I always say that after a woman is done having babies, she shouldn't have to go through all of the crazy hormonal junk that we do. Like the random highs and lows, the emotional turmoil, the headaches, the cramps, the mood swings. [I'm also betting that men wish the same for the women in their lives, right? Because frankly, it's no fun for anyone.]
But here we are, I imagine I'll be having mood swings for the next sixty some years and today I just kind of fell apart. Not kind of though. I really did fall apart.
My husband let me sleep in this morning, meaning he was awake two whole hours with them before I rolled out of bed. So whenever this happens [and it happens once every weekend], I have this irrational feeling that I should be happy and thankful and that nothing should get me down because voila and kazam, Mama had a little more sleep. In reality, by minute FIVE, I'm ready to run back up the stairs and hide under the covers because the noisiness and bickering just bring me DOWN.
This morning wasn't really all that bad. The kids begged to play in the rain and we actually let them. But then that meant they needed a bath and it never fails that every time they take one, I hear, "Move!" "Go to YOUR side!" "STOP!" "NOOOOOO!" coming from each of their mouths almost the entire time. And every time, I threaten that they just won't take baths together anymore but then that never happens because who has time to bathe two kids separately? [What am I going to do when they're too old to do this?? Will they shower? #seriouslypanicking]
So I lost my temper. I don't have an in-between voice, I am either soft spoken, or I yell. [I desperately need to work on this, I know.] My son started to cry, and then my daughter, and both were shrieking at the top of their lungs that they wanted to get out. Enter me feeling like a giant failure #5 by that point and I had been awake a whopping what, hour?!
Then my husband leaves to watch a football game and I think, "I've got this. It's almost lunch time, I think we'll bake some cookies. This will be fun." And in reality, baking with a three and four-year old is really, really, really stressful, especially when you are on the verge of a really bad sinus headache, you've only had half a cup of lukewarm coffee, and you're just wishing that you were a born Superwoman. But you're not.
So I keep telling my daughter to please go finish her lunch and THEN she can help Mommy with the baking. And she folds her arms, furrows her brow and in a giant huff says, "Mom! I'm SO mad about [at] you right now!" First, when did she learn that? YouTube? I mean seriously, she's three going on ten apparently. I explain the necessity behind her eating lunch and ultimately decide fine, she can eat it ON the kitchen counter WHILE we mix these cookies and during all of that, I hear myself:
"Stop trying to smash the butter. It still needs to be opened and softened, just leave it ALONE."
"Do NOT lick the whisk!"
"No, you cannot be in charge of pouring the nutmeg in, I have to measure it first."
"Don't kick your brother."
"Not high speed, LOW speed. Just stop pressing buttons please."
Nap time rolls around. It's not usually that challenging to put both of them down, but today is clearly the exception. I was in and out of their rooms five times each, reminding them to lie down, close their eyes, that they needed to sleep. I felt like all I was doing was threatening them, "No cookie if you don't sleep," or, "You HAVE to stay in your room until your clock turns green." I made my way downstairs, finally, and still had about two more dozen cookies yet to bake. I was regretting my decision to make them altogether, ate a ton of dough, ingested about five cookies instead of fixing myself lunch, and then sat down to look at bills and pay student loans. Before nap time, I thought I would have two full hours to edit pictures from my most recent wedding, drink some tea, and just relax. I even told my husband, "I'm doing laundry but I'll fold it tonight after the kids are in bed because I need to do some work on the computer." Little did I know that looking at money would completely drain me AND that because I forgot like, ALL of my passwords, the whole process would take me all of said "two hours to relax."
At this point my head was really starting to throb. I found the Excedrin and went to our bed to snuggle with our orange kitten--because when the pets are all cuddled up in bed I always think, "If I could just lay here and close my eyes..." And then I heard my daughter's bedroom barge open. Well she's awake. I thought maybe she could use my phone for a few minutes and I could just rest a little bit more, but then his door opened. We were all together in my giant king sized bed and somehow they managed to not have enough distance from each other.
We went downstairs and I tried to convince them to eat a snack and watch a show while I find something for lunch. It didn't work, and I hear, "Stop!" "Leave me alone!" "You're being RUDE!" "I'm MAD at you!" I put my head in my hands and as hard as I tried, I couldn't stop the tears from coming. I called the kids to please come to the couch and to sit down so we could talk. My daughter's response, before she noticed that I was upset, was, "I DON'T want to!" [Yes, hello threenager.]
I tried to choke back the tears but couldn't so I proceeded to tell them why Mama was so upset. I explained that I so badly want them to be friends and to just get along. That it wears Mommy [and Daddy] out when all they do is bicker and fight and scream at each other. That it isn't loving, and that Mommy is just sad today. I told them that I'm missing Mimi and Pa Pa [MY mom and dad] and that I wished we could just drive to their house and hang out for a few hours. That I was tired and hungry and wanted a hot shower but couldn't because I can't trust them.
My son's eyes welled with tears, my daughter said, "Why are you sad, Mommy? Why are you crying?"
ecause sometimes Mommies are sad, Guys. Just like sometimes you cry and feel emotional, that happens to Mommies too.
My son took my hand and asked if we could go cuddle in his bunkbed; of course I agreed, and it was the first time all day that there was zero fighting. The three of us smashed in a twin bed and I closed my eyes for ten minutes. My husband got home and came upstairs and the first thing they said was, "Mommy's crying!" I told him that it had just been a rough day, but that now I also felt like a failure for crying in front of my children.
"They need to know that you're human," he replied. "And if you'll notice now, they are playing nicely together?"
In this season, I don't get to spend a whole lot of time with women who have young kids. In our last church small group, my husband and I were the only parents and today I realized, I don't really know if my mom friends ever cry in front of their children? I mean, it's not something I want to regularly practice. But today it made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Like I wasn't this Superwoman mom who could just be happy and grateful and fun 24/7--like my little kids shouldn't be exposed to such emotions.
But I don't think that's the case? Social media can trap us into only seeing square shaped moments of 'perfection,' right? The white walls, the beautiful kitchens, the babies splitting a gut as they're tickled on the bed. The siblings holding hands, husband and wives kissing and embracing, the candles lit and pies baked. I do it too--because I love showing you all the GOOD in my usually messy days. But the messy days are real. And today I'm peeling back the layers and confessing to you that tears were shed by many in my household today, and that I fell apart.
And I also want to tell you that I don't plan on throwing in the towel. I didn't retreat to my bedroom and wallow in utter sadness. I cried, and I missed a lot of people today. I felt like a terrible mom, a lousy wife, and like I could have done a helluva lot better. But I know that tomorrow is a new day. And that my children and husband love me and I love them.
Tomorrow, I will be human and maybe, being human is perfectly good enough.