NANOWRIMO DAY 1 – I Need An Adultier Adult

It’s the first of November. And I don’t want to go to work. I didn’t want to go to work yesterday. It was Halloween. I wanted to eat candy, watch spooky movies, and go get more candy. But that wasn’t in the plans.
Because I’m an adult.
At work, I’m not just AN adult; I’m THE adult. Scary and true, I’m a manager. Someone thought I was responsible enough to not only keep my job managing fire and life safety for nursing facilities but also to make sure a team of five other supposed adults do their jobs as well.
Who thought this was a good idea? Do you know what happens when you put a train wreck in charge of things? Potlucks with no real food. Ten crock pots plugged into the jankiest looking power strip. And themed costume days for the whole week leading up to Halloween.
Sounds like fun, right? Have you heard the term “herding cats”? That’s what this is. But not just the cats in the office. I have a whole pride of them running in my head. The cats in my head make it look like a hoarder house. It’s a mess up there.
And they keep breeding, making it harder to keep them in line. They’re everywhere. Some are doing normal cat stuff: sleeping, eating, knocking a cup over. And others have the zoomies, running from room to room, occasionally jumping on another cat or knocking one over, which usually causes an even bigger mess. And somewhere, under the piles of clothes, the unwashed dishes, the unfinished projects, there may be a dead cat or two. They couldn’t take it anymore and just gave up. Their lives were too much and too big for such little toe beans to bear the weight.
And this is the person someone chose to put in control of other adults. I mean, it’s bad enough I have kids. At writing, I have thirty year, twenty three year, and eighteen year old bonus daughters. Bonus is my way of saying step without all the gross negative connotation behind it. They came with the package this is my husband and I love them all. I also have a nineteen year daughter old from my previous relationship. And together we have a nine year old son.
Seriously. Who thought I was qualified for this?
I had to qualify for a loan for my house and car. I needed to apply for credit cards. How the hell did I get here?
The funny about this is I have all the dressings of a functioning adult. If you looked at me on paper you would see the house and car. Two cats and a dog. Five kids with three living at home. I have chickens! I have bills that get paid and food in my pantry and fridge. Corporate clothes for my corporate job. High blood pressure and pre-diabetes to go along with this American dream.
By all accounts, my forty five year old self qualifies as an adult. So, why don’t I feel like one? Why do I feel like a lost child at K-Mart? I’m still looking for my mom in purses and shoes.
Is it because I had the most adult adult raising me? Not my dad. He’s a seventy year old teenager. But my mom, wow! That woman laid the groundwork for what it meant to be an adult. She worked overtime. Bills were paid on time. She couponed and had a budget. The checkbook was so balanced Thanos would have never snapped so as not to risk dusting the person who created that perfect work. My mom sacrificed and suffered for the adult image. She wore the pointy heels. She cried at her desk. She did the best she could with what she had. That was the image of adulthood I grew up with.
And it’s a level of adulthood I have yet to achieve.
Admittedly, I think I’m getting a late start on this whole being a functional human in society thing. My twenties and half my thirties were filled with just trying to exist. Adults don’t beat other adults down. Adults don’t crush what they say they love. Narcissists are not adults. They are over grown toddlers. I didn’t get out of that relationship until I was thirty five.
I had to start over. There’s been a lot of learning new behaviors and trying to unlearn old ones. It’s been ten years and we have made progress. In five years, I haven’t paid a bill late. According to Credit Karma I’ve paid a quarter of my car loan. I have car insurance that has never lapsed a day. We refinanced my house. We all have medical, dental, and vision insurance. Like this all sounds so very adult. And yet.
I can’t stick with a budget. Or boundaries. I have piles of unfinished projects from whatever hyper fixation I was in at that moment. And I don’t want to go to work today. I want to raid my kids’ candy bags and watch scary movies. And I can’t because I’m the manager now. And the super big boss is coming in today and I have to be there and pretend I know what’s going on.
