Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Long and Crazy Day for Beth..

I know there's the whole stereotype about women being excessively emotional but I had never really put myself in that category. I always hated crying, especially with anyone else knowing about it. Apparently that changed when I got pregnant. Fair enough -  extra hormones.

It kept going after I had a baby - fair enough, still got hormones racing around.
...My baby is now 6 months old but I'm not so sure my emotional-ness has dampened at all.
Huh? How did that happen? Wasn't I meant to go back to normal?
Most days I'm fine and normal (don't ask my husband, he might say something contrary..) but other days I find that for some reason, I feel those stupid crazy emotions running around and everything is heightened.


Last week I had one of those kinds of days............
A few weeks ago in Relief Society I was handed the missionary roster. My first thought was to just pass it on but then I realised that I was just being lazy and uncharitable and I should definitely do my part to help the missionaries by feeding them. I found a date when I knew Robbie didn't have uni classes and I was free. After church I ran the date past Robbie to make sure it was ok and then wrote it in my calendar when I got home. Felt good about that.


Last Wednesday I realised that that Thursday was the day we had invited the missionaries. I reminded Robbie and then started thinking about what I could cook.
I don't know if other mothers find this or if I'm just not as naturally with-it or organised as everyone else (that is definitely a probable conclusion), but since having a baby I have found that I really need to plan my days if there are particular things I need or want to do. I have to plan around her feed and nap times and anything else. Dinnertime is the hardest time to plan around because Hallie is especially fussy come 4:30-5.00pm and onwards. So I really needed to plan what I would make for the missionaries to ensure there wasn't a lot to do last minute. I figured maybe I could see if the missionaries were willing to eat earlier at 5:30 because that would free me up to feed and get Hallie ready for bed afterwards. Easy.

After thinking of and then discarding lots of elaborate dinner ideas I decided to simply make a slow-cooked chicken curry with rice, vegies and breadrolls. I was more than happy with this idea because, a) I had most of the ingredients and wouldn't have to spend money buying extra things and b) it meant that all I had to do last minute was the vegies (they would be pre-cut earlier in the day - see? impressive organisation) and heat the rolls. Simple! I had my plan.
Feeling pretty good about that, I decided I would let Robbie pick whatever he wanted for dessert. Dessert can easily be made earlier in the day so no dramas there :) Robbie decided to go for brandy snap baskets with custard cream and fruit salad. Sure, done, I replied.
Now, I planned, I needed to buy some ingredients for the dessert so I could easily do that with Hallie on Thursday after her morning nap, and then make and prepare it all during and after her afternoon nap. The house I could tidy throughout the day whenever Hallie was happy playing on her own for a bit.
It would be cruisy :)

Feel good

Still feeling good at this point.
Wednesday night I realised two things.
1. Robbie's uni group for a big presentation called and said they wanted to meet at 4:30 the next day to work on it.
2. I had offered to babysit my 6 year old nephew on Thursday because my sister-in-law had uni and her previous plans had fallen through.
Hm. Ok. Well we called the missionaries that night to remind them of our address and invited them for dinner at 6:30. Robbie would have liked to stay with his group and help for as long as he could (not all of them were meeting, just a couple to work on some aspects and Robbie wanted to be one of the 'helpers' in the group, not one of the coasters) and 6:30 gave Robbie longer to work at Uni before having to come home.:
I would give Hallie her milk feed before 6:30 and could feed her her real food while I ate dinner. Simple.
I would be looking after my nephew from 9-2. Ok, I thought, I'll just dedicate those 5 hours to him and do everything around those times. Should be easy.

Babysitting :)
I woke up with Hallie at about 6. I figured I could vacuum and scrub the bathroom etc then so I wouldn't have to do it later, but decided against it knowing that after having my nephew here (he's quite a messy child) I would most likely just have to do it again.
I fed Hallie at 7 and then left her with Robbie so that I could run out to the shops as soon as they opened at 8am and get the things I needed for dinner.
I even ran to three different stores just to find a half-decent mango because I wanted one for my fruit salad (SO excited it's getting into mango season!!! :) :))
I rushed home as fast as I could because I had gotten a message from my sister-in-law saying they were running a bit early and would that be ok to come earlier? When I got home at 8:45 they were already there.

