Saturday, July 17, 2010

Girlfriends....right up there with booze and chocolate.

This week was not an good one. It started off OK, small errors of judgement/memory here and there, but not enough to get upset about. But then I had a shift on L&D that made my whole attitude sour. I didn't do anything Wrong, but I sure didn't do anything Right. I left with a bad taste in my head, and couldn't shake it. I have this sweet gig at the hospital where they call if they need someone and I work from 3 am to 7 am. It is perfect for me: I don't have to get childcare (although Murray has a busy morning with the kids until I get home) and I simply adjust to the early morning by drinking more coffee. I'm tired, but not non-functionally tired - as I am if I work all night.

And this morning was technically even better than usual because Marmee took Natalie so I just had Sam - but I just couldn't shake my frustration. I haven't been treating my usual cyclical angst and exhaustion appropriately and have been snappy with the kids and Mur, avoiding exercise, not reaching out to friends and letting the house chores crush my spirit and energy. Not good, any of it. So misery has been building and this seriously kicked it up a notch.

Enter: Girlfriend power. I am blessed with many fantastic Girlfriends, but this week two in particular came through for me. Wednesday, when I was still reverberating with acute frustration my friend "Wild Woman" Maria called to ask if I wanted to come with her to pick of 5 cases (5 cases) of mangos at an Indian grocery store. Since one of my great joys is going to ethnic grocery stores I jumped at it. Not to mention, I needed the distraction, my kids adore Maria and I knew I could use an extra adult because my patience was thin, due to my own internal turmoil. Long story short: we had an awesome time. I have found a grocery store kindred spirit - someone else who buys stuff that looks intriguing  even though she doesn't know how to cook and/or eat it. In addition, I got to verbally process, Natty and Sam had a good adventure and we got delicious mangoes (and samosas, and chutneys, and lychees....)!

But my lack of competence was still eating at me. Thankfully the next day I had planned to go see a dear, dear friend from Whitworth, Court, who was visiting her mom in Newport. The ride there was a doozy. I turned the wrong way out of the driveway, realized I'd forgotten the beach stuff after driving 15 minutes, got into a big fight with Natty and missed my exit. Aaaaargh! To top it off, when we arrive at the cafe where we're going to meet Court, Natty admits in a small voice that she forgot her shoes. Oh, great. My daughter is barefoot in Newport, RI. Now I look the the harried, tired and incompetent mother that I am.

Court arrived, I got the children some food and we sat at a table chitchatting when I finally just said, "Oh Court, I've had the week from hell." and started crying. Bless her, she is a true Girlfriend. She just put her hand on my arm, kept feeding Sam and distracting Natty until I got myself back together. Then she gently listened, asked the right questions and gave great (and hilarious) commentary as we gathered the kids up and made our way to the beach.

Where we had a perfect time. I love doing things with Girlfriends because they help me be a better mom - mostly by easing the strain. She watched Sam while I took Natty to the bathroom. And protected Natty's sandcastle from Sam's destructive tendencies. And did countless other small things without making me feel like she was doing me favors - it's just who she is.

Total bonus: we saw these 3 amazing women - all grey-haired, athletic and low-key - wade into the surf, (with all the boogie boarders and other human flotsam careening around) and take off swimming into the ocean. They swam out until we could just barely see their caps, and swam laps between the outer buoys for a long time. Then they swam back in and gracefully walked back up the beach, gathered up their bags and went off - chatting all the while. That, to me, is beauty.

I'm still bummed about my work performance. When you only work 1 shift a week (at that) there's no chance to go back the next day and hit a home run. I derive a hefty amount of my self-satisfaction - if not self-worth - from doing a job well and it rankles. On the flip side, I realized that maybe it's time to leave in-patient maternal child health. I like the outpatient work I do now and it's easier on the family to have a set schedule that doesn't involve exhaustion.

The frivolously good news in my life is that I finally got my hands on "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". The luxury of a engrossing read is in my near future.

And so it goes. Another day in the life....made infinitely better by my amazing, wonderful and totally rock solid Girlfriends.

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