How am I supposed to know what’s going on with work things when I don’t even know what my family is going to eat for dinner? I know. Meal planning. Listen, here’s the thing. These meal plans are fifty fifty at best. And let me tell you why. They were clearly written by an adultier adult. That’s why us train wrecks look to them for help and advise. So here comes Pam with her video “How I Feed My Family on $70 a week.” Pam? Ma’am? I have questions. Do you have any food allergies in your family? I do. Most fruits and nuts will kill me. How about picky eaters? I’m not just talking about my dinosaur nugget obsessed son. No. That’s too easy. Try my husband who insists on some form of beef at least three times a week and won’t eat turkey. Try my oldest kid who doesn’t eat meat but kind of eats chicken and absolutely can’t even be in the house when pork is being cooked or eaten. Try my middle bonus that has a peptic ulcer and pukes after eating anything that isn’t on the approved dietary list. I’m the only one that eats beans. Come on, Suzie. Work with those limitations. Try your hand at less than a hundred bucks with coupons at Wal-Mart with those restrictions. Oh and did mention, the eighteen and nineteen year old are home. Meaning breakfast, lunch and dinner. And snacks. So many damn snacks. It’s like summer and Christmas break just every day. So, tell me, Kimmy. How do you feed these people every day on less than my salaried paycheck a week? You tell me that and you have a lifelong subscriber.
And I think right there is the heart of me feeling less than a full adult. I see these women, these mom bosses, teaching others how to be better wives and moms. I get that I need help in all of that. I do. Maybe a therapist. Maybe medications. Maybe more wine. I’d like to try that last suggestion more often. But I think we’re all so focused on the parts of the human rather than the whole human. Like, yeah, I get it. I need to be more organized. I need routines and schedules and a budget and a food plan. But can I just focus on being a person. An adult. You know, without all the labels and assignments thrown at me. Can I just learn how to be better at being this forty five year old person? Because the mass of fat and water run by electricity that sits in my skull sometimes has trouble with that. It shorts out. It forgets where we are. Hell, sometimes, it forgets when we are and I’m back in a not great memory reliving some shit I’d rather forget.
Where’s the adulting manual for that?
I don’t need a class in basic housekeeping skills. I need one for person keeping skills. I know how to run a vacuum. Hell, I know how to fix one. I don’t know how to change a tire or my own oil. But I do know how to look up how to do those things. What I need is help asking for help. I need lessons on telling myself not to panic or get overwhelmed to the point of tears when I walk out to a flat tire.
That’s the adulting class I need. I’m a manager and I can’t manage myself let alone this little army of humans I’ve helped raise. Or the team of people I’m supposedly in charge of. Seriously, how am I supposed to tell someone they can’t leave early when I was considering it myself? She beat me to asking it. That was it. I hesitated too long and wound up having to stay till five.
And I guess it’s a level of maturity. Maybe it’s arrested development from being stuck in an early twenties mindset and trying to recapture the youth and feeling and freedom I missed out on while I was someone’s punching bag. Or maybe it’s because I’ve had jobs where the boss didn’t care about you or your kid going trick or treat. And I didn’t want to be that person. Because I know how quick life goes from, “Mama, I need you to paint my whiskers for me,” to “I’m too old for trick or treating.” I don’t ever want my team to look back and think of me the way I think about that manager.
You know what? That wasn’t a manager. That was a boss. And if you know the difference, then you know where I’m at with this thought. And maybe that’s why I’m having such a disconnect here. I’m trying to boss my way into adulthood, when what I need to do is manage. I need to be the manager of myself. My thoughts. My emotions. I can’t keep barking unrealistic expectations of myself to myself and then get upset when I fail.
So, maybe that’s what this project will be more about. Less of me trying to be a better adult and more of me trying to manage my brain into being an adultier adult.
But I still don’t want to go to work today. Where are my Reece’s?

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