Rainbow Cupcakes

My nephew was very excited for the day. He absolutely loves Hallie and I had also told him to bring his togs if he wanted to have a swim as we have a pool in our complex that so far I hadn't even looked at properly. We had a good day together. We went for a swim, made some cupcakes and played Uno and Monolpoly. I had secretly hoped that maybe he would like to watch a movie at some point and that would also give me some free time to make dessert. Sadly, he's one of the few 6 year olds I know who doesn't really care for that. He only watched some of the movie Madagascar 2 while he was forced to wait for me while I fed Hallie :P

After his mum came to pick him up at 2:30 I thought, 'Alright. It's time to get in the zone!' I had everything I needed to do written out on a piece with time frames - like I said, I was quite obsessive about getting everything done.
I made the mix for the brandy snaps and started to bake them. Brandy snaps are super easy but it's kind of a long process. On the tray I was using I could only fit two in the oven at once. You need to bake them for 5 mins, let them rest for 1 min, and then put them on your mould to set for at least another minute. If you let them rest for more than 1 minute they will harden and then you can't mould them. If they're in the oven for too little or too long they don't really work too well either I've found.

brandy snap baskets with strawberry mousse

It wouldn't have been hard except that for some reason Hallie was especially fussy that day. Unless I was holding her, she was screaming her cute, little red-faced head off. So I started trying to do one batch of brandy snaps at a time between playing with her. I didn't need many with only four people eating dinner (even though I'd made a double batch. I can't help myself when it comes to desserts, I always end up making an excessive amount for leftovers :)), but because I was distracted I kept burning them or letting them rest for too long and they would harden.
Grrr, I was way over the time I had budgeted for this!
I decided to strap Hallie onto me using the Baby Bjorn and I do the vacuuming and mopping instead (very good decision to wait until my nephew had gone. I have no idea how some crumbs managed to spread so far!) hoping that maybe then she'd be settled enough and I could put her down again to cook.
Alas, while she was happy during the cleaning of the floors, she was definitely not happy about being put down afterwards.
I tried everything - putting her in the bumbo seat on the bench and chatting to her while I was working, laying her the bouncer on the kitchen floor and bouncing her while I chatted and worked. I couldn't put her in the bjorn again because I was using the oven.
By this point I was getting a little stressed.
My carefully planned afternoon was unravelling.
I had no idea why Hallie was so fussy -  I had checked everything and I was feeling absolutely wretched for not giving her more attention and cuddle time.
It was a stinking hot day and with the slow-cooker and oven on all day it was extra hot and I was gross and sweaty and disgusting.
I still had brandy snaps to make, custard cream to whip and make, fruit salad to chop up, vegies to prepare, the bathroom to clean, Hallie to bath, and myself to shower and make look human; and I only had about an hour and a half to do it all in before I had to then feed Hallie again just before they came.

Around this time I got a message from Robbie saying, "Beth the missionaries messaged, can they come at 6? If not no worries."
I was in the middle of feeding Hallie when I got that and I replied with "Um, I'm crazy busy and I won't have time. Plus I'll be breastfeeding Hallie at 6 so if it's ok either way then 6:30 is best."
I finished feeding Hallie and went back to the kitchen to try and not burn any more brandy snaps while I left her to cry helplessly. I was feeling so terrible about leaving her when she was so upset. I had finally just successfully made four of them (woohoo!!) and I was just whipping the cream when Robbie called. He told me that the missionaries wouldn't be able to come to dinner anymore because they had a late appointment and they'd just have to pick it up.
EXCUSE me? What does he mean "Not coming to dinner"?! Don't they know that that's totally rude?!?! And why say "It's ok either way" if it's actually not!?
Robbie didn't understand my reaction. He said that things like that come up when you're a missionary and the main thing is that we provide them with a meal whether they eat it at our house or pick it up.
He also thought I shouldn't be shooting the messenger.

"dont shoot the messenger" earrings... Apparently I need to wear these before I speak....
"don't shoot the messenger" earrings

I felt frustrated and angry and hurt. I realise now that I completely overreacted but at the time, I felt totally justified in my feelings! I just wanted to cry. I was half crying on the phone while I tried to explain to Robbie that I would have done things completely differently if I had known they wouldn't be staying. For example: brandy snap baskets for dessert. They are the kind of thing you assemble right before you serve and then eat them straight away. They were not the kind of thing you carried home! I also tried to explain that basically I had been stressing all day and slaving away for nothing.
I said 'fine', tried not to take it out on Robbie anymore on the phone, hung up and started sobbing.
Sobbed like something much more than dinner plans had fallen through. 


