Some Days There Just Aren’t Enough Rocks

Why is it that as soon as I write about how well things are going, like I did in my last post, THE SHIT HITS THE FAN?!!

Gil had an early meeting yesterday, so he wasn’t able to take the boys to school. Typically he drops them off on his way to work, and then I pick them up in the afternoon, and so far this system has worked smashingly.

Or so I thought…..

Well, yesterday, the boys and I left the house at 7:30, thinking that we were doing well and had time to spare. They have to be in their classrooms by 7:50 or they are tardy, and we only live a couple of miles from their school.

In fact, Gil and I had a long, exhausting conversation at the beginning of the school year about what time we needed to leave in the morning, and we agreed that 7:30 was ideal. We hadn’t discussed it further, and I assumed this was working.

I took the boys to school several times during the first week of school, but that was when we were all getting acclimated to the new routine, and I walked them to their classrooms. I like that throughout their school, there are big digital LED clocks so you know how close you are to being late.

I struggle with getting places on time. So do my children. So does Gil.

We’re big in-the-moment people, and we easily get wrapped up in whatever activity currently has our attention.

We need LOTS of visual reminders, so the gigantic, florescent clocks are helpful.

Gil and I are the same in that we both have a poor concept of time, but we deal with our challenges very differently.

I stress. He dilly-dallies. I overcompensate and often end up arriving ridiculously early and then I check my watch, cellphone, car clock, etc. obsessively.

Then I obsess some more. It’s not pretty.

Gil just lives in denial, and blames his tardiness on random things. “I lost track of time, Vivi. Geez, don’t you ever do that?” Hell no I don’t ever do that. I know that drill and it does not work, so now I obsess about it.

Or, he blames being late on his crazy schedule or the utmost importance of his job. “It’s crunch time, Honey. I’m trying to get this building turned over, and the owners are on my ass.”

All I hear is, “My shit is more important than you, and you need to chill out and lighten up.”

And yes, chilling out and lightening up is sometimes difficult for me, BUT he’s almost FORTY YEARS OLD. It’s time to take some responsibility and get your ass to places on time!!!! Find a system that works and quit blaming other people and certainly stop expecting me to manage your schedule. I have a hard enough time managing my own.

My theory is that he is a man, and he grew up in a family where men don’t do anything that pertains to schedules — that’s the female’s job. In other words, his mother was an excellent scheduler/house runner. Therefore, all Gil had to do was whatever he wanted to do, and his mom took care of all the details.

It’s tempting for me to get angry at his mother for not training him properly, but the reality is that if scheduling and keeping a home were something I excelled at, it would certainly make sense that I would take care of those details, too — merely for the sake of keeping the peace.

Unfortunately for him, he did not marry his mother.

The bottom line is:

Neither Gil nor I are good at getting places on time, but we need to work together and come up with a solution that works FOR OUR FAMILY. Frankly, we need someone to manage all the tedious details of our home.

So back to yesterday. The boys and I hit more morning traffic than I anticipated and by the time they were exiting the vehicle in front of the school, my clock said 7:45.

I was practically pushing them out of the car — backpack throwing and all.

And naturally, they were moving at tortoise speed. I watched the nice gentleman who was working the car drop-off line help them through the main door, and then I was on my way.

By the time I pulled back onto the main highway, my clock said 7:50. Both boys’ classrooms are at the end of the hall — NOT a short walk, and my kids are anything BUT brisk walkers in the morning.

Seriously, the rest of the day, all I could think about was whether or not they made it to the classroom by 7:50. I just did not see how that could be possible.

But WHY had this not occurred to Gil?

I tried to gather information. He and I spoke briefly on the phone a couple of times during the day about different things and each time I asked a question or two about morning drop-off.

“What time is it when you are typically AT the curb in front of the school?”

“Do you think it’s actually possible that they can make it to their classrooms by 7:50, based on the time they get out of the vehicle?”

I tried my damnedest to not be accusatory. I tried to be kind and casual. Again, I was ONLY gathering information.

So last night the four of us were having dinner, and the drop-off subject came up again. I learn by asking questions, so I posed a few more — this time not just to Gil but also to Piers and Wallace.

“So, Piers, what usually happens after Dad drops you off at school in the morning?”

Of course, it’s like extracting an impacted wisdom tooth.

“We go to our class.”

I continued, still calm at this point. Gil was eyeing me suspiciously.

“So, I’m curious, your classrooms are pretty far from the where we drop you off. Does the bell ever ring while you’re walking to your class?”

