the wrong side of gray

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lately I have been stuck in a rut. (Side note: when I just typed out "rut", and said it in my head, it looked and sounded weird, so I went to look it up on Merriam-Webster to see how they defined it, and here is the first definition that is listed: "RUT: an annually recurrent state of sexual excitement in the male deer..."). Um, exsqueeze me? Clearly that is not that type of rut that I have been stuck in.
This guy on the other hand....

Interesting stuff. 

Anyway, back to my rut. I don't believe I have shared with you all about our latest living situation. It started last Fall when the lease on our townhouse was about to run out. (The one where we had the big kid conundrum.)  Well, we totally were not feeling comfortable enough there to renew our lease for another year, but we also had no idea what the heck we would do. Having been a semi-nomadic family since the day my husband and I married, I really did not want to move yet again, but I knew that it was going to be best for us. Problem was we had no idea where to go. The biggest issue was the never-ending school discussion. We did not know at that point whether Archie would stay at his current school for several years, or just for a little while... did we want to move closer to Joey's work... did we want to continue leasing... was having a yard a must... apartment, townhouse, house... in-town, further west. We had no idea what we wanted to do, and we were running out of time. 

Joey's mom kindly offered us a room at her townhouse for as long as we needed to get things figured out. So in we moved. And when I say "a room", I literally mean one room. For the four of us. 
There she is.... (yes, you're looking at the entire room). 

To say this has been an adventure would be an understatement. My mother-in-law has been ridiculously gracious and never complains when my kids leave giant messes all over the place. Or when I leave a sink piled with dishes. She has been awesome and we are so grateful that she has let us take over her home these past several months, and I don't want it to sound any other way. 

In the beginning it was so easy for me to keep things in perspective. Having been to Bulgaria and seeing where Archie grew up; having seen how those children lived, every day, piled on top of each other in tiny rooms jam-packed with beds and cribs, it was easy for me to remember at the end of the day that I still had it good. Really good. My family was safe, and fed, with a roof over our heads.

But a few months into it, I heard myself complaining. Whining about not having our own space, and dreaming of the day that we would. I could usually snap myself back into perspective pretty quickly, but it seemed to be getting a little tougher every day. The other day in the car, I had just hung up the phone with Joey after discussing house situations, and I said out loud to the kids, "Oh whatever, I don't even care where we live, as long as I am with you guys I would be happy living in a cardboard box...we don't need a lot of stuff anyway." And Ace quickly responded, "umm mom, it's gonna have to be a big box because actually I do need a lot of stuff."

I don't remember exactly when it was, but somewhere along the line I started playing the waiting game again. I know I have talked about it here before. I guess it is one of those things that I come in and out of. You know, the one where you just sit and wait for life to pass by until you actually start living. Waiting for a situation to change or a season to pass. That's the worst. Putting life on hold. Yuck. It's like, "Hello, lady! You have an amazing life and family already, what the heck are you waiting for?!"

The problem with me (yes, there is only one problem) is that I am such an all or nothing person. There's never any middle of the road, no gray area. And there are times when I find myself on the wrong side of gray. And it sucks. The right side of gray is fantastic, although also completely unrealistic. The pressure to stay on the right side of gray is also unbearable, which is why I only stay on it for short periods of time. For example, I will be the healthiest, cleanest eating, water-only drinking, most self-disciplined person for an extended period of time, and then one day, I give in to temptation and eat a bag of Cheetos or a Cadbury egg, and then it's over. Then the next day I find myself waiting anxiously in the drive-thru line at McDonald's salivating over the thought of biting into that 99 cent double cheeseburger (gross) and those overly (yet perfectly) salted fries. And a large coke. But it never stops there. And this is where the slope gets super slippery and I slide straight down into my rut. (And apparently it's also where Sally sells seashells by the seashore).

The disgusting eating habits are just the beginning. That then translates into my household duties, parenting skills, etc. On the right side of gray, I have myself on strict cleaning routines; on the wrong side, getting a load of laundry into the washer, and transferred to the dryer is about as far as it goes. On the right side, I read to my kids every night; on the wrong side, they ask me if we will ever finish that book we only got to chapter three on. On the right side, I devise and implement discipline systems that actually work on my kids; on the wrong side, I have a white flag permanently waving over my head and I allow two tiny hooligans to run my life. On the right side, I exfoliate and moisturize every night; on the wrong side, I go to sleep in whatever make-up I was able to slap on in the car that morning. You get the picture. It's not pretty. 

And when I am on the wrong side, I am just not my chipper self. Last night I turned down the opportunity to go to a Rockets game with my husband and some really awesome friends because I just felt like "ugh". Like a chunky monkey with no clothes to wear, zits like a greasy 14 year old, and some awkward white girl afro that requires an explanation. And for a person who doesn't care much about what others think (especially about appearance), I still felt uncomfortable enough to know that I probably wasn't going to be able to be myself around these people who are so pretty and seem so put together. (I know, I know, Glennon Melton, they are not as put together as they seem). But I was still feeling inferior.

I hate this "all or nothing" mentality that I have. I hate not being able to find middle ground. Why can't I do things "right" most of the time, but slip in a double cheeseburger or an extra TV show every once in a while.

So I am making the commitment to myself right now. And I am sharing it with you all because they say that sharing your resolutions helps you feel accountable, and helps you keep them.

My real goal is to be able to lay my head down at night and reflect on what a great day I had, and smile about the fun I had with my kids, instead of stressing over the things I didn't get done or the time I wasted.

I am also freakishly excited for summer so thank God it's just around the corner!

Lots of Love!


Devour the words said...

I can relate to this post soooo much.

And I learnt something new.. I tell my kids every morning "Learn something new today"... and I now know what RUT means.. haha Thanks

Annette said...

We follow a primal lifestyle at our house written by Bill Sisson. His suggestion is that if you eat correctly 80% of the time you are on target. If you deny yourself the "no-no's" all the time you set yourself up for failure. We find this works in most aspects of life. His website,, has some of this philosophy as well as some awesome, easy, healthy recipes that our kids love. If dinner time is easier it gives you more time to love and Archie & Ace!

Opie Smith said...

You're greatly missed Eicher Family♥♥♥ Miss seeing those Ace and Archie updates.

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