Teenage Woes to Totsy Toes

The last few weeks have been particularly tough on me. I seem to have run into a wall of exhaustion, no doubt brought on by the emotional and physical demands of looking after four children and in particular, one with problems.

Having four whole children is not easy. I don’t have four hands to deal with four problems at the same time. (Any plastic surgeons reading this, I could perhaps be persuaded into the experimental ‘extra arms for fraught adventurous mothers’ program). I don’t have the ability to switch between four conversations. At least, not effectively. Try as I may. And I only have two sides meaning only two children can cling to me at any one time. Although, apparently, four want to.

My son has problems and needs a lot of attention. He needs to be driven back and forth to doctors. Medicated. Observed for impulsive behaviour. He must be constantly encouraged to achieve every little goal from dressing himself (imagine prompting required to put on/off every single article of clothing) to being sat with for the entirety of his homework.

My four-year-old is four and needs a lot of attention. She requires the milk to be poured into her cereal. Her teeth to be brushed. The scissors from that high shelf. The peel to be peeled from her orange. An audience to watch her puppet show. Although she has recently learned to tie her own shoelaces. Phew.

My thirteen-year-old is a fresh teenager and that means she needs a lot of attention. Her hormones literally bounce out of her, yelling, “What about my period? Do I really need to go to bed? Get out of my room!! Sob, sob.Wail, bawl. Giggle, giggle. Guffaw, convulse. Give me food! And lots of it! Preferably chocolate.”
She also has dyslexia which necessitates extra support when revising for tests and exams. Which we she luckily has every week.

My sixteen-year-old is, gulp, sixteen which means she needs a lot of attention. Imprisoning Protecting her from those male predators young boys demands, it must be said, most of my concentration. And she doesn’t appreciate my efforts. No. Instead she woos them with her genuine smile and her real blond hair. Then has the cheek to brag to me about it and furthermore quiz me over safe sex, spot creams and the highs and lows of alcohol consumption.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, that poor woman, no wonder she’s exhausted. Knackered. Worn out. Overfatigued. Sucked dry. Just generally pooped.

Or perhaps you’re gloating gleefully, “You should have kept your legs together!”

Either way… My weariness, once I finally found the time and energy to think for a few minutes, has forced me into decision-making mode.

And these are the decisions I have made:

  • From now on in, I’m only going to do a once monthly 101 challenges update.
  • I’m stopping going to the gym, I don’t have time. Each time I go, I lose a whole morning. And they say I need to go twice a week at least! Eek!! Unlike in British schools, afternoon school here is not standard, meaning afternoons are filled with children and thus with homework and studying, shopping, cooking, doctors appointments, therapy, taxiing, orthodontists… The list goes on. And on!  Therefore, I have to do all my ‘stuff’ and other necessities in the mornings. I’ve realised that includes time to think and to rest. So the gym is out – relaxing is in.
    That means I will be removing two of my challenges: Go to gym 101 times and Try 3 different classes at the gym. Sob.
  • But I still need to keep fit or even get fit so I will have to think up another, less time-consuming activity. Something that’s nearer to home. And doesn’t encroach on my mornings. (The gym is open all day, but because there’s no childcare afternoon/evenings I couldn’t workout then). So, I need to find two more tasks. Preferably two fit-keeping ones.
  • It’s the right decision. But it was hard for me to make. Commiserating chocolate/cake or even chocolate cake donations will be received with extreme levels of gratitude.
  • I’ve also decided to add a ‘Related articles’ section to my updates. So other 101ers who have recently written updates can highlight their posts on my blog. If you have an article you would like to be included please contact me with a link (either personally or through Twitter). I do read your blogs but unfortunately, time is not my friend, so I am sadly unable to read every post.

Despite my frazzled state I have managed to continue with some of the tasks on my list.

I’ve relaxed with a few films :-): Bridesmaids (hilarious), Rio (funny, nice for the kids), Horrible Bosses (Brilliant, really funny), Green Lantern (rubbish) and Ödipussi (not a porno, but another visit to my husbands German childhood. Review: Hmm… Well I did laugh at some of the slapstick scenes. I never need to watch it again though).

I’ve been experimenting on the family repeatedly with new recipes: focaccia, sesame rolls and roasted pumpkin seeds. We managed to eat the breads, but I won’t be winning any baking talent contests in the near future, let’s just say that.

And the seeds were really a lot of work and to be honest, it wasn’t worth it.

However, what was worth its weight in Euros was our Murder Mystery Dinner. I loved it. And I will write about it. It deserves its own post. As I was there, stuffing my face with Italian food, I had a sudden realisation: It’s a two for oner, Mystery Dinner and trying a new restaurant.

I’m good.

Or perhaps not. According to the murder mystery, I am actually quite bad. 😉

We have some more new challengers joining us, please show them your support:

Just Another Housewife

The Mccaskie Clan

The Wonders and Scary Thoughts of a Crazy Mummy!!