Silence. I wait as he chews his macaroni while pondering my question. Nothing from Wallace either.

You know, it’s hard existing as the lone wordy female in a house full of males. How the hell will I ever make it through the teenage years?

Piers finally spoke up, “Uh huh.”

I cut my eyes at Gil, who was not saying a word.

“So, if the bell rings while you guys are walking to your class, do you continue on to your class or do you have to go back to the office and sign in?”

Here’s the thing. I had pretty much already figured out that they had to go to the office because I saw it in the handouts that we got from the teachers at Open House. It said something generic like if students were not in class by the 7:50 bell, they had to check in through the front office.

I take that pretty literally, maybe because my mother was a teacher and I grew up expected to follow school rules. I knew as a kid that not only were there no exceptions for me, but that I needed to be overly compliant because as a teacher’s kid, I had to set an example.

Gil on the other hand grew up with parents who never arrived anywhere on time, and in their eyes, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.

I’m doing everything in my power to provide a balanced approach for my kids. I don’t want them all anxious and in a panic that the world might collapse if they arrive late occasionally, but I most certainly DO NOT want them to be so damn lackadaisical that they think it’s perfectly acceptable to stroll in any old time they please.

I get very frustrated these days when I see people with the attitude of “it’s my world, work around me.”

I do not want my kids growing up thinking that rules don’t apply to them.

Being punctual is a good life skill, and it’s one that I want my kids to learn. We are NOT getting off to a very good start if we aren’t even aware that they’ve been arriving late to school.

Forgive me, Gil, for “obsessing,” but since you’ve agreed to the morning shift, it would be nice to know that I can trust you to at least make sure that they are getting to their classrooms BY 7:50.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!! How about for one second, try to think past the tip of your FREAKING NOSE!!!

Yes!! I have a little rage!!!!

Back to the dinner table. Inside I was boiling but doing my best to remain calm on the outside. The little heart was pounding, and I could feel my armpits starting to sweat.

I really need to take it down a notch. Moments like these are when I question whether or not marriage is good for my health.

“So, about how many times have y’all had to go to the office before going to your class?”

Deep breaths, I’m silently saying to myself.

“Pretty much most days.” Wallace says matter-of-factly.

MOTHER FUCK!!!!! — again, this is in my head, because, ya know, I try to be all chill like that.

Gil pipes up, “Seriously, Wallace, that CAN NOT be true. There’s NO way.”

Of course Gil really doesn’t know and now he has that look on his face that he gets when he realizes that I’ve flat busted him. It’s that look that pretty much says, “Oh shit. I never considered until this very moment that they were tardy. I figured they got out of the car and then someone else was gonna take care of it, and I’m off to thinking about my oh-so-important job. How the hell does Viv figure this stuff out. I mean, she’s exhausting. Her flippin head never stops.”

At the same time, I know Gil well enough to know how very important getting the kids places on time actually is to him. He spent his entire childhood being late for one thing after the next, and he just had to accept that that was the way it was. He didn’t like it, and it took a toll on his self-esteem. This is a big one for him.

I really did my best to just shut my mouth.

After Wallace announced that they had to check in “pretty much every day” I asked Piers again and he gave me an answer that reduced my boiling blood to a simple simmer, “Maybe only about five times. It’s not every day but it’s a lot of days.”

I dropped the subject, but walked away frustrated and put out with Gil. He knew it. This has been a pattern with us since we had children. He screws up; I can be obsessive and over the top about things. He feels like nothing he does is right, and I feel like every time I trust him to do something that involves the kids he doesn’t do it correctly. Then he uses this as an excuse to just let me handle everything, and then we’re back to to square one because I feel overburdened and under-appreciated. Then I panic inside because I know that if I go back to work, I’ll be responsible for everything that involves the kids PLUS my job. I’ll fly around on stress and anxiety, lose too much weight, yell at everyone and our home life will feel like a war-zone.

I wish I could tie up this post with a tidy, happy-ever-after ending, but I can’t. The kids went to bed. Gil and I were both drained from our argument but there was not enough time nor did we have the energy to hash it all out. I went to our room to read and collapse. Gil vegged out in front of the television. I refused to address anything else because I didn’t have the emotional energy and I didn’t want to hear what I already know — he thinks I’m an obsessive, uptight control-freak.

His body language said it all. He felt like a failure and he’s assuming that I’m in my room silently thinking that nothing he does is right.

