Warning: Nothing in this post should be taken personally. I own my own melt downs and I’m not blaming others. I’m just calling it the way I crave it this morning.
We just got back from a week long “vacation.” Frankly, having just spent 18+ hours traveling home from said vacation, with three teens who have clearly reached maximum saturation with each other (and with us) and with whom I have also reached maximum capacity… right now a VACATION would be much appreciated. I feel suntanned, but not really rested. Sleeping on a tiny bed with 6’4″ Smart Guy is not exactly restful. Being so together (read: on top of each other) definitely got the best of all 5 of us (China, Denmark, Smart Guy, U.S./Little Man and Me) and coming home feels good… but I can’t help but feel like I really need to get away. Get away from the vacation hang-over.
This does not bode well for me nutritionally. Frankly, when I’m stressed I’m not that gal who runs for the tread mill, or puts on tights for yoga, or makes up a wonderfully healthy smoothie. I’m that gal who reaches for the
crap food that doesn’t pack as much in the vitamins and grains department; I reach for foods to melt down with. So today when I had to go grocery shopping (because there was nothing in the house and three teens expecting something when they get home), I found myself throwing a few unhealthy options in the cart. When I got home at 9:30 AM from shopping, I immediately melted down… with fried chicken. Yep, fried chicken. How could I resist? It had just come out of the fryer at my local grocery store. It was fresh, and local… and, ok, fried. I needed it. I also needed the box of brownie mix that I will make later. I’d make the batter and eat it uncooked right now, but I’m trying to show some restraint.
It was exactly what all the health gurus warn you against: shopping when hungry/stressed/unfocused/insert any number of other post-non-vacation vacation adjectives here. Frankly, to see three teens race out for the bus this morning was enough to shove me face first into a pint of my beloved, caffeinated Haagen Dazs coffee ice-cream, in my pajamas (no, I didn’t; but a girl can fantasize). I was ready for a cocktail, a bowl of ice-cream, some fried chicken, Cheez Its, Twizzlers (which I took in my purse, to sustain me as I drove to the store) and my favorite Betty Crocker Supreme Deluxe brownies, the minute I opened my eyes this morning. Yes, that bad. Eight days with kids sleeping on the floor or pull out, and all around us. Eight days of negotiating meals in a house that’s not your own and planning things so no one’s bored, yet, feeling like we all need a break from each other… Passover, Disney, Kennedy Space Center, Grandparents, Cousins, kids fighting over bathrooms, who sits in the middle (car) seat (every time we got in the car!), sun burns, sun poisoning, (but sun glorious sun!), 6 loaves of bread and grandparents who are shocked at how much food three teens can go through, and that little bed to negotiate each night with very tall Smart Guy… Yes, I woke up wanting relief. Tragically, I had to go to the grocery store, and that folks is where all of my resolve and relative cool, came crumbling down on me… and lead to some less than healthy food choices.
I almost pulled the chicken out of its sleek, plastic container and ate it right in the grocery store. It’s scary how close I got. The pent up anxieties of a week of juggling stuff, and sudden access to all food I might want, was almost too much. I didn’t though, eat the chicken in the store. I made it home dignity intact, and then ate the it as I put away groceries… and while I can practically here the tsk tsks from some of my friends, others will understand. It’s just not really a vacation, when you stay in someone else’s home with your kids. There’s too much to negotiate, and not enough just letting the details from home go. On vacation: cooking, laundry or dishes seem worse than at home. Kids on top of each other all week, just lead to cranky kids who need to be away from each other. Without their rooms to retreat to, instead exposed and out in the open all the time, everyone slips into a
bitchy sassy groove. It’s unavoidable. No matter how generous your hosts, or how much they try to make it nice, it’s hard to be in each others’ space an not get squirrelly. No matter how hard every one tries to get along, or accommodate, nerves fray and boundaries are stretched.
For me, that leads right to my current melt down. I crave a cart full of crap to vent with. It all looks good and I don’t particularly care what the calorie count, fat intake, glycemic index, carb count is. I just want to sit on my sofa and eat junk, and watch Game of Thrones… or some other fantasy show we taped (Mad Men, Survivor)… or laugh through an episode or three of Modern Family. I don’t want to empty suitcases full of sunshine clothes and dirty bathing suits. I don’t want to get back into the rhythm of school, homework nagging, dog walking, grocery shopping, laundry, and home routines. And yes, I know that I shouldn’t complain, because we are very fortunate to go away on vacation. Add that guilt to my junk food craving list. I spiral for the first couple of hours… Until I look out my window. Then, I take a deep breath; I step away from the chicken, and I remember why I love coming home. We will all find our groove again. Boundaries will be re-established and snarky comments will abate; I’ll go back to yoga tomorrow and make a smoothy to purge the chicken and brownies from today. We’ll talk about how fun Florida was, and how great it was to see everyone. Like having a baby, we’ll forget the labor and snuggle up to the babe. For these brief hours, I’ll finish my melt down, and
the chicken pull myself together… and we’ll have something healthy for dinner. (Mantra for the rest of the week: Focus on the view, and cook some veggies.)
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