Mum Of One

Inspiration to Dream

Related Articles:

101 Things I Love (Part of the Day Zero Project)


30 thoughts on “Teenage Woes to Totsy Toes”

  1. Good decisions Sarah, you don’t want to end as an empty sack of skin and bones with all energy drained. Perhaps simply walking outside will be enough? Did you get a pet with sturdy legs that can accompany you? I remember the rat/dog/cat-discussion here on your blog 😉 You can walk whenever you want, in the morning or afternoon.
    *Saturday hugs*

    1. Hi Mar,

      No we still haven’t made a decision on the pet. Personally, I would really like a dog. We’ve decided to wait until after the holiday…

      I actually really like walking. And I walk around a lot (mostly caused by my bad parking skills which mean I have to park in the biggest space possible, so also always the furthest away from my actual destination).

      Walking is a nice thing to do with the kids too, I think. Last weekend I walked with the 4yo and a friend several kilometers along the river. The weekend before the whole family went exploring in the forest. We found old castle ruins and even a possible fairy tree house. ;-).

      I like the walking idea a lot!!

      Hugs back!!

      1. You can always get a Doodle if you worry about allergies? Here you can read more about them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldendoodle. But don’t get a poodle. With those trimmed socks and elegant scoop tail. Yuk! 😉
        LOL about and hurrah for your parking skills. They train your leg muscles.
        I love walking too. My back/spine can’t take running, but walking for an hour is OK.
        Forest, ruins and a fairy tree house? AWESOME! I’d love to visit them 😀

    1. They said (in the beginning) that we could do it all in an hour. Doesn’t sound like much really does it? However I have to get my stuff ready and take the little one to Kindergarten, drive to the place, get changed, nip to the loo, do 35 mins on the cross trainer, do the weights (you often have to wait until someone else is finished and there is no possible way to do the circuit in 25 minutes. Then I need to have a shower, get dressed, sign out, retrieve the car and drive my husband to work. By the time I get back I have only minutes before I need to pick up my daughter again. It all sounds quite straightforward and like none of the steps take up so much time, but all together they actually do. And I don’t know how I could really reduce them. I don’t chat to anyone (except my hubby when we’re both on the cross trainer). I don’t rub cream all over me when I come out of the shower like most of the other women.
      I guess the main problem is that the morning is quite short in the first place.
      But you are right, it is important to take care of myself and I will look for an alternative but better fitting method. 🙂

  2. I know how you feel, having raised 3 kids born close together, one of them with Spina Bifida so we had to fit in daily life around continual visits to doctors and hospitals.
    Your days sound like how mine used to be. I wore myself out running here there and everywhere.
    You need some time for yourself Sarah – you are just as important.

    1. Thank you Barb, for such a lovely comment.

      Spina Bifida is hard on the parents and on the child. My childminders son had S.B. I liked him very much. After a few months she had to stop looking after me because it was all too much for her.

      Finding time for myself is important and more and more I come to realize that. The difficulty is, generally there is only me (my husband works long hours). And I don’t really know a way to change that. Occasionally now, I ask a friend to watch the kids so my husband and I can go and do something together (like the Murder Mystery Dinner). But I think you’ll agree, it’s just a drop in the ocean. Still, it’s a nice drop and I really do appreciate the support.

      The good news is my 16yo is really starting to come into her own now and starts to take responsibility at times (voluntarily). But naturally my son is at times too much for her. I understand that but I do see the family pulling more and more together. Our team. If I can get through the next couple of years without keeling over then I think our future is bright.

  3. Thanks for the mention! You should buy a trampolene, that way you get fit, it’s good for burning calories and toning up, and your children will love it too, you can all take turns, and with two teens you have supervisors for when the younger ones are bouncing! If not a trampolene then find another way of tiring your children out with a competition element, like a rowing machine and see who can row the furthest!

    Good luck,

    1. You are very welcome!! I really enjoyed your post.

      We have a trampoline in the garden. Which reminds me *we must dismantle it before the snow comes*. The kids love it, especially the 4yo. I have bounced on it a few times and it is fun, BUT I only ever get in a couple of jumps then find myself needing to nip to the loo (having four kids wrecks your body!!) Then all I hear from the kids are disappointed moans, “Mum’s off to the toilet again.” Always loud enough for any nearby neighbours to hear.

      I love competition between the children (sometimes it’s the only way to get things done). I am considering a machine for the house. Something I can do in my pj’s before I take a shower!!

  4. Oh I feel your pain, I’ve taken a more realistic view on my blogging time for similar reasons. I’m probably a few years ahead of you in terms of children and effort required and of course I’m one less full time child than you (my fourth was a stepson who only visited every second weekend)

    Hang in there, being a mum is no easy task but oh so worth the effort. Thanks for the mention in your post as well.

    I just recalled that there was a story years ago about a mother who was overweight (not saying that you are) but she had two kids and no time to go to the gym. She did laps around her clothesline in the back yard while the kids were having afternoon naps. Just a thought. You could perhaps set a challenge to do so many laps around the back yard a day, a week or whatever suited.

