Do you all have days where we just can't give anymore? Days where you find yourself snapping and yelling and generally losing your mother-flipping mind? Because I do. Today in particular was one for the books. It wasn't a particularly bad day to begin with but somehow my will to parent calmly slipped away at an alarming pace as the day wore on.
To begin with, my youngest, Josie, has started her phase of very, very loud talking followed by repeating everything she says many times until she achieves her goal. (Usually she's attempting to con me into letting her watch a tv show or consume a sugar-laden treat.)This morning she woke up yelling everything she said just for fun, no treats in mind. It was horrifying to wake up to that kind of energy. I should have know that things were going to get ugly.
Ben and Gemma headed off to school with little event and then Josie had gymnastics in the late morning so we kept on trucking and went to class. It was great, Josie had fun, only one weird new kid got aggressive. I called it a success. And then the teacher gave the kids valentines in the form of robots constructed out of applesauce, a juice box, and raisin boxes. Obviously it was very kind of the teacher, and despite the fact that I knew it would make my kid have the most giant poop of all time, we excitedly accepted it and I put it in my purse. Little did I know that the juice box punctured the applesauce and it was filling my purse as we left the gym.
We got in the car and when I tried to grab Josie's sippy to hand to her, it was covered in applesauce. Fun. The entire ride home, Josie was asking me (very loudly still) if she could "have her applesauce please? And could she just have a taste of her applesauce now because she didn't want to wait to get home?" I tried in vain the entire way home to explain that the applesauce spilled and was currently covering the inside of my purse and now the floor of the car where that bastard robot was now laying starring at me so smugly with his stupid googly eyes.
The offending snack robot
Here's the thing, again, nothing horrible happened today, it just taxed me beyond what I expected. Josie was as she always is and Ben and Gemma were pretty great. I just couldn't take it today. Gemma had a neighbor friend playing after school and they were SO LOUD and wild. I get it. It's winter and it's hard to stay inside so much. I was just trying to find peace in folding laundry in the basement ALONE and listening to This American Life on my headphones and Gemma and her friend came down to talk to me. Then they they started jumping on the beanbags. I had to ask them to leave. I wanted to scream.
Eventually Gemma's friend left (leaving a trail of toys and dress-up clothes in her wake that I had to ask an eye-rolling Gemma to clean up) Colin came home and needed dinner and he had to leave for an event almost immediately. The kids needed dinner. Josie was bugging Ben and Gemma so they sent her upstairs telling her that she should ask me for a cookie. (This is a thing they do. It's awful. As a youngest child, I resent it. Last time she came upstairs asking for ice cream and I was so confused until the big kids fessed up. I gave in tonight and gave her a cookie and informed Ben and Gemma that if they do that again it'll be serious consequences.)Then I cried in the kitchen and Colin hugged me and left for the night.
I thought, I'll reset. I'm going to read some Harry Potter to the kids during dinner and turn this around. Gemma barely ate because she doesn't like food, Josie barely ate because she does everything Gemma does, and Ben ate everything. Bless him. By the time bedtime rolled around I was snapping like a gosh darn mouse trap. I got Josie in bed and did her whole routine and as I was saying "see you in the morning, I love you, goodnight" in the correct tone for the 15th time, she said "mommy, I think I need something." I lost it. I said
"I have nothing left. I can't give you anything else, I have nothing left." She was so puzzled "what's nothing left?" I said, "I have no happy left in me to give you. I'll see you in the morning, I love you, goodnight." I left her feeling really crappy as she said to herself "no happy left?" over and over.
I felt like a failure. And then I realized that I'm allowed to have bad days. Everyone else does! My kids might need a great mom, and they have one, but I am a human. I will never be able to give them a childhood without a bad day because people aren't perfect. I am not sure when I started beating myself up about being human but somewhere along the line, I did. Here's the thing, I'm not wallowing in self-pity and I know that I just need a little time to myself and maybe some wine. Everyone needs space. That's actually the hardest part of being a mom. It's not the juggling of household tasks and endless messes and grumpy kids. For me at least, it's the lack of personal space. It's the sweet toddler who loves me so much that she follows me to the bathroom and places her hand on my thigh while I pee. It's the complete and utter consumption of my personal reserves and emotional energy by other people. I think I figured out part of why are moms so overtaxed today. Because we want to give our kids the world and we end up giving them everything we have, including that which we needed for ourselves.
So, with that realization in mind, I am going to go take a bath in silence and pray that some of that emotional reserve fills back up. Peace out!