For a brief minute or two, the breezy hum of my hairdryer drowns out the tantrum taking place in the kitchen. Jack is pissed about doing homework. Something has not gone to plan and he is freaking the fuck out. While my husband is trying to butter waffles and shield Emily from Jack’s flailing pencil and fists, Jack is screaming, calling names, and taking swings at my husband.
This used to be an every day occurrence and now it is more like a couple times per month. But still, when it happens, it feels like a freight train is racing towards me and I can’t move. I don’t know what to do. And I am supposed to know what to do because it is my job to tell other parents how to handle situations just like this.
He’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time!
Be present with him. Keep your composure!
Try to be perceived as a helper!
Blah. Blah. Blah. It frustrates me I am so inept in my own home.
Winter makes it all worse. I don’t really know why. We are still going out, getting physical exercise, staying busy. Maybe it is the lack of sun. Maybe Jack is as sensitive to this as I am.
While I am not one to complain about the weather, I have to recognize that this winter in New England has sucked in a giant way. We have been pummeled with snow for weeks. I stand nearly six feet tall, and yet there is a mound of snow TALLER THAN ME for crying out loud, next to our driveway. Other parts of the country may be used to this type of precipitation, but for us, here, it is a little much.
The ice and snow are destroying people’s homes. A bunch of my friends and coworkers have had slip and falls on the snow, have had to take time out of work, and have been sore and injured. Businesses have had to shut down for state-of-emergencies, and have lost significant revenue.
My husband was in a fender bender a couple weeks ago, because he could not see around the enormous bank of snow at the top of our street. While everyone was unharmed in the accident, it still required auto-body work on his car to the tune of a $500 deductible. Since we don’t generally have $500 lying around, this represents an additional financial stressor in our lives which are already stretched very thin.
These are all real stressors. These are all factors that tip the scales in favor of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
At least they have for me.
I’ve been noticing my patience is really thin with my kids, and then I feel like a total jerk hole for yelling or being short with them. I’ve been noticing that my energy is low, my appetite is poor, and all I want to do is sleep and munch on chips. I’ve been noticing it feels like an act of Congress would be the only thing to get me up off the couch to put the laundry in the dryer, or to get Emily a drink of water.
I look around outside and the big, crusty, piles of snow make me feel claustrophobic, like there is no room to move.
Then I get to go to work and listen to dozens of clients vent about their lives, the weather, and how insane their kids are acting. At some point, I just want to say, Look, I’m not any better than this and I really have no advice for you because I am a total fraud. So, good luck with everything. Now go away and leave me alone.
I was sick with bronchitis and then bronchitis induced asthma for the entire month of February, so any emotional buffer I might have had to tolerate aberrant child behavior, a hectic workload, and the third blizzard in as many weeks has been rinsed down the sink in a gob of greenish-yellow phlegm.
So, when I get pumped up with a tiny burst of pleasure at a nice hot shower, it just feels devastating to have that bubble popped by hearing a tantrum the second I turn off the water.
I know kids do crazy stuff and they get angry too. Believe me I know I’m not supposed to take it personally. But it seems I’ve gone a bit snow-blind and have lost some perspective on things. I’m trying to remember Jack typically has trouble at this time of year, then things get a little better with spring.
I just want my family to be happy.
I just want to be happy.
It sounds so simple, and yet somedays it can feel so hard.
Are you having a tough time this winter? Have you ever been diagnosed with SADD? What has been helpful to you during this time?
Ps. Please check out my new creative writing blog, the Story of Blue. I’m so excited to see you there!