The truth is I don’t think that. I was mad in the moment, but I’ve had enough therapy to recognize our sick pattern. Was I upset? Yes! But the reality is that school has only been in for a few weeks. We’re doing the best we can. We now know that we need to leave earlier. We need to call the school to find out how many tardies each kid has, and then we can move forward.

We were still short and pissy with each other this morning. I rushed everyone more than usual, and the result was that they left for school earlier and got there on time. I wish I could call this a success. Unfortunately, I feel like a bad mother and a bad wife. Gil feels like a failure and I have a long weekend to look forward to.

He called me after dropping the kids off and we ended up screaming at each other on the telephone.

I refused to continue and hung up.

And what, exactly, is it that’s enjoyable about family life and long-term relationships? Right now, I really have no answer. When Gil and I separated, things were hard. I had the burden of taking care of everything in the morning and at night. But honestly, at least it was predictable. If I screwed up, I had no one to be angry with other than myself.

I just need something to be easy.

As good old Forrest Gump would say, “Some days, there just aren’t enough rocks.”

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16 thoughts on “Some Days There Just Aren’t Enough Rocks

  1. I’ve been a single mother for 10 years. Yes, in some ways it is easier without someone else dictating things. I raise my son the way I want, there are no arguments, differing parental styles, etc. But it’s also very lonely. And the stress is all on my shoulders. I am responsible for EVERYTHING. That’s no picnic, either.

    It’s always going to be something, I tell my miserable married friends. There will always be issues with a mate. If you change mates, you’ll simply change issues.

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    • You are so right. It’s always going to be something. When I get so furious with Gil, I remind myself that I’m fortunate that he truly wants to be here and involved in our kids’ lives. I can’t imagine how tough it’s been for you being responsible for EVERYTHING.

      Gil and I have separated three times, and it was okay for the first few weeks, but then reality hit. I would be so exhausted by the evening and lonely on top of it. The upside was that our routine ran more smoothly, and if something got screwed up I knew it was my doing.

      Sometimes I just question whether or not our marriage is way more work than it has to be. Gil is enough of a hands-on father that whether or not we’re officially together, he’s going to be in our kids’ lives. That’s a good thing, BUT we will have to learn to schedule and interact with each other married or not.

      Thanks again for your insight. You know… you could totally be a relationship therapist. You have a way of making people think without coming off as brazen and know-it-allish. 🙂

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  2. It sounds like you and your husband are the flip side of me and my wife when it comes to time management. She’s always late, and I’m perpetually early. I’m terrified of being late, and her lack of concern for it drives me up the wall!

    Honestly, a lot of what you wrote sounds like me and my wife. I’m sure this doesn’t help you in any way unfortunately, but you’re definitely not alone. 🙂

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    • It always helps to hear that other people struggle with similar situations. It’s funny, in regards to getting places on time. My husband gets so frustrated with me because if we really don’t have a set time to be somewhere, I’m aways late, but when it comes to school and work especially, I can’t even function because I’m so concerned about being on time. If someone wants me to be late, all they have to say is, “Just get here when you can.” I need deadlines and timers and frankly, someone walking behind me shouting out the time. 🙂

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  3. i often find in my life that if I dont do the thinking, or happen to ask the right question, i don’t find out something that needs to be addressed (like your kids being late to school). It’s like hey, if you didn’t care and/or notice that they were probably late, then who would? no one.

    for me it’s like i am shooting in the dark obliviously, and i just happen to say the right thing, walk into the room at the right moment, etc. to find something out that is not only effecting people i care about but also something that can/is effecting me, either directly or indirectly. I HATE IT!!! So, i can kinda relate to your anger about all this. especially when you thought the plan for the morning was working, so that was one less thing you had to worry about, and of course Gil isn’t gonna pay attention enough to know for sure if it really does work or not, it all falls on you instead. You probably feel like a single parent living with your two boys, and then maybe ever have to parent Gil too at times?

    i also have been on the other side where i have felt that everything i did was wrong, and that i had to let the person i was with do everything, but then felt guilty that he had to do everything, so i’d try to help, put in my greatest effort to help and do things the right way, and also become too distracted to know any difference of weather i did them right or not. then it would turn out that 9 times out of ten i did them wrong and it was like, if he didn’t yell at me for a while about it, then i guess i had done it right. but i wouldn’t ever get appreciation for doing it right, only anger and rage when i had done it wrong.

    so, i also understand the feeling of not being appreciated. i tend to need to know, more than most people, if i have done something right, and receive praise for it. it comes along with having adhd. I need to be noticed, and understood, and feel like i have done right and that i have made a positive impact. it’s not enough for me to know i did something good and right, i need others to notice and say something positive in order for me to feel accepted and acknowledged and cared about.

