Saturday, January 24, 2009
Screaming & Crying
There was an awful lot of screaming and crying today. An awful lot.
Thankfully I only did about half of it. My children contributed generously, as is their nature.
I'm trying to figure out what makes days like this. Why some days are great, and other days stink. Some days I have it all together. I finish cleaning up the kitchen, the house is quiet; I feel like flexing my muscles. Some days I can barely make it 'til 7 o'clock bedtime. Forget the dishes, I'm going to bed too!
Last week we had one of those bad days. I had the kids bathed and in their pajamas at 3:30 in the afternoon. Wishful thinking, I guess.
I think a big part of what makes me weary is the melodrama that goes on. I know, I know, I'm their mother and it's my fault. I am the original drama queen. They probably would be much calmer if I were a quiet and gentle person. I do have my quiet and gentle moments, but at times motherhood brings out the worst in me. My kids are just following in my footsteps, except it seems their siblings bring out the worst in them ("Mommy, Anna poked me in the eye/ Gabe hit me with the light saber/ Olivia says I can't be in the club!"). Or having to do their homework ("I can't do this! I can't! I can't!"). Or having to eat their spinach ("I'm going to throw up!"). Or having to wash their hair ("I hate this! I hate this! Ahhhhhhhhh!"). Or having to come inside to use the bathroom (groan)...
I'll be candid here. There are many days when I'm ready to take a long mommy vacation. Take early retirement. Head for Tahiti. Bury my toes (and my head) in the sand.
But mommies don't get real vacations. Vacations are actually more stressful for mothers of young children than just staying home. Actual mommy vacations are called schedules. When the kids are all in bed at 7p.m. that's a mommy vacation. Especially when you're breastfeeding and feeling akin to a humpback whale (incidentally, humpback whale calves drink 50 gallons of milk a day).
Your husband asks you, as my husband did the other day, "When will the baby go on solid food?"
You look at your husband suspiciously. "Why?"
Your husband doesn't want to admit it, but he really wants to know when he can take you away for a night that does not involve all the children piled on top of you in the queen size bed. He wants to know when he can remove you from your bovine duties for a spell.
It's a valid question.
All I know is, I'm ready.
And then again, I'm not ready.
When I'm gone from my children for a couple hours I start feeling all cavernous inside, like a deflated balloon. I'm walking back home as fast as a Hong Kong speed walker. I'm taking two steps up the stairs at a time. The mommy in me is sick of vacation. My arms feel empty. Are my babies okay? Do they miss me?
Call me neurotic. I think it's just this season of life.
Mommy jungle gym.
But I keep running back to it, because it's the best and the worst all rolled into a big ball. And to experience one, you have to have the other. Those beautiful moments are hidden like little kisses, like little pieces of chocolate. They surprise you sometimes. And you have to be there to find them. If you're somewhere else, someone else will find them instead.
So, today I listened to (and participated in) a lot of crying and screaming. But there was also a little sweetness thrown in that makes it -- dare I sound cheesy? -- more than worth it.