mere walk in the park and a breeze compared to the extra load I’m carrying now.  Yet, at the time it also felt hectic.  I remember chatting to my mom and mentioning to her that I’d seen a beautiful antique printer’s tray at a little knick knackety “antique” second hand shop.  That it was such a bargain and too beautiful for words.  And then, completely unprompted my mom said, I’ll put some money in your account, please go and buy it for yourself.  And just like that I wept like a baby.  It wasn’t the R120.  It wasn’t the printer’s tray.  It was just the overwhelming kindness – someone looking out for me and caring for me.  My tears were not manipulative – I don’t do that and abhor manipulation.  It was genuine.  And my beloved printer’s tray now has pride of place, displayed on my wall – filling up nicely with treasures galore.

I’m looking forward to the lull between Christmas and New Year.  Normally the very best time.  All of the Christmas shopping is done.  The weather is good.  Everyone is in holiday mode.  School is still aeons away.  We tend to spend a bit of time either at Kleinbaai or Muisnes, depending on the Lombard family plans.  But in general it is complete and utter down time.  Swimming, walks on the beach, salads and cold platters for supper.  Lots of fruit and ice lollies too.  Hiding indoors in the heat of the day, with all of the blinds and curtains down – indulging in family time.  Perhaps pulling some mattresses in front of the TV and just having a movie fest.  Snoozing and sleeping at random intervals.  Ice cold cooldrinks – Oros is my best.  Cricket in the garden for the whole family once the day starts cooling or maybe a bit of French boulee.  Braai’s, kids running in the sprinkler, a light breeze and the rustle of leaves in a tree, dozing on the hammock in between reading a good book.

But every so often as if my magic, there’s the glimmer of a silver lining smiling down at me amidst all of the chaos.  Like just now, when I glanced at my watch and saw that it was 15h40 already.  Where had the day gone!  So much to do, so little day left, until I realised that I’d put my watch on wrong and it was only 10h20.  What a marvellous bonus, to score an extra five and a half hours in my day.  So perhaps, just for today, I’ll make it all fit in.  It’s not every day that you get extra hours allotted to you.  So I’ll make them count!
But for now, when I get completely overwhelmed, I try and find a quiet moment and just picture the perfect day. Me and my hammock, a book, a drink, definitely snacks, Grant busy braaing, the kids playing ball games around me, and me occasionally lazily lifting an eyelid to peep at them all – utter blisssss!!! 

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy the time between Christmas and New Year! You deserve it!