    I am sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time with everything. it’s so hard to trust it when things are going well, at least for me, because i am so used to things falling through and having that false sense of security, that i am pretty much just waiting for something to go wrong, and that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
    but all this with Gil and the kids, and life for you, the way it is in general, in the daily life must be so difficult for you and my heart goes out to you, and i wish i could help more!

    I send positive energy to you, as always. ((hugs!))

    -Feathers of Happenstance-

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    • Thank you. I can tell in the way that you write that you really do get the struggles of ADD. I also need a lot of acknowledgement that I’m doing something right and I know that Gil needs that, too. We both are extremely hard on ourselves. I guess the good part of being married to someone who also has ADD is that we understand each others’ struggles. The hard part in having kids (well, there are lots of hard parts) is that you’re so exhausted from all the day-to-day minutia that it’s hard to give each other the praise and approval that we both need so very much. It’s like he already has a deficit in the praise department and then when I criticize or simply point out something legitimate that I’m not happy about it’s so much harder than it is for someone without ADD. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this. You really do have good insight.

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      • I always love to peek into your life while reading your posts. I often find myself either relating to the very same thing at the very same time, or have lived it before. you are one of the bloggers that I really pay attention to. Keep your head up, and focus on the positive no matter how hard it is and how negative it seems. if you grab onto that little positive that you have, it will get you though the tough times. ❤
        -Feathers of Happenstance-

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  4. Hey, thanks for visiting my blog. I totally get what you are saying here, and I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. The dynamics between you and your husband are VERY much like between me and my own husband. Seriously, I could see a very similar scenario happening in our own family. I found myself nodding at so much that you said here. I’m hoping things get better for you. Those morning routines can be sooo stressful.

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    • Thanks for the comment. It’s strange, as much as I love Gil, I can’t help but wonder whether I would have been better off either single or with someone who is organized and good with time management. I also question whether he would be better off with someone who excels in running a household. I’m committed to the marriage so these questions are pointless, but I can’t help asking when I’m emotionally spent. I know this is just a rough patch as we get into a new routine. It will get easier.

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  5. Yep, sounds like you had a rough day. I understand completely when you wonder what is enjoyable about married life. I’m married 34 years and just now realizing I spent all 34 years pretty unhappy. But I was unhappy before, so, until I turned 50 it didn’t really sink in that I could be happy. When my husband had his affair, everyone told me to do things for me, just for me. Take a class in something you’re interested in, find a hobby you enjoy. You need more joy in your life.

    I can totally understand the “taking care of everything” I did that for 25 years, making all the appointments, taking the kid to all his dr/dentist appointments, husband never did. After we had our son, husband slowly stopped doing things around the house, and I picked up the slack. I’ve slowly let other things drop. My house is not always as tidy as it used to be, but I figure if it bothers anyone else, they will change it. So far that has not been the case. lol

    I know you guys have been having a rough time of it. It’s great that you understand Gil’s limitations, but I think he needs to take more responsibility for himself. As you said, he didn’t marry his mother. It took me 30 years to figure out that I was more of a mother to my husband than a wife.

    I hope you are at least in therapy or have some sort of support. Personally, I think you would both benefit greatly by marriage counseling, but I also know how it’s never “his” fault and in my case, my husband is not really interested in changing.

    I send you thoughts of peace and learning. You are hoeing a tough row, and I think of you often.

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    • Thanks for the thoughtful response, and you are spot-on. We need marriage counseling big-time. I haven’t brought that up to Gil in a long time. In the past he’s been reluctant to go to counseling, so after more and more fighting about it, I went alone to individual counseling. Currently neither of us is seeing anyone. I am considering going back on my own, but I get so frustrated knowing that changes are unlikely with him refusing to accept any responsibility. He would argue that he knows many of our problems are his fault but he doesn’t see how “sitting around talking about our issues” will help. I see myself a lot like you — I’m not happy about a lot and I’m not sure things will change as long as we stay in a somewhat dysfunctional marriage. Sigh….lots to think about.

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      • I can appreciate your hesitancy in resuming individual therapy, but they can help you decide whether or not you can continue this way. And ways to cope with someone who won’t or can’t take responsibility for themselves.

        I too live with 3 men (well, one is only 10) and they are all the same, always looking for someone to blame for their misfortune. Things are getting a bit better, but I’m always waiting for things to go back to the way they were two months ago…with me doing everything.

        I wish you much peace and happiness. Remember, you deserve to be happy.

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