Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Confessional

I totally lost my shit this morning. I feel, once again, like a horrible mother. But I also feel completely overwhelmed, which is why I lost my shit.

I am on my knees, at the mercy of halflings (not the JRR Tolkein kind). I'll be the mom with bed head and jammies, laying in the back yard dejectedly at 3pm while the children beat me senseless with whiffle bats.

So, it was a normal morning - get up, eat breakfast, take The Bug upstairs for a diaper change, nurse her, take her up for a nap, note her perky awake eyes and smile, take her back downstairs, play with kids for a while, change her diaper again, take her back downstairs and try again.

Sweet Pea always goes upstairs with us for the diaper changes. She usually dresses a stuffed animal or "reads" a book while she waits, unless she prefers to spend the time running around saying, "Mommy, look how fast I can run!" Today was a reading day. She didn't start until I was ready to go back downstairs, though, and had just started leafing through a pretty long book.

When I was finished with the diaper change I told her I was going downstairs to nurse The Bug again. She said, "no, Mommy. Wait until I finish reading my book."

"No," I told her. "You can stay and read if you want, or bring the book downstairs and I will read it to you. But I am going down right now."

Off I went, singing to The Bug on the way down the stairs. When she heard my voice getting further away, Sweet Pea started calling, "Mama! Come back up here! I'm still reading! Wait until I finish my book!"

"No," I told her, "I told you I was coming down - I have things to do. You come downstairs if you want to be together."

There was a lot more of that, and eventually she turned into a screaming, sobbing pile at the top of the stairs.

"Mama, come back up! Mama, come back and then I'll come down!" and so on.

I turned up the TV but of course the screaming from upstairs and the loud TV did nothing to keep The Bug nursing, much less get her to calm down enough to nap. I turned off the TV. I called up to Sweet Pea and told her to come down. The same sort of bossy demands returned. I told her "no" yet again, and encouraged her to come down. I told her this was not such a big deal that she needed to have a fit. I reminded her that I am her mother and as such am in charge and that she cannot order me around. Not exactly in those words.

I tured the TV back on and tried to just drown out the noise. There was nothing to watch except a PBS thing called "Keeping Kids Healthy" that was all about Whooping Cough and scared the crap out of me. I turned the TV off again.

I couldn't hand the screaming anymore. The pointless tantrum. I totally, completely lost my shit.

"GO TAKE A NAP!" I screamed.

"I don't want to take a nap," Sweet Pea protested.

"GO. INTO. A. BEDROOM. AND. CLOSE. THE. DOOR. NOW. I CAN'T HANDLE ALL THE NOISE YOU'RE MAKING."

"No, Mama!"

"THEN SHUT UP!"

Sweet Pea tried hard to stop making noise. The Bug looked at me with a scared, unsure look on her face. She started to cry. Sweet Pea came back downstairs. Her eyes were pink and hugely swollen from all the pointless crying. Her hair was flat. She looked like she'd been crying for hours longer than she had. She draped herself across my lap, played with my hair and laid her head on my chest.

I explained to her quietly how I got to the point of screaming like that, so that I scared her. And her sister. And myself. She quickly returned to her playful self and handed The Bug the ribbon for the huge goldfish balloon we have in the family room, and they giggled and played with the balloon. I kept talking to her about what had been happening for the past half hour or so and she didn't say much. I finally sat her down, made sure she was listening to me and we made an agreement to try not to do that anymore. She will try not to throw pointless tantrums, and I will try not to scream my head off.

I hope it works.

2 comments:

dana said...

I've done this with Dawson. I felt horrible afterward. But sometimes, we moms just can't take anymore. We blow up. We can try to stifle those emotions but it eventually makes us lose it.

Don't worry, we are great mothers. It's the moms who don't express their emotions that I worry about.

Lori said...

I had one day where I was sooo upset with Faith that I told her she'd have a timeout in the garage- in the dark. I only did it for 15 seconds or so... I felt horrible about it but she was so darn stubborn, she didn't even care. We all have our days...