It started off well enough. The kids were up earlier than I liked for a Saturday (we need to close their curtains at night – total fail on our part) but everyone was in a pretty good mood. The weather was nice and I went for a nice long run and was feeling like I could take on the world. I wanted to spend some time with just Aidan (he doesn’t get nearly enough one on one time) and knew he needed some stuff for his bike so asked him to go for a bike ride with me to get it.
It all started to fall apart at that moment. You see, none of the Dutch kids here wear bike helmets. That’s a whole separate entry just on biking and helmets. But Aidan, at 10 years old, is at that age where he notices this stuff and gets upset when he’s “different” than the others. I say, it’s safe. Helmet rule is not being changed any time soon. Sorry my friend. He didn’t take it well.
Commence tantrum. Epic tantrum. As we were riding bikes. F-bombs being thrown from left to right, up and down. Yes, he was. He’s a rather “vocal” child sometimes. And not always in a good way. Always at my limit, I told him we were going home. Long story short and deeply apologetic, we made our way on our errands. But not all was forgotten.
Fast forward a few hours. Liam has now thrown several tantrums for no particular reason. And all three boys announce we are going to see the new TMNT movie. No, I didn’t want to see it (though will admit it was a good movie and glad I went). But as Josh can’t drive, I was really left with no choice. So off we went. And I childishly pouted the entire way. And even more so when I realized that going to the movies isno longer an everyman’s thing – it cost 64 euro for the 4 of us to go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon. Ridiculous.
So the movie was good. I can admit when I’m childish and wrong. I’m glad I saw it. It wouldn’t have been my top choice had we not had kids but as far as kid movies go, it was good. Feeling pretty good now, I suggested we grab dinner at one of the many restaurants nearby. And let the meltdownbegin. Yet another one from Aidan. And then Josh yelled at him in public (not that I’ve never done it, I have, but this time it wasn’t me!). So I decided at that moment I was done…with all of them.
I’m not sure what it was about that moment that pushed me to the brink. It’s not like no one in my family ever throws tantrums (though you would think we’d be past this stage, wouldn’t you?). But it did. Already in an emotional state these last three weeks, it didn’t take much. I turned around and stated I’d be going home… NOW.
Everyone followed knowing not to say a word. They knewthey’d pushed too hard. And so off we went towards home. Surprisingly we survived the drive as I was feeling my inner-Masshole shine through in a very aggressive manner. Not pretty.
We arrived home and I went straight to my room and put on my pjs and went to bed. At 6:45PM. I don’t think I’ve done that ever. Unless I was sick. My emotional state was so far beyond bad. I just laid there. I didn’t read. I didn’t play on my ipad. I just laid there in a fetal position just thinking. Thinking is not always a good thing. I just wanted to walk away from it all. It was such a desperate feeling of not wanting to be here with my family but to escape, go home to my mom and dad or just to leave here. Let Josh take care of the kids and our lives. I’m tired of playing second fiddle to everyone else.
Selfish I know. And the selfish feelings only made me feel worse. I’m so tired of having to prioritize myself after everyone else. But last Saturday, I did – too bad I was feeling like shit and didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. The kids attempted to come in my room but were immediately dismissed away. But I couldn’t attempt to socialize. I was angry. I was sad. I was upset about everything and nothing. I just couldn’t shake the feelings of sadness. And I had no idea what would make me happy again.
Finally sleep came and I woke up on Sunday morning only to find that I felt no better. That has never happened before. I always, always try to start every morning fresh no matter how badlythe day before had gone. And yet, I could not pull myself out of bed. It was a beautiful morning and yet, I didn’t want to go running. Knowing that there are only so many sunny days here, I knew I should go, but I couldn’t. My body just felt heavy is the only way I could describe it and not in a flu-like way.
Eventually I realized that the kids were both having their first playdates and while nothing felt worthwhile or important to me at that moment, I was determined to pull myself together to at least be presentable to their new friends. Because nothing says “hello new family and welcome to our home” than a crazy mom who hasn’t showered or gotten out of her pjs by 1PM. And so I pulled from whatever strength I could muster, showered and gotmyself together. I felt slightly better which at least was a good sign.
In the end, Liam’s friend’s mom hung out for the afternoon and it’s amazing what a little social activity can do to your mood. I felt infinitely better after they left, having put all my negative thoughts aside while they were here and found that when they left, most of those thoughts had dissipated. Not 100% back to normal, but progressing in the right direction.
A week later, I’m feeling significantly better. In fact both Saturday and Sunday I woke up to snuggles from my favorite boys and felt that life cannot get much better. I still don’t know why I’m having such issues since I feel like we are acclimating better here than we did in Spain but for now I’m just rolling with the punches and letting my moods strike as needed rather than keeping them bottled up. I know that this phase too, shall pass. And it will. We’ve been here before but perhaps in a different capacity. I won’t let it get me down and recognize that where I was last week is not a place I have any desire to go back to.
Today marks four weeks in the Netherlands. I’ve managed to have at least one breakdown each of those weeks. And yet, I feel more at home here than I did in Spain. Here’s hoping week 5 is much better!! Lots of positive entries on their way – between work, trying to get everyone settled with sports and activities and just trying to take everything in, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time for writing but I’m catching up slowly but surely….