I had a bad day on Saturday. I woke up in a foul mood and just felt off the entire day. Surely you know the feeling. It’s not usually said aloud much in the parenting world but I’m gonna say it. I didn’t feel like being a mom that day.
That’s right. I wanted to have the day to myself. I wanted to get in the car, grab an iced coffee and go do anything except be a parent. Maybe go to a movie or shopping or something. Selfish. But nonetheless, it’s the truth.
I was exhausted before I even woke up, if that makes any sense at all. We’ve been having a lot of thunderstorms and Brigham is currently in a phase where he is suddenly terrified of rain and thunder and lightening. I can’t be mad at him because this happened to me when I was a little girl. So we let him get up in our bed with us. But there isn’t much sleeping going on at all because he is the wiggliest, kickiest sleeper that ever was.
So I was exhausted, exasperated and many other e-words I can’t think of right now because, as I was saying, TIREDNESS.
Unfortunately, I spent the morning snapping at the boys. I was huffing and puffing and acting like a child. You know that saying that a mom’s mood determines the rest of the family’s mood? Such an annoying fucking saying. Too bad it’s true. The more I raised my voice, the louder my children got. The more annoyed I acted, the more annoying my children got. And so on and so forth until I was about to retreat to a closet.
In an effort to rescue us all from a disastrous breakdown I decided we needed to get out of the house. It was only 50 degrees outside but whatevs, let’s bundle up and go to the park! We stopped at Subway and I had “the talk” before we went in. I told them that they needed to be on their best behavior in the restaurant or else we wouldn’t go to the park.
As we walk in and are waiting in line they decide to have a WWF wrestling match on the ground while I ordered our sandwiches. After some serious eye-rolling from employees and much more dignified sandwich-eating customers than us we were finally seated and enjoying our overpriced meal. The boys were singing the “eat fresh” jingle and laughing and eating and I thought, hey, maybe we can salvage this shit day after all!I even sprung for cookies as a special treat to make up for my morning bitching.
We arrive at the park. It’s the park with a fence so they can ride their bikes without my anxiety taking over. I am nursing Sawyer and they are entertaining themselves and having fun. There was sunshine! There was laughter! Maybe I’m not so tired anymore!
Just kidding. I still was. We get home and I am now desperate for all three kids to take a simultaneous nap. This does not happen much anymore at all. We don’t make Landon and Brigham take naps unless they are really whiny. The two of them were already in cahoots. They bombarded me, begging me to let them stay up. I told them that the only way that was happening was if they stayed in their rooms seperately for at least an hour. They could play legos, or read books or watch netflix on the kindle. I know, I’m such a mean mom, right?
Sawyer has four top teeth coming in so she has been super fussy. I finally nurse her to sleep and get her down in the crib. I lay down in my bed and I close my eyes. Then I hear it. Tiny footsteps back and forth between their rooms. You can hear EVERYTHING in this house. My anger is starting to build. I just want it to be quiet! Is it really so difficult to give me an hour. ONE HOUR of quiet time?
Yes, apparently that is really hard for my sons. I hear giggling. It gets louder. Soon they are jumping on their beds having a pillow fight. I calmly go into their rooms and ask them not to do that. It takes every bit of restraint I have not to raise my voice. But I maintain composure and I’m proud of myself for doing so.
I am able to rest for about 20 minutes more but that’s all they gave me. Before I know it they are so loud that they wake their baby sister up.
I am so mad I don’t even know what to do. Sometimes I wonder, how can these tiny, cute little people I love with all my heart frustrate me so damn much and turn me into a lunatic at a moments notice?
Then the last straw – Brigham runs into his sister, knocks her down and she starts screaming.
FUCKKKKKKK! After being a parent for awhile now I know my triggers. Hurting your baby sister? That’s one of the big ones.
I yelled. Loudly. I startled everyone including myself. Have you ever yelled so loud that after your done you’re like whoa – that was impressive! And also kind of scary?
I hate yelling. Like, I really really hate it. I hate it when I yell so loud my throat is scratchy afterward. I hate it when I have to admit to my kids that I made a mistake and go back into their rooms where I sent them and apologize because I know I was wrong.
Brigham didn’t hurt his sister on purpose. The boys would never do that. They love her so much. Could they be more careful? Yes, of course. But I should not have yelled. They don’t deserve that.
I’m trying hard not to yell at my kids anymore. Because I do believe that too much yelling, too much correcting, too much discipline can be damaging. That’s the last thing I want. So I will forever be working on myself to learn how to overcome my weaknesses. It’s important. The most important work I will do my entire life revolves around these people that my husband and I created. It’s not easy to look in the mirror in the morning and think, I did a shitty job yesterday as a parent. But it is the right thing to do to look inward instead of blaming everyone and everything else for your mistakes.
I already knew I was having a bad day. If I could go back I would have called someone. Told them I needed just a short nap or I may not make it through the day without hurting little feelings and breaking little hearts.
Oh, man. This parenting thing never gets easier. There are easy days. Easy weeks and months even. But the bad days do a number on my confidence.
All this to say – I’m working on it. That bad temper of mine has always been a problem. For the most part it’s a sleeping bear. But every once in awhile the grizzly comes out of hibernation. I guess I never realized how much parenting is like a life-long lesson in self-control.
parenting is hard