Tonight, I lost my cool.
I cracked, and I yelled. I let what should have been a routine task grow into a giant dark cloud of anger. I let it cast a shadow over the perfectly great day we had, all because I was ready for bed and he just wasn’t.
I know what you’re thinking. How could you yell at those little angels? Let me set the scene.
Our morning starts like so many others. Oversleeping, crazy chaos, waffles, hugs, and everyone is out the door. I work hard all day and I miss them every single second of it. In between calls and emails, I glance at my pictures of them and I can physically feel my chest warm with love. I think about what they’re little hands are playing with at daycare, if they’re comfortable, if they’re happy. Gosh, I miss them…back to work.
I rush to them at pick up, arms wide ready for that much-anticipated hug. My son halfway obliges, my daughter decides she’s going to dart around us to pick up a leaf in the middle of the busy driveway. As a car pulls in, my life flashes before my eyes and I leap towards her, knocking my son over simultaneously. Tears. Angry moods from all.
At home, I rush around the kitchen deflecting demands for junk food as I try to piece together a healthy-ish meal for my growing toddlers. More tears are had because the chicken I serve is not in nugget form. As I plead and bargain with hopes of seeing someone eat a vegetable, my daughter accidentally drops some fruit. Big brother hops down from his chair to pick it up, which she perceives as him stealing it. In the shrieking struggle, their precious little heads collide. More tears! I sink to the floor with both on my lap in an effort to salvage the situation… and as I do, our dog hops up and eats every single piece of food off their plates.
My husband gets home later than usual, he had a long day. He wants to enjoy the kids and unwind, but I’m watching the clock. I know good and well that our bedtime routine is a good 30-40 minute three-ring circus.
“Okay… ten more minutes, right everybody?”, I say to no one in particular.
As I wrestle my daughter into her footed pajamas I notice they’re getting tight. How are you growing so fast? Stop. Please be my baby forever. I begin to take out her pigtails and she shrieks and hits me in the face, hard. My son jumps up from the couch to reprimand his sister for hitting, spilling his popcorn snack all over the couch. The dog eats it, again. Am I terrible at this? How can I love my babies so much and still operate at top-level chaos 100% of the time?
Once they’re finally in bed, I walk into the kitchen and sigh loudly knowing I still have the task of cooking our own dinner lying ahead of me. About four seconds into chopping the first potato my little guy comes through loud and clear over the monitor. “Mom…MOM!” He has an endless line of philosophical, life-pondering questions queued up. I just can’t tonight. I muster up my kindest, yet firm voice to answer the first question over the monitor speaker and tell him I’m cooking dinner and it’s time for him to go to bed. “MOM!” Seriously? I’m exhausted. He wants to know if dinosaurs grow in their mommy’s tummy. Now blind to all things that should be cute toddler stuff, I grit my teeth and spout off an answer. “That’s it, goodnight.” I start to chop with more intensity and slam a couple of cabinet doors. My husband glances at me cautiously from behind his computer where he’s still working, having an equally long day, but somehow handling it so much better than I am. “Mom, Mom, MOMMY!”
That was it. That was the last straw. The last ounce of patience I had in my body, gone.
Oh boy, did I crack. I grabbed the monitor and I just started yelling. I was mad at him for not going to bed, yes. But as I had my “mommy meltdown” I could clearly sense the real reason behind it. I was mad at the reality that some days everything just kind of falls apart. I was mad that I wasn’t able to be with him all day, and that the part we did have together was riddled with chaos and moodiness. I was mad that I felt guilty for needing time to myself after a 12 hour day and didn’t feel up for chatting all night with my beautiful little boy. When I was done, I set the monitor down. I looked at my husband, not proud of my performance. I walked straight upstairs to make things right with my teary-eyed guy.
I said I was sorry as we laid together and talked for a while. I tried to soak up the moment, running my fingers through his hair and over his soft little cheek. Shortly after that (after squeezing in one more question), he was down for the count. Ugh. I love him so much. Does he know? I considered waking him up to tell him again.
In the end, I had to give myself some grace. I had to decide to forgive myself, and recognize that I’m human. I opened up to my husband about how I felt and accepted the much-appreciated words of comfort he offered. This phase of life, it’s crazy… and we’re all in it together. I guess toddlers aren’t the only ones allowed to have a meltdown now and then.