I hate that no one tells you that one day you will consider yourself a horrible mother. Not consistently, but that from time to time you will do something or say something that will make you feel like the worst, most horrible, awful, bitch of a mother. Some days you will crown yourself Mother of the Year, and other days you will just hang your head in shame for most of the day. Those days are usually Mondays, and you are late, and your kids are late, and you forgot to buy coffee yesterday or the day before, and oh shit where are those black pants/school permission slip/extra emergency diapers that you desperately need right this minute... That's the kind of day I had today.
I will start by saying that I only got four hours of sleep.
As if that makes me exempt from my behavior.
But on four hours of sleep there is very little I can accomplish. Thank the Lord that I did not have to work today. But I did have to get up at least by seven to be mom, and I was awoke at four. FOUR. Yes, in the morning, Pacific Standard time. I envy the person that can go back to sleep, but as soon as I'm awake my mind starts going. It starts making lists and writing posts and short stories. It thinks about dinner and homework and what I should wear to work the next day. So if I wake up at four in the morning, when I went to bed the night before with my preschooler at midnight, I'm not going to be happy or easy or any of those descriptive words that you pair with "Excellent Mother".
On a side note by preschooler took a late nap, but honestly, sometimes the little night owl stays up super late. And honestly, there are some nights where I'm just too tired to try and make that an issue. That is your Real Talk for the day, friends.
So I woke up at four, stewed until four thirty, hit Facebook and Instagram for an hour. Turned on the TV at six and watched Super Bowl highlights until seven. I then started waking my children, got myself presentable for the school drop off committee, and then somewhere about seven thirty in the morning all Hell broke loose.
My daughter couldn't decide on what clothes to wear.
It was as simple and mundane as that. She just couldn't decide on jeans and a t-shirt. Like she does and has done for the last, oh I don't know, always amount of months. And folks, we have tried it all, picking out one outfit the night before, two outfits the night before, a weeks worth of outfits on Sunday, Mom picking one outfit and her another, and on and on. So, today I pulled out a pair of jeans that I have been setting out for her for over a week, and there is always an excuse on why we can't wear them, and then I just completely walked outside of my body.
Because I said "pick something out", and she sat on her bed and just cried that she couldn't.
That she couldn't pick from the ten thousand dollars worth of clothes. Because there are too many choices and my mothering radar went off and knew that this was my fault because I've spoiled her rotten and let the world of family and friends spoil her rotten with clothes and things. I could not beg and plead with her to wear the flower jeans for one more morning. So I did what any reasonable and sensible mother would do...
I dumped all her clothing (and by all I mean every single thing in the dresser) into one big pile in the middle of her floor and yelled at the top of my lungs...
FIGURE IT OUT OR IT ALL GOES IN THE TRASH.
Which if you haven't figured out is neither reasonable or sensible.
And in that moment, as I was floating outside of my body, I saw myself and my hysterical child in the floor and all the clothes and thought,
Who the fuck is this person?
In an instant I wished and prayed I could take it back, but sadly that is not how the world works. I apologized and cleared my aching throat and tried to calmly explain that Mommy just can't have this fight anymore. This one fight about clothes and shoes. I just can't wake up every morning and have this same fight. I told my poor, dear, sniffling seven year old that I don't want to fight with her about this, that I don't want to yell and be out of control. And I apologized (as I always do), and said that I didn't want to be a scary mommy, or a horrible mommy, or a yelling mommy.
And she cried and I cried. And no one in the entire house could "even", including Mackenzie who was mad that she couldn't have Cheetos for breakfast.
The thing is, no one in their right mind tells you that the most mundane and bullshit thing will set your hair on fire when it comes to parenting. No one tells you that when your kid refuses carrots or the red bow or the flower jeans that you will come to a breaking point like no other. No one tells you that on top of all the other shit happening in your life, your kid will bring you to you knees with the simplest phrase or refusal. Because if they did, you would check the hell out of having any offspring at all.
I'm here to tell you that this shit happens. It happens to me, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't happen to everyone. I told my mom today that I'm pretty sure that there are mothers that handle these kinds of situations calmly and rationally. And on a day like today I want to be that kind of mother so badly. But I'm a yeller. I've always been a yeller. I've always been the kind of girl that gets her hair set on fire by the bullshit. I'm an over reactor by default and I have yet to fix it or learn how to fix that about myself. My mother calmly reminded me of the fight we had in our condo when I was eight, the one in which she screamed so loudly that the neighbor lady stopped in her tracks and stood outside our door and gave my mother the evil eye as we walked to our car. That fight according to my mother was also about clothes, and being on a schedule and almost being late for school. Simply put, I guess it happens to the best of us, even my mother, the patron saint to mothers everywhere. Still, I envy the mothers that count to ten, the ones that speak softly and calmly and don't want to run screaming down the street when shit hits the fan. How do I become that kind of mother?
I become that kind of mother by learning from mistakes. Like the ones I made today. I take what happened today and vow, pray, count to ten or to ten thousand so it doesn't happen again. I spend the entire day worried and feeling guilty and horrible. I spend the day crying over the dumbest commercials and stupid songs on the radio. I spend the day thinking about how I will make this up to my daughter, only to have her run straight to me at pick up and hug the crap out of me, as if she had forgotten the entire incident. I spend the day reflecting.
I'm sure I'm not the only Horrible Mother, party of one. I'm sure you have had your moments or days. When there is no coffee or hot water. When there is no sleep and no sleep to come. When your babies skip naps, your kids have the flu, your dinner never thawed. And even though those things seem so nonsequential, they literally make the littlest bump in the road set your hair afire. I feel your pain, I've lived your frustration and guilt. Just know, you are not alone. There are other mothers requesting a table at the Horrible Mother cafe. So, have a seat, order a coffee or wine, and lets reflect on this day. Let's pray together, and laugh together, and talk about how much we love our children and how much our children love us. Because they do. Because we do. And that's why we get up every day and try again.
Or we could sit and talk about starting a small business to pay for the therapy bills that are most definitely in our futures.