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I can admit that out of a seven day week, I get may be 1 or 2 really good days with my kids. Days when I get everything done that I want to with them. I play with them, am totally engaged, am charming and the best mother in the world from waking to bedtime.
Then I have 3 to 4 days that are mediocre. I feel like I am just getting by. That I could have done more with my kids. Could have been more patient. Could have been more understanding, more engaging and less distracted.
Then I have the 1 day a week when things just suck. I feel done with it all, tired of the constant ‘Mommy!’ and just want to crawl into bed and never come out. Anything can trigger it. An increase in fighting among the kids because they are overly tired. An increase in my irritation because I am overly tired. Financial stress. Any interaction at all with my ex. Lots of things.
For instance, last night was a bad night. Bad. Like…. bad.
The kids have dinner with their dad on Wednesday nights. He gets them, feeds them and we meet to switch right around their normal bedtime of 8. So I get them back usually amped up and chatty, happy and in no way ready to go to bed. It’s fine, it is the arrangement and I work around it.
Last night they were in rare form when I got them back – even for them. He had taken them to Chuck E. Cheese and they were full of energy. So I decided to get them to bed immediately on returning home and letting them chatter among each other and and read books until they came down off their high.
I let this go for about an hour. When I finally had enough, I turned the lights off and told them to go to bed. Katie, my 7 year old, who thinks sleep is a luxury, not a necessity, immediately went into her I’m scared nightly fight. The other two calmed and were asleep within minutes.
Katie fought and fought for well over an hour. But I finally got her to lay down, close her eyes and relax.
So I took my tired self to bed too. I checked emails and fell asleep around 11pm. Not too bad for me, actually.
Gee, I wonder where Katie gets it from?
At 2am, Katie was up. Screaming that she wanted to sleep with me and wanted chocolate milk from her bed. Now, she and her sister’s share a room so I was up and in there in a hurry to keep her from waking them.
I told her, in no uncertain terms, to calm down, close her eyes and go to bed.
But she kept going. Kept getting up, telling me she broke her brand new radio, telling me she was scared and on and on and on. For 30 minutes, at 2 in the morning, I was in hell with this kid. And I totally lost my patience!
I picked her up, put her on the couch and yelled at her to keep her little butt there and to not get up again or I would spank her. Now, I rarely – rarely – spank. The threat was real but I was, honestly, too tired and frustrated to pay attention to the guilt.
She would not stay. Kept getting up, screaming at the top of her lungs, yelling my name and driving me MAD!
So I got up and got in her face and told her that she was grounded from all activities for the last two weeks of summer. Well, we have Barbie events, movies and fun stuff to do. So that sent her into a tailspin.
I was done!
Instead of spanking her, though, I picked up a cup left on my living room floor that I had stepped on and flung it across the room, yelled at her that I was DONE and then left her in the dark living room by herself with my doors closed so I could muffle her crying in my room.
I felt terrible. Terrible! Bad mommy move. I know. I would have gotten further faster with patience and creativity in dealing with her. I felt there was no excuse to scream at a child in the middle of the night. And certainly no reason to thrown anything!
But you know what? It happens. Probably in more households across the nation than we realize. The truth about motherhood is that no one talks about losing their patience with their kids. When we do, it is a joke. A glossed over story at a play date with our friends. We say we were mad but hide that our face was red, angry and we lost our cool.
Thing is – yes, we are the adults – and we should also know better. So, really, I have no excuse for screaming at my 7 year old. But I am also human. Last time I checked, being human does everything but make me perfect.
Being a mother holds me to a higher standard, I won’t argue with that. Because my actions impact a growing brain and body and can leave lasting scars. But I have my limits and make mistakes. I own them and I want to be able to share them and be honest without the backlash of the mom who never does anything wrong. Not Every Day Has to be Perfect!
Because she is lying.
So while I know in my heart that I want to pretend like all 7 days in a week are perfect with my kids, the truth is that some just suck. And the sooner we can all admit it, the sooner we can all bond together and help each other make more awesome days and less frequent ones that suck!
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