Diary of a Hunting Widow: Year 11
Posted September 21, 2015 by Prairie Wife - 9 comments
The Cowboy left on Friday for his yearly 10 day Elk Hunt and I am once again a Hunting Widow. You would think that with The Cowboy gone 4-5 days a week normally, him being gone a few more days than usual would be no big deal. But for some reason the whole Hunting Widow gig is always harder than my normal weekday single mom job.
Perhaps it’s the fact that while he remains here physically, as soon as there is the first hint of frost he is mentally already in the mountains. Then of course you have all the nights spent getting ready for the trip, the five day pack trip a few weeks ahead of time, and a weekend spent driving around gathering up horses…
By the time he leaves I’m usually already close to the end of my rope!
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some perks! It’s lovely not having to make a big meal for a week and half. Grilled cheese sandwiches, crock pot soups, breakfast for dinner and fish sticks are easy to make and always quickly devoured by happy Cowkids. This weekend I got to sit down and watch some chic flicks that have been sitting on my DVR for months, and I’m finally almost all caught up on my TV from the last month. TallGirlJ came over to hang out on Sat while her husband recovered from the big snip snip, and I took all the kids to see Inside Out (so cute).
Also, I need to mention that while The Cowboy comes back physically exhausted from the trip, it’s always good for his soul. He works so hard for his family, I know he deserves this time away doing something for himself…but come on, I am human, and there are moments when I am more than a touch grouchy about it.
Usually things go smoothly until about the 5th or 6th day but for some reason this time I only made it until day 3. Sunday morning I had to gather up all the kids and take them to church while I taught Sunday school, went to mass, and then had a lunch afterwards as a thank you to all of us teachers. LittleMissH has not been sleeping at night for months now and in preparation for the busy morning I had the three big kids shower Sat night. I thought I had it all together.
I woke up on time, got in the shower, got the two little ones into the tub, and breakfast in all The Cowkids. I was feeling good and even thought to myself “I got this!” which we all know is a rookie mistake. The second you get cocky everything goes to hell.
Cowgirl G decided she didn’t like the way her dress fit (it’s a touch too big) and rather than let her change, which would result in this dress never being worn again, I made her wear it. This resulted in an epic meltdown that has me dreading her tween and teen years, not to mention I had to send her back to her room no less than four times for various things that she forgot to do. Things that she has done every day since she was two. Little things like socks, shoes, brushing her hair…Then of course Cowboy W dinks around and came up with no shoes or socks. Then he decides that he needs his belt, can’t find it, finds it, realizes that he took off the buckle part and starts to cry because he can’t find that. Add to that, Cowboy C is somehow underfoot the whole entire time, driving his red tractor into my path every three seconds.
I lost my Sh*& not going to lie. It was a screaming yelling, all I could do not to bash my head repeatedly into the wall and cry big ugly tears, rage filled lecture. Cowboy J just kept his head down, I had made it clear that he was the only one that had been helpful in any way. Cowboy C had been simply being a toddler, and I let him know that he was not in trouble (which he kept on saying over and over “I’m not in trouble”). The fact that the two reaming Cowkids had been misbehaving for weeks now added to all this, and I was exhausted and stressed out thinking about the long morning ahead, being a hunting widow just added fuel to the fire.
I may have let loose a few words of wisdom like “I’m not asking a lot from you!” “What do I need to do to get you to listen to me?” “Do I need to start beating the sh*& out of you, cause that’s all I haven’t done?” “Does anyone think about mommy?” “Could you just for one day work with me instead of against me?” and “I’m sick of being the mean mom, can you just behave for one day so I can be nice for a full 24 hours?”
Yeah…it wasn’t great. I hate being like that, I hate starting the day like this, I feel like crap the whole time during and after when I loose it. My mom guilt as I was teaching Sunday school and in mass was so heavy, the weariness of my soul so weighty, that it was all I could do to stay. I wanted to stand up, take my kids and leave…I just wanted to give up.
But people were counting on me, so I plastered a smile on my face and plowed through the morning. I had scheduled my neighbor to watch the kids that afternoon so I could go for a long run, in preparation for a race in two weeks. I picked up the phone several times to text her and cancel. I knew if I skipped the run I wouldn’t feel confident on race day, and I needed that time to myself, so I dropped the kids off as planned. Sometimes when I’m feeling bruised and battered emotionally, the best thing for me to do is go for a run and beat the crap out of my body.
As I ran, I came to several conclusions. I had a bad morning. One bad morning does not make me a bad mom. My kids were behaving badly, they have been behaving badly, and I need to let them know it’s not OK. Was my yelling fit the best way? Nope. So I came up with a few other plans to help change their behavior, and renewed my pledge to be yell free. I took a look at my behavior over the last few weeks, why was I feeling so stressed out and out of control? The Cowboy has been gone a bit more on the weekends, resulting in a lack of recoup time for me. I haven’t been able to catch up on sleep or take time to myself. I vowed to get back on track, take a little more time for me, and not feel badly about it. Also, I had been doing great with focusing more on the kids and less on my phone for the last month or so of summer…when school started I began to pick up the phone more and more. This means I wasn’t on top of all the blog work and chores, and I was ignoring the Cowkids more than I should be. I’m going to get back to turning it off and putting it aside more. More quality time with the Cowkids means that when I do need to work on the blog, they are all happy to leave me alone for a longer amount of time.
We got to talk to The Cowboy last night (thank God for Satellite phones) and hear that he was OK. I forget how much I miss being able to pick up the phone and talk to him. Most days we chat 4-5 times a day. The Cowkids were so happy to hear his voice that we had no tears and “I miss Daddy” at bedtime. Despite less than four hours of sleep, this morning started off great. We got to school on time with no yelling or tears (I even made the kids cold lunch), laundry is in the washer, the dishes are put away, I snuggled and read to Cowboy C and LittleMissH is snoozing away so I can get this post done. Granted, now that I said that, the rest of the day could fall apart but, I’m going to say with utmost certainty, that we are at least taking a step in the right direction.
We’ve got 6 days of Elk Hunting left and I know that we will make it through! I’m not going to beat myself up anymore for being human. I’m looking forward to grilled cheese sandwiches and TV time tonight. Plus, when I find myself feeling put out, thinking about The Cowboy up in the mountains relaxing as I change yet another poopy diaper, I’m just going to focus on my plans for MY elk hunt next year!
What causes you to break down? How do you get past it?
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