My way of dealing with stress is to work. Tackle the tasks and get them done. I'm good at prioritizing and ticking things off a check list. I can jump from activity to activity without losing track of what I'm doing. So, I'm OK in times like these when I have to jump from a conference call, to feeding/soothing a crying baby, to someone knocking at the door because they're here to start the power washing and want a run down on what is needed for the paint job to begin, and then back to feeding/soothing the baby while simultaneously checking and responding to email, to my employee dropping by to have our weekly check-in meeting, returning again with feeding/soothing the baby, back to work and drafting action alerts on our budget play and emailing staffers in the legislature, and then paying bills and juggling the books to deal with the massive amount of money we are spending to get our beloved house ready to sell....
That is my typical day lately. And those tasks are the easy parts of my day. The hard parts are when I look at the clock and realize it is 3:26 PM and then checked the schedule on the wall and remember that Kai finishes KidzArt at 3:20 and is now waiting to be picked up. Crap. Why did I not extend her time in Adventure Time? Picking her up in the middle of the day is really making it hard to get all the rest of this stuff done. As soon as I pick her up, she starts complaining about how she is not in Adventure Time anymore. It turns out, we both loved her afterschool activities going until 6 PM.
I had this notion of being on maternity leave and getting to spend extra quality time with Kailey, especially given that it has been a bit of a rough year for her. I wanted to take her to the library and park after school and just hang out with her a bit more.
But, of course, I also knew that we'd be moving -- and not just moving, but getting this house ready to sell in a very compressed period of time, figuring out her summer schedule, researching schools and neighborhoods in Sacramento, keeping up with my work some (I didn't really anticipate the degree to which I would still be working...unfortunately, the individuals I hired to fill in for me while I'm on leave are not really working out), managing real estate agents, and dealing with the stress caused by a list that has caused this sentence to go on for an entire paragraph!
That is to say, I have no idea why I thought Kailey and I would have any quality time during this period. And, I don't know what compelled me to cancel most of her after school activities -- so now she is home between 2:15 - 3:30 most of the week. She still has Spanish School twice a week, but it requires me to go pick her up, entertain her for an hour, take her to Spanish School and then pick her up again 2 hours later. So -- the Spanish School days are not exactly conducive to getting things done beyond the 2 o'clock hour.
Instead of the extra time together resulting in some quality bonding time, it's just tested my patience. I'm never done with the list of things I need to get to when the Kailey pick up time rolls around. That's not her fault. But, it irritates me and then I get her home and try to go back to what I was doing before, which she isn't very interested in, and everything falls apart. I start snapping at her and bribing her to stay quiet. She wants her needs met -- she's hungry, she wants help with homework, she wants to cuddle with Alden or me, or she wants to play a game.... all reasonable requests. But, they all involve me. Which means not doing the rest of my calls (why do I set up a conference calls for the late afternoon?) or finishing the bills or scheduling my other meetings. It's not fair to her, and it makes me feel terrible for alternately snapping at her and ignoring her.
And, to her credit, she's been really good about playing by herself in her room for long periods or doing her homework by herself. We haven't resorted to endless videos (although, we've certainly watched some). But, she's six, and she isn't going to just entertain herself endlessly. And, it's not fair for me to be upset about that.
That, and, none of us really wants to move. So, we're all dealing with the emotions of a move that takes us from a house we love. I haven't had the bandwidth to really help her process her own emotions about moving away -- and, I feel terrible about that.
I am really looking forward to getting through June. Hopefully, by the end of June, we'll have sold this house, be settled in our temporary home in Sacramento, be done with the school year, have a fun summer camp for Kai, be done with a lot of my work (budget activities wrap up mid-June), and be starting to have fun again. Kai and Alden are both dealing with the chaos much better than their parents -- but, I want to have some real time with both of them this summer, away from all the stress.
Hopefully we'll get there. Fingers crossed.