I remember Swistle or somebody talking once about what we perceive to be our biggest parenting weakness, and she and many others cited short temper as their own. For myself it has almost always been selfishness with my time, or at least that’s what I thought. But I think I may have switched camps somewhere along the lines without realizing it, because I just threw a temper tantrum to rival any of the kids (though I didn’t throw anything and I didn’t tell anyone I hated them, so they still win.)
It was a Perfect Storm, it really was- I still have a cold, and Talia’s had a cold all week and been very clingy, grouchy (could have something to do with that head injury! haha!) and also sleeping poorly due to the new bed sitch. So that sucked, and since she was requiring so much Lap Time during the day, and not napping, the house was unusually gross going into the weekend which just automatically makes me crabby anyways. I am left with the choice to either a) knock myself out doing a week’s worth of scrubbing in two days, leaving me kind of manic and exhausted but also mentally soothed by The Clean, or b) scratch the chores and try again next week, leaving me somewhat relieved but mostly agitated because mess makes my brain hurt.
Also, Adelay had soccer tournaments in Cincinnati Saturday, so I was at home all day with the three little kids while Jim coached. I tried really hard to make sure we had a fun day- took them to lunch, then took them to the coffee shop for smoothies (where one employee noted to me, apropos of my boys clambering around putting on the show called This Is Why You Can’t Take Us Anywhere, that he’s getting more and more sure he doesn’t want kids) and then we went to the park AND the playground. But after all that, do you think anyone was happy or content or grateful? Nope. In fact the whole way home one of my kids threw a screaming fit, complete with throwing of shoes and threats to leap from the moving vehicle, because I wouldn’t take them to the pharmacy to buy more Pokeman cards even though we had JUST BOUGHT SOME THE DAY BEFORE.
The afternoon sucked as I tried to clean our filthy house while Talia whined and cried from her room because NO CRIB, and hooligan boys ran around thwarting me (ex: ten minutes after I cleaned the boys’ bathroom mirror and sink, I found Jameson “cleaning” same with toothpaste) and beating each other over the head with toys. I tried giving the boys a bubble bath to distract them from killing each other, but while I was in the other room folding laundry, they turned the jets on in my tub and my hand to God, when I walked in my entire bathroom was covered in foam, with two sheepish but kind of gleeful faces peering out from these MOUNDS of bubbles. You couldn’t even see the tub anymore. I had to laugh or I would’ve cried. Then Jim got home with Addy and everyone was so very happy to see him and I just felt like chopped liver, inside cooking dinner while they all flocked joyfully around him outside as though they’d been trapped with Mommy Dearest all day. Oh and then no one would eat. Of course.
Today was even worse. Jim and Addy had to leave at five thirty am, so I was home with the littles again. I couldn’t do church because Tali’s still so germy looking, plus I still had lots of laundry/cleaning to do! Yay! But I back burnered cleaning for the morning, played outside with the kids instead, then we all went to the store to get birthday presents for the two different parties my kids were expected at this afternoon. I resisted the siren song of fast food and made us lunch at home, put the baby down for a nap (at least that part went ok today!) and took the kids to their parties while Jim dozed. BTW, I don’t begrudge him a nap, he had an exhausting weekend too. Plus he totally killed a rather large snake (which, wtf! snake!?) in our yard within minutes of getting back from Cinci, with a shovel, and I didn’t have to even lay eyes on the thing, so I think that earned him some points.
