Checkmate…a term used in the game of Chess or other chess-like games when the king piece is in danger or under “direct attack”, from which there is no way out (Cambridge Dictionary, 2017). When a player’s king piece is placed in such a position, defeat is imminent. Well, I had a few “Checkmate” moments this week. I hope that you are ready for my whirlwind of a story…LOL.
Hmm…where should I begin…O yes! Let’s start on Monday. So, this Thanksgiving, my family and I traveled to Georgia to be with my husband’s side of the family. We all had a great time, as it was so wonderful to see family and friends. However, despite this very wonderful time, I dreaded going back home, because I knew it was going to be a whirlwind and a game of catch-up all week long. Okay, so we arrive home early Monday morning (after 1am), from a 16-hour drive. Yes, you read it correctly, 16 hours in a van with 3 children, one of which is an infant! Are you feeling sorry for me yet? It was definitely not an easy trip back home. Anyways…thank God we made it home safely.
Alright, so it is now after 1am on Monday morning, my husband brings our entire luggage inside, and I begin showering the children as quickly as I can so that they can go to bed because they had school in the morning. Yes, you read it correctly once again. Yup, I sent them to school. Growing up, my mother sent my siblings and I to school all the time… no matter the situation. LOL…I can’t help but laugh out loud as I type this. Man, my older sister, younger brother, and I received perfect attendance awards all throughout elementary school all the way up to high school. My mother was no joke! Okay, back to the story. So, I got the children ready for bed as my husband held our crying infant son, who was extremely exhausted from the trip. Long story short, I did not lay my head on my pillow until close to 3am on Monday morning. As you can tell, the start of my week was not heading in a good direction.
The next morning, my husband gets up around 7am to head out to work, and I got up out of bed around 7:30am to get the children off to school. As Murphy’s law states, everything that could go wrong, went absolutely haywire that morning. My daughter was whining in my ears nonstop, and I ended up getting breakfast on the table later than usual, which caused everything to get delayed. After a mad dash out the door, the children arrive at school right on time by the skin of their teeth. Sheesh!!! I was sweating like I was training for the Olympics!!! The struggle was serious. I could feel a “Checkmate” moment approaching. Nonetheless, I did not give in to my emotions—I kept on pushing. By the time Monday night rolled around, I was completely exhausted. I wanted to throw myself face first into the pillow, but guess what??? I could not, because guess who was looking at me bright eyed and bushy tailed…uh-huh…my infant son. He had a huge smile on his face. It was if his smile was saying “Party Time!”
“I feel you coming, Checkmate”.
Eventually, little man fell asleep and so did I. Now, Tuesday had arrived, and the day was going smoothly until the evening rolled around. My husband had to finish up his work, so I volunteered to take our two older children to their swim lessons. I also had to take the baby, so that my husband could concentrate on his work duties.
Are you seeing where this is going?…“Checkmate!”. Side note, the children’s swim class actually began at 5:30pm, but I mistakenly thought it was 5:15pm, so I was running like a mad woman around the house trying to get everyone ready to be at the pool on time.
So, we arrived at the YMCA at 5:17pm. I was thinking that we were late…so of course, I started to sweat again, as I was rushing my two older children to hurry up. So, we get to the family changing room, and my daughter takes her clothes off and throws it on the floor. UGH!!!! I got so upset with her…all I could see was germs…eek eek eek!!! LOLOL!!!! This just raised my blood pressure even more. We made it to the pool deck, and I am still rushing them to hurry up and go join their class. My daughter obeys after some reluctance, but my older son, says “Mommy, that is not our class”. I then say to him “What do you mean? This is your class, go and join them right now!”. He refuses and keeps telling me no, it is not his class. By this time I am seeing bright red in my vision pathway… “Checkmate!” “Checkmate!” “Checkmate!” I was furious. I then said to him… “Wait until we get home”…with the meanest face ever. He was going to go straight to his room after dinner. I hope that all of our readers can find some humor in this…because it is truly very funny. Okay, so my daughter runs over to the other students in the water and tries to go in. The instructor then stopped her and said, “No, you are early. Your class will begin in 5 minutes.” At that point, she ran back over to me and said at the top of her voice (which is very loud), so that all the parents on the pool deck could hear “I told you, Mommy, this is not our class. You were wrong!” I must admit, that my son was initially correct. I did mix up the times and classes… “Checkmate!”
By this time the other parents were looking at us…I was so embarrassed. Nonetheless, I put my pride aside and I publically said, “Alright, you both were right, and I am sorry for being wrong and mean.” Growing up, my mother NEVER said sorry. No matter if she was blatantly wrong. It was a West-Indian cultural thing. However, I promised myself when I had children, that I would not be too proud to say that “I am sorry” if I was wrong. So, I apologized and the children’s swim class did begin 5 minutes later and things seemed to be on cruise control. Keyword,“ SEEMED…”
I wish my hectic story could end here…but nope! I was scheduled to teach a Zumba kids class at 6:45pm and when we finally got to the van, the clock said 6:39pm. “CHECKMATE!!!” Okay, I had to think fast. I called my husband, and asked him to meet me at the school to pick up the children so that I could go straight to teach and be on time. My brain was rattling! I ended up making it in time for my Zumba class, but 10 minutes had passed, and my husband still had not arrived (we live two minutes away from the school). AHH!!! I literally had to do my routines with my 20-pound son in my arms. Talk about a workout! I later found out that my husband went to the wrong location. He eventually arrived and took our daughter and infant son home with him. My older son stayed with me, which I was so thankful for the extra class help.
Is your brain exhausted from reading this? LOL! I know!
Later that night after the children ate and were ready for bed, I turned to my husband in surrender and said, “I need some personal time to myself”. I then went on to confess, how quickly I went from 1 to 10 on the anger/frustration scale, and how I was not proud of it. I told him that this was a clear sign that I am “In too deep”. I really have to step away from all the chaos and take a moment for myself, which is an extremely hard thing to do as a wife and being a stay at home mom of three children. I am in desperate need of a mental health day. I plan on scheduling one much sooner than later…because being “Checkmated” is not an option that I ever want to entertain.
Below I have included some signs that indicate an impending “Burnout” from Psychology Today, which is defined as “a state of chronic stress”(Psychology Today, 2013). If you are experiencing a few or more of these symptoms, please take the time to step back from life, and schedule some regrouping time.
- Physical and emotional exhaustion:
- Cynicism and detachment:
- Loss of enjoyment
- Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment:
- Feelings of apathy and hopelessness.
- Increased irritability
- Lack of productivity and poor performance.
Remember to take a moment, and try to implement some R&R (Rest & Relaxation) into your busy schedules. We all need to find the time to stop and smell the roses. If not, you may be approaching “Checkmate” faster than you can see it coming. That should never be an option for any of us. You can do this …Stay strong!
Cambridge Dictionary (2017) Checkmate Meaning. Retrieved on November 29, 2017 https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/checkmate
Psychology Today (2013). The Tell Tale Sign Of Burnout. Do You have Them? Retrieved on November 29, 2017 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them