Monday, 17 April 2017

Damned if you do...Damned if you don't.

The dudes want to go to the zoo.
"We'll go tomorrow morning." (all 4 of us: Mom, Dad, Dude & Lil Dude).

The next morning:
Mommy's tired. Mommy wants to go to zoo but won't get out of bed.
Mommy says she'll try to come. Mommy's anxiety is up.

30 minutes later:
The Dudes are ready. Daddy's ready. Mommy's still in bed.

What would you do?

If you leave with the Dudes, Mommy gets sad that you went without her.
If you stay, waiting, the Dudes get royally antsy, wanting to go to the zoo.
If you wait for Mommy, knowing her anxiety, how long will she last before bringing the excursion to an abrupt end, not being able to handle the crowds, the smells, the walking, the noise?

Then everyone is sad.

What'd I do?

I left. I took the boys. Didn't think twice.

In my mind, majority rules. They want to go. So do I. If Mommy really wants to come, if she really and truly believes her words that she "really wants to go", she'd get out of bed or at least show some initiative to engage in the adventure. She didn't.

Waiting for something to happen which, pessimistically, I believe won't occur, is common. I cannot sit around waiting, letting opportunities for the Dudes pass them by. In good conscience, I can't let them be held hostage by her emotional turmoil.

When she's fighting the darkness, battling her emotions, when she says, "I'll be up to help with supper / bedtime / bath / laundry / etc..." I know these to be words of hope, not reality.

I understand why she says it, I appreciate her interest, but I know it's false hope. It sucks...for the Dudes, especially. The number of times I've heard "...but Mommy said she would..." or "where's Mommy?" or "is Mommy not feeling well again?"...those are tough icebergs to navigate around emotionally for me. Because they notice. They see. They hear. They know.

The other night, during prayer, Lil Dude said "God Bless Mommy again" - I asked him why it was important to pray for Mommy again: "Because she's sick...she's not good...and that makes me sad."

Cue the tears.

I tried explaining that Mommy's not feeling well, that she still loves him very much and wishes she could read to him before bed...but he curled up into my chest and went to sleep...

It's her initiative that I miss. Showing the gumption to get off the couch, put down the phone and help...instead, when she comes out of her fog, it often segues into a depressive conversation listing all the things that DIDN'T get done over the past few days, completely ignoring the buttload of things that WERE accomplished. Lunches made. Dishes done. Kitchen cleaned. Laundry done, folded and put away. Groceries obtained. Boys bathed. Suppers organized for the week. Bills paid. Bins emptied.

But all that's secondary. If I remind her about everything I did while she was in her haze, she gets even MORE depressed, because I've made her feel worse for what little she did.

So I keep my mouth shut.

However, coming home from the zoo (or wherever exciting we've ventured) is a different story. I can tell she puts on a brave face when the Dudes relay all the things we saw, did, ate, explored and learned. I can tell she WANTS to see the pictures...but, at the same time, doesn't. It reminds her of why she didn't go. She retreats into the cocoon of her mind and, for the better part of the rest of the day/night, she's in a slump again.

All because I took them to the zoo.

I love her with all my heart...but the reality is that she's become secondary to the Dudes.

My thinking, in pseudo-dilemmas like these is: you handle you, I'll handle everything else.

But I wonder about the future...what will THEY remember?

Will they remember us Three Dudes going places (Da Boyz @ Da Zoo)?
Do they wonder why Mommy doesn't come with us? (Honestly, they don't often ask, when they're surrounded by animals & the smell of poop!)

Will they remember Daddy as someone who took them to the zoo or as someone who didn't have the time to play with them around the house because he was too busy making lunches, doing laundry, cooking supper, getting groceries and other things necessary for the four of us to function?

I fear the latter.

I want to care for her...but I need to care for the boys. It's a difficult conundrum.

When Dude was born, there were complications. The doctor said, very clearly, "you can stay here with your wife or go with your new son. It's one or the other."

I chose the Dude.


  1. How do you handle the fact that sometimes, most times, there isn't a damn thing you can do to help her? This is my biggest dilemma. It kills me to see her just lie there consumed by this most terrible disorder. Has your wife considered surgery - an oophorectomy? My wife had it scheduled last summer but insurance issues canceled it. May be for the better, but knowing that a "cure" for PMDD was within our reach suddenly taken away because of the atrocious healthcare system's lack of understanding (and care).. sometimes I just say to myself that I'd rather be burdened with the huge debt of surgical costs by paying out of pocket than by having to see the love of my life suffer even one more moment of this torment!

    It is torture for everyone involved. She often takes the blame for her being like this but I try to tell her and convince her that NO! I know who you are, were, as we've been together half of our lives now. PMDD is what this is, this is NOT who you ARE! But that does not lessen the prevalence of PMDD.

    I hate this. The kids hate it. She hates it the most.

  2. Yes! Good choice. About the zoo, not sure about the delivery issue. But the zoo, yes. It was good that you went and continue to have that mindset for future events. I’m married and the birth of our fourth child was also the beginning of a nightmarish journey of learning I have PMDD. It was really bad for a few years. I hated that I always got left behind. I hated that my husband had to take care of our four children on his own. I didn’t want to be THAT mom who was always in bed or on the couch, but I was. I knew and my husband confirmed that it “wasn’t good for the kids to see me like that.” Yes, I was sad that I missed out on the zoo, or whatever fun they had, but it was good they went. Recently I’ve been going with them to fun things and they can’t stop saying, “Mom’s going?! YOU’RE going?!”
    My suggestions for anybody in a similar situation are to try not to ditch her if she really wants to go with you. Tell her the time you plan on leaving so she knows the “deadline” for getting dressed and ready. And if she’s almost ready or making a valiant effort to get ready, wait for her past the anticipated time of departure if at all possible. Just know and plan on you doing all the “thinking” for the outing too. She most likely isn’t capable of thinking about buying tickets, what you’re going to do for lunch, etc.
    Don’t make her feel bad for not going. She already does. You don’t need to say, “We’re not going to wait for you all day.” “You knew we were planning this.” She’ll pick up on your frustration and the chances of her doing well when you get home are slim.
    Also keep in mind that she doesn’t want to ruin a fun outing. I happen to dislike crowds of people and know I can be short-fused with the kids. I don’t want to go with them to fun places and ruin it. I don’t want them to wish I wasn’t there. For me, the choice is do I go with them and ruin it, or do I stay here and be the mom who never did anything fun? Damned if you do…