I find myself gazing at the peeling paint by the floor, my mind resembling a blown circuit. Information overload. Crammed quarters filling my head space. The impulse to crawl out of my own skin and escape into oblivion is overpowering. The clock is ticking. The pressure building. Our monetary possessions gradually sinking as water seeps into the vessel of our livelihood. No matter how much I want to seal the leak, water continues to pour in, making my efforts futile. But that’s just my career and the challenge of growing a business. A minor to-do item. No biggie.
I look around me and see nothing but chaos. Clutter. Dirt. Noise. My stress heightens. The familiar banter in the room sending prickles of irritation up my spine. A repeating chorus I desperately wish I could tune out, “mommy, mommy, mommmmyyyyy!!!” Just as I begin to inhale, using all inner strength and resolve to stay calm, the volume rises:
“Don’t do that – that was MINE!” screams one child.
I hear scrambling, pushing, pulling and a loud “thwack”.
”Whaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! She pushed me into the wall!”
I glance over to my daughter, my eyes showing disapproval, though I realize both are at fault.
“HE hit me FIRST!!!”
I scramble to my feet, rage threatening to do me in and the volume of my voice surprises me, “STOP IT YOU TWO!!! You need to STOP RIGHT NOW or I’ll…..I’ll…..well, you’ll be in timeout!” I curse myself for the shortfall in my mommy-always-knows-what-to-do image. Damn it!
Just as I’m stammering to figure out the resolution to this problem, I feel two tiny arms wrap tightly around my leg, accompanied by a wail for added effect. My 15-month old looks up in tears and whimpers for me to pick him up. I try to break loose so I can grab the other two and sit their annoying asses in time out. But as I do so, the wailing continues in greater urgency and now I have 3 children screaming. I imagine myself inflating like a balloon to ridiculous proportions, a sharp pin getting dangerously close.
What I would give in this moment to hire Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother to take over and let me run far, far away from this moment!
But reality slaps me across the face and I must deal with these infuriating circumstances. I grab the older two, haul them to their appropriate places and order them to sit and “BE QUIET”. Each is given 5 minutes. Before the words are out, I step backwards only to knock my youngest over – his quiet presence unexpected. I should have known he’d be inches away from my body! Words I need not repeat here contaminate my mind.
Taking yet another forced breath, I pick him up and lodge him on my hip before walking into my bedroom, closing the door and cursing my life. I set him down on the floor and throw myself onto the bed. I temporarily bury my head under the pillow, a brief reprieve. Seconds later, I sit up and smile from one ear to another in attempt to laugh off this blanket of fury. At the clinging fingers of my child, I throw my head back and glance at the ceiling, releasing a silent prayer for help.
The crying hasn’t stopped. The older children, despite being told otherwise, are still yelling from their assigned posts, lost in heavy debate over who was responsible for this misfortune.
I repeat the words, “must…stay…calm” over and over again until I’ve convinced myself that I can abide by this self-inflicted rule. My bedroom door no longer a gate to a place of refuge, I open it and march out to address the two individuals who I confess at this moment, I‘d like to donate to charity. Time out is extended repeatedly until silence is granted.
My nerves settle gradually and I look over at my toddler.
His killer grin matched with irresistible pull-the-heart-strings-until-I-die dimples and a twinkle in his eye instantly dissolves all negative emotion. Overcome by the urge to squeeze all that cuteness, a smile emerges – this time, genuine. How can I possibly stay angry?
My moment of tenderness is transcended into laughter as I hear a loud “pffffttt” from his highness, the middle child, on his silent throne. My daughter erupts into a fit of giggles and the perpetuator smiles with pride and joins in. Time out is done and we’re all lost in fits of laughter.
I call them to the couch, we sit down and I ask them what they’ve just learned. Adorable faces gaze at me and words of wisdom tumble out:
“Use owrrr words, not owrrr bodies…”
“Walk away when we’re angry…”
For the moment…..
We all know being a mom is a blissful, rewarding, and wonderful experience. That said, being a mom is also about seeing red, screaming like a child (maybe not externally but definitely on the inside), and massaging our temples in those kill-me-now moments. We do the best we can and we come to love imperfect perfection.
But…we need support…damn it!
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