The only thing I can possibly say in my defense (perhaps a very thin defense) is that I must have been more hormonal than usual that day because obviously sobbing was a bit over the top (just a tad? :P).
I had to stop sobbing after a minute though (darn it - I just wanted to wallow) because Hallie was definitely in need of saving from herself and her own cries with some love from me.

Then I just walked around for a while feeling despondent. I knew I was wasting time but I felt just a little bit like sooking some more.
What was the point of continuing making the brandy snaps? I know that technically I could have given them all the different components in various containers and they could have made them themselves, but I was a little too bitter at that point to bother.

bitter and twisted

Instead I decided I'd whip up a cake mix and give them that. Ha! Take that! A cake mix instead of beautiful, made-from-scratch brandy snaps with premium mango in the fruit salad. That'd learn them.
I took a little bit of sadistic satisfaction in my cake-mix rebellion.
I also decided that I wouldn't bother scrubbing the bathroom just in case they happened to need to use it when they dropped by; instead they'd have to do with mediocre cleanliness. And I wasn't going to shower before hand (what was the point of being presentable anyway?).
Having made these decisions I was actually feeling a lot better. Hmm, who wants dinner guests anyway. I can just relax tonight....my feet were very sore...
I whipped up some cake mix, put it in the oven, cleaned off the bench and sat down to play with Hallie to play and watch some pointless television.
All in all, I was actually feeling quite relaxed. I had plenty of time to chill. And chill I did - again with a satisfying, almost rebellious, feeling.

Also, in harmony with Murphy's law, Hallie was relaxed and happy for the rest of the afternoon and even had a nap.
By the time 6:30 came I had iced the cake and put it on a plate for the missionaries (I had cut it into pieces and though I gave them a generous amount I also kept some for us. Once again - Ha! Take that), had the vegies made and were keeping warm in a container, had dinner rolls in bags for them and have their rice and curry in a large container, all on the bench ready for them to grab and run.
By this point I was feeling more generous. They arrived at the same time as Robbie. I immediately started giving them their food (they were in a hurry weren't they?) but they seemed inclined to chat so we all had a nice little catch up for 20-30 mins (totally enough time to scoff down some dinner and brandy snaps...I'm just saying) but like I said, I was feeling a lot more generous and sorry for my earlier emotional display by this point so I didn't mind. After all, you can't really be bitter at missionaries for finding investigators can you.
After they left, Robbie and I enjoyed our dinner and I finished feeding Hallie and put her to bed.
I watched more pointless TV and Robbie, bless him, gave me a foot massage :) :)

So there you go. That was my day. Do you understand the injustice of it all? Do you understand the stress? Do you understand the anguish? No?   Probably because it was all in my head. Me and my emotions running wild.
So I'm wondering: Am I the only loony in the world or are there other women who experience stereotypical-crazy-emotional-lady days?
I'm sure sometimes it's not in our heads though - surely some things are genuinely upsetting and sob worthy. Like when my bottom just doesn't look good in my jeans :(

I've been doing this since I was a child and I always advise people to do the same. Every time I get stressed out, I remind myself that in a day, it'll be over and pretty soon, I won't even remember that stress. It helps.


  1. Love this post bethy :)

    And no, you're not loony at all! You're completely normal.

    (of course, if I said you were loony then I'd have to admit that I'm a raving lunatic. I don't even want to start telling you about the things over the years that have set me off a-sobbin', lol!)

    xo Tammy

  2. Haha - My favourite part was around the.. 'Having made these decisions I was actually feeling a lot better.' I love that moment when you look around you and take stock and realise it's time to change direction - reassess and let some things go. Ahh. It does feel better :) I don't think you are a raving lunatic, or at least, I'm pretty sure I would have been much the same :)

  3. ps I think that little crying angel is a good metaphor for you, Betts! :)

  4. Ha, I sound like a whack :P
    I think you totally had to be there!!
    ..and be me.. :D