Anyways, I ran an errand, then got home and chilled for awhile before I had to leave again to pick the kids back up. As soon as I got them home, the shenanigans began again. I asked them to clean their rooms while I made dinner, and…
Actually, it’s occurring to me that someday my children may not appreciate me detailing their behavior in such excruciating detail. But let’s just say that despite lots of patient guidance and attempts to help with the cleaning without actually doing it for them, the fit throwing and procrastinating and refusal to cooperate whatsoever left me with a bit of the rage. One child attempted to run away, twice, because I am SO MEAN, another kid bit his brother so hard he left teeth marks, another kid tried to hit ME, etc etc. And during this time Jim had unfortunately had to leave to do his own errand, so I was on my own with what appeared to be demon possessed children, frankly. After about an hour and a half of chaos, in which time I did dishes and cleaned the house while putting one kid in time out, taking another kid’s toys away, thwarting two different runaway attempts, and speaking very sharply quite a lot, Jim got home and went out to grill the burgers I had prepared. And lo and behold, the damn grill would not turn on. Totally dead, even though it was fine a week ago. So then I got to cook burgers on my griddle and spatter myself with hot grease.
Whatevs, no big deal, at least everyone ate and loved their dinner and was being very polite to me after a Come To Jesus talk from Jim about straightening up and flying right. But then he had to leave again at eight thirty, for a previous engagement to watch Game of Thrones with his HBO-having coworker. And I know I am being a baby but this makes me a little jealous because I love that show too but someone has to stay with the kids and obviously it’s going to be me since I barely even know this guy. This is perfectly fair, and I get my nights out too so it’s not like a martyr thing here, it’s just that I really do want to watch it. So off he goes, and here I am with two kids in the bath and dinner to clean up and tucking in to do.
All goes well at first, kids get pajama-ed and are meant to be brushing their teeth while I change Talia, when suddenly I hear screeching and chasing and this weird wet sound as well. I turn around and there are puddles and bits of wet toilet paper all through the bathroom, freshly mopped dining room and hallway and the boys are running around chasing each other with a sopping wet roll of toilet paper. What. The. Hell.
I picked up Talia, half dressed and diaper less, and marched them back to the scene of the crime where I handed out towels and ordered, very angrily, that the mess be cleaned up immediately and that teeth brushing happen. Everyone just stood there staring at me as though puddle mopping was a skill that was utterly beyond them.
“Guys!” I yelled. I got down to give a visual demonstration of my request. “Bend down and clean up the water! Now!”
More blank stares and reluctant whining and protesting about who actually made the mess- hint: apparently no one.
“Jamie!” I yelled again. “This is your mess, you clean it up. Take your towel and clean it up NOW!”
Jamie glared at me dolefully and sucked his fingers. “It’s too hard! You do it!”
And that it when my brain died, you guys. I just SNAPPED. I haven’t felt that nuts since I was a hormonal teenager. I screamed, I screeched, I grabbed shoulders, I just acted like a lunatic. There was lots of incoherent venting about how I am not a maid, how it’s too much, cleaning up after a whole houseful of people who seem to completely disregard me, how I am so tired of being treated this way, blah blah blah. It was ugly. I was crying a little, even. Everyone backed away with wide eyes from the blubbering maniac.
“Just forget it!” I yelled weepily. “Just go to bed, everyone- I’ll clean this up since it’s obviously too much for you! Just go!” I marched them back down the hallway and into their room, then sat on the floor, shaking. Eli approached me cautiously, as one might a feral cat, and said in a soothing, manly tone, “It’s all right, Mom. Just take a deep breath. You’re just a little worked up right now.” He patted my shoulder kindly.
Then I did start crying, OBVIOUSLY. “I’m sorry,” I wailed. I grabbed Jamie into a hug and sat on the floor sniffling and babbling about how sorry I was and how badly I’d behaved and how I didn’t control myself and, you know, all the sorry. Lots of sorry. Sorry sorry sorry. I felt sick at how unhinged and scary I must have seemed to my kids.
I tucked them in very gently and kissed them and said sorry again and explained that it had just been a long weekend and I was worn down from people not cooperating with Mommy ahem ahem but that of course that was no excuse, and I just needed to go relax and settle down now huh? Jamie patted my cheek from his bed and said, in his little voice that is so cute because it’s still lispy and babyish but his tone is so serious, “You’re the best Mommy ever!”
And then I died. The end. Blergh.