I almost lost it tonight. Between the constant whining,
bad nonexistent listening habits and stepping on the same damn kernel of corn on the kitchen floor for the umpteenth time (I had swept the floor 32 times today. How was I still stepping on food?), I felt on the verge of a mommy meltdown.
I don’t like feeling like this, like I’m about to yell or throw things – toys into the corner of the room, dishes into the sink – out of frustration. I don’t think anyone (mother or not) does. It wasn’t even like we were having a bad day. It was a lovely day, actually. The weekend, even. My husband was home, the sun was shining and we didn’t have anything on our agenda. Just a day at home as a family. It all came to a head this evening, though. The afternoon was rough after very short naps from two girls who desperately needed naps.
Tears flowed from my two-year old’s eyes for the better part of an hour because the baby was looking at her. The baby crawled onto the fireplace 1,000 times to lick the stone surround while we sternly told her “no” which made her burst into tears as well. The dance party we had mid-afternoon was a bright light in the midst of Witching Hour darkness but it came to a screeching halt when Gracyn stepped on a block and the world proceeded to end in dramatic two-year old fashion.
Dinner was had, baths were drawn, but not without their own battles. Patience running thin, I had to pry my daughter’s mouth open to brush her teeth and then threatened to take away her TV time before bed. She continued to ignore my requests to put on her pajamas and pick up the toys so I was then forced to actually take away her TV time. I had to be the bad guy when I was already feeling pretty crummy about a less-than stellar afternoon in mommy land. After awhile, the kids were finally in bed.
My husband, sensing my frustration, did the dishes, swept up the kitchen floor (and that kernel of corn once and for all…) and suggested I go take a shower.
So, I did.
I took a shower. The longest, hottest shower I could stand. I washed my hair. Twice. I had an ugly cry. You know, the ones where you’re not really sure why you’re crying? Everything builds up over time and sometimes you just have to let it out. Mine usually happen when I’m being hard on myself and feeling guilty about not having enough patience with the girls. This – the ugly cries – never happened to me before I had kids, by the way. But I stood there, letting the water rinse the stressors away. And it worked. It was amazing, really, how something so simple made me feel better.
I often forget to take a moment for myself. I think that’s a pretty common thing amongst moms. Dads too, I’m sure. As a mom, I feel like I can do it all, all the time. Even after a day like today, one that wasn’t even that bad in the grand scheme of things, I’m reminded that I need to take a step back every once in awhile and breathe. It’s OK if we have a rough afternoon listening. She’s two. The baby is apt to ignore your requests to stop climbing into a death trap. She’s a baby. And, there is bound to be food on the floor at all times. Because, kids, man.
After the 20 short minutes I spent taking care of myself, I emerged feeling rejuvenated. Like I could concur anything these kids threw at me. It was good timing, too, because my toddler had started crying from her room, asking for me. Back to mom-mode.
I went in to her room and gave her a few extra kisses as I tucked her in. Told her I loved her; gave her a high-five and everything else she requests during her bedtime routine, just like normal. She didn’t mention her lack of TV time. She didn’t seem fazed by my previous short temper. She hugged me back as if all was right in her little world. She felt my wet hair and asked, “You take a shower, mom?”
I took a shower.