Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kindergarten Stress Disorder

Hello, blog world. It's 3:30 a.m., and I've just woken up with an insight. I feel dull as ditchwater not to have realized it before now, but sleeping has a way of swirling things that must be seen to the surface from said ditchwater of subconscious sludge. Still, I just want to smack my fist to my head--how could I really have been so deft? (By the way, here's yesterday's project... I'll get to this in a minute.)
I updated our white board, which does wonders for keeping me in line. It's all about staying on top of things, right? But now I know something more, that there's a deeper reason I've felt compelled to tackle so many projects lately--a new chalk board inside an old frame, my Sq"Week"y Clean Chart, the kids' chore charts with badges and token jars, a wall-sized magnetic board, a new blog design, desperately wanting to redecorate what was a perfectly fine kid's room, reading through the entire parenting section of the library in a single month, which reminds me that my Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother book on reserve is finally waiting to be picked up before I claw it apart and growl...

It's all, you see, because I'm a good, organized, overachieving parent. (That's what I've been telling myself. You laugh, but really, I have been. No lack of pride there.) But you want to know the truth? I'm flipping out of control! Split that into two sentences, actually: I'm flipping out, and I am feeling out of control.

I'm suffering from a case of Maternal Kindergarten Stress Disorder, a tsunami of jangled nerves and busy-body energy in anticipation of my child beginning kindergarten, accompanied by all the same nesting behaviors I had the weeks leading up to the birth of my dear children. It's not fear, really. Just an intense need to pull things together and go a little OCD, which just isn't my style. I've even noticed some nervous behaviors in Lorelei this week, my little mirror, and I think she's been more attuned to my own emotions than even I have been.

It turns out, I'm doing whatever I can to siphon this excess energy into creative, motivational and systematic endeavors, because that's just what I do to manage stress, regardless of whether I even realize that I am stressed (until now, I was utterly clueless--again, how deft of me). Some people shop... take up boot camp... overeat (I will say, I did have several baskets of fries last night at Red Robin on Grammy Great's paycheck--thankfully refills are free). Me? I get to work at "family business systems" like it is a business--it brings the control back. It's Kindergarten Stress therapy.

Don't get me wrong, I am (sincerely) thrilled that L's going into kindergarten, because I'm pretty sure she's going to love it. But when people ask me how I'm feeling, I gloss over the magnitude of what this does to my mothering heart, and instead say, "It's only half-day, so it's not a big transition at all, really." That's where I've gotten lost in my own lie. Who am I kidding? It's obviously a huge transition for me and for Lorelei, or I wouldn't be on this strange manic artsy fartsy, expert parenting spree right now to cope.

So that's just me coming clean, though I suspect you already had realized all of this, to which I say, Shame on you, not telling me! An intervention could have done me well. Now I've got to get back to bed for an hour before my Thursday morning 6:00 walk, my other therapy. (Note: that back-to-bed-thing didn't happen.) My poor walking friend's going to get an earful this morning (Note: she did), though I suppose it's due warning--next year, her oldest begins kindergarten, too.

1 comment:

  1. I SO understand, Wendy! I'm going through some major kindergarten stress myself. Now you've got me thinking - is THIS why we've been re-doing our house this summer? I feel this major need to be all-of-the-sudden organized in a way I never have before. Hmmm... this may be a real condition! Great blog. You definitely have a wonderful way with words, woman!