Yesterday afternoon I wanted ten minutes. Just ten minutes where I could sit before heading out into the frozen tundra to teach a night class. And not play. And not answer questions. Or talk. Or think at all, actually. And, let’s be honest, just ten minutes where I could eat some flippin’ cookie dough