    1. Firstly, you are welcome!! How are you enjoying doing your list?

      I really liked the endurance activities at the gym, in particular the cross trainer, so I do think that’s the way to go. We are lucky enough to live right next to a football field (when the game’s not on ;-)). But I have two issues with running, I have a wrecked knee, had an op on it a couple of years ago and the weather, It will snow soon here and it will stay for a good four or five months.

      However, I think that you are right. There are lots of things you can do at or near to home. I am very lucky (through genetics – not effort) that I am not overweight. BUT as my mother got older she became very overweight so I would like to stop that before it starts if you know what I mean.

      It’s really a shame about my knee, because years ago I used to be OK at cross country running.

      Thank you so much for your comment – you’ve really made me think about what actually suits me best and endurance is definitely the route I want to follow!! 🙂

  5. I always hear such great things about the murder mystery dinners! I must attend one soon! The decision on the gym is a hard call but it is what it is, before I moved to Hawai’i I was working two jobs and going to school full time and had a gym membership, I was basically just handing over money to them each month with hardly ever going it was a waste, and though it was hard to cancel it was what needed to be done. However there are a lot of at home exercises that are great and best of all free, yoga being a great one or just simply doing some jumping jacks and push-ups each morning before you start your day, or going on long walks with your family, ever bit counts!

    1. I agree Yogafield. I can definitely do something from home. And I can make a conscience effort to walk to Kindergarten to do pick ups and drop offs once I organise my time better. I walked with my son back and forward to school most days when he was in grade 1 and 2. It’s almost 2km each way, so I actually walked probably about 7km a day at that time. I will do so again once my daughter starts school in two years.

      Yesterday, the people from the gym said we don’t need to pay any extra but can still use the gym until the end of the year if we like. A very generous offer, I think. I’ll try and take the little one swimming a couple of times (try being the operative word).

      The murder mystery dinner really was a lot of fun. I wanted to go to one for a long time and I really feel I pushed myself into it because of doing the list.

  6. A brisk hours walk can be just as beneficial as an hour int he gym, but no driving there and you can do it straight out of your on front door. Bear in pelvic floor exercises as you walk and you may manage the trampoline soon too!

    1. I love walking so it’s definitely a good option for me. Good idea with the pelvic floor exercises – I would love to bounce on the trampoline. 😉

  7. You’re doing the right thing; if the challenges aren’t fun, then they shouldn’t be done.

    Ditto the updates.

    And by the way, has anybody told you lately what a great Mum you are? No?

    What a great Mum you are 🙂

  8. I thought I was here yesterday and left a message, but as I don’t see it, I must conclude that either I am going blind, senile or you didn’t like my message. See, this is what happens if you keep having children. Dianne

    1. I’ve double checked and the last comment you left was on Friday. But I think you may have visited yesterday – at least someone came over form your page – perhaps you thought of a comment and then someone/something else distracted you? Such things happen to me all the time *sigh* ;-).

  9. Don’t listen to anyone who doesn’t commiserate. I had five children and one, probably alot like your son, but they had no medication back then or I would have gotten him some…trust me. Teenage girls…I had two of those and yes ‘mood swings’ are the promise for every day. So, I feel for you and know how it is to be pooped, worn out and generally sucked dry. Kids, don’t you just love them….better when they’re asleep. LOL

    1. I LOVE your comment!!!

      It is exhausting and the last few days I’ve really had a few patience issues. Soon off on holiday though, and hopefully once I’ve done all the packing, prepared the food for the journey, bought the food for the first couple of days, found the ‘right’ birthday present from Granddad for Akasha’s birthday (she’ll turn 5 during the holiday), had my flu jag, repacked the suitcases, picked up prescriptions, hoovered the car,watered the plants, dismantled the trampoline, remembered all the things I’ve forgotten and rammed them in the case, damn it – I should really creosote the shed at least – if not also the car port, bought the creosote, cried I should be setting off for a lovely, relaxing, rejuvenating time. With four kids. Hmmm…

  10. Haha! My first thought was actually… “Yup, ya shoulda’ kept those legs together”.
    You lucky thing with all those children and all that attention……. Hmmm. I’m glad you’re still sane-ish.

  11. Well, I felt bad about not having accomplished much for September (and now more of the same for October) but I feel so much better after reading your post! Sorry, I don’t mean to make you feel bad but it’s good to see we all have our ups and downs.

    I’ve said it before, I don’t know how I’d be able to handle 4 kids when I can barely handle 2. I only have two hands, so that’s how I drew the line. There’s a book called If Mom had three arms that’s pretty funny. You should get it and read it with your youngest.

    Glad to see we’ve got newcomers to the challenge. I’ll have to add them to my list too. Great, one more thing to do! 😉

    1. Four kids – yes – it is pretty demanding at times. OK – at all times.

      I’m really excited about the new challengers (and we have even more now, if you look at my list).

      Thanks for the book recommendation . I’ll look out for it.

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