Sunday, September 19, 2010

34 going on 14

So I'm at the pool with Blue Eyes the other day.  This by itself is a pretty big treat - having one child with you when you're used to three is a cakewalk.  Plus, Blue Eyes can now touch bottom in the shallow end.  Sweeeeet.  Because I was not having to be hyper aware of multiple potential drowning victims, my mental filter was relaxed a couple of levels and I was able to digest excerpts of surrounding conversations.  


Mental filter, you ask?  Sometimes I really have it together and the kids are acting reasonably and I can simultaneously supervise/ parent my children and resemble a person with passable social skills.


More often, I'm desperately trying to suck less at the supervision/ parenting part and what's left over is a blubbering mess of incomprehension.  As a survival feature my brain is forced to tune out any and all sensory input and extraneous thought that does not pertain to keeping my children from being harmed while remaining sane.   Today I actually asked a friend if she could watch my kids for an hour on Monday.  When they're in school.  Seriously?  I mean, my brain is broken.

meter,scale
Degrees of Mental Filtration
But I digress.  


On one hand there's a couple of middle aged women sitting near me who were wafting words like "administration", "carpool", and "recipe".  That's truly all I could tell you because similar to what I learn via osmosis from Sportscenter on a continuous loop, all that sticks are the highlights because I'm utterly disinterested.


Meanwhile, a group of tweens in the pool are having their own conversation.  They're trying to figure out who sings that new hot pop song.  Is it Drake or Taio Cruz?  I'm dying to tell them it's absolutely Taio Cruz.  Duh...  Next they move onto the ubiquitous debate of Team Edward vs. Team Jacob and I'm practically popping out of my seat wanting to tell them of course I'm team Jacob because a) he's not cold and hard, b) Rob Pattinson is way over-rated, effeminate, scrawny and has bushy eyebrows, and c) Bella acts all weird and twitchy with Edward and acts like her normal self with Jacob.  Again, Duh....  


And it occurs to me.  My body and life may be 34, but my mind is stuck at 14!


I don't mean I'm still as stupid and naive as I was at 14.  You know, when you believe that life is like a fairy tale where everyone gets their happy ending, vampires are sexy, and all that baloney...  More accurately, I'm more interested in things that 14 year olds are supposed  to be interested in, and completely bored senseless with "adult" interests.  


Though, as I think about it, it goes beyond boredom.  Adult concerns generate adult stress and adult anxiety. Reading Twilight is an escape, while reading the news is depressing.  It is much more fun to dance in the kitchen to Taio Cruz than it is to sit around and wonder if mid-term elections will cause the current administration to change policy in an effort improve chances of re-election, and how that will affect us.  I mean, compare the ideas.  First thought- dancing in the kitchen- simple, fun visual.  Second thought- blah, blah, politics, blah- my brain starts considering endless variables, and consider outcomes, and so on and so forth.  All that thinking is work.  And I'm already brain tired. No, I'm brain exhausted.  


On one hand, being a stay at home parent and conversing only on a preschool level is enough to shrivel your grey matter.  I feel like the longer I'm not in school or working the more my intellectual abilities atrophy.  On the other hand, I feel like my mind is constantly stressed and overwhelmed.  I think it's partly sensory overload from the noise and the chaos that defines my days.  But it's more than that.  As a parent, particularly as the primary caretaker of the children, you can never let your guard down.  As you're asleep you're subconsciously listening for a cry in the night, dreading the coming rude awakening, and worrying that something scary could happen while you dared to doze off.   I didn't even know that you could do these things while you sleep until I was a parent.  The result is my mind is shot.  You know how if you leave your computer on too long without shutting down it starts to get really confused after awhile?  You call technical support and the first thing they tell you to do is to restart it?  I feel like my brain is like a computer that never ever gets shut down.  The power button was pulled off by a toddler.  If my mind was an actual computer it would end up at the DMV on the desk of a fat lady with body odor and a nasty attitude.  The intellectual atrophy combined with the complete inability to let your guard down is a one-two punch.  KO!


So forgive me if my interest starts to wane when the subject turns to politics.  I'm yearning for the days when the most stressful thing I had to work out was which ballad band had the hottest lead singer.   I think I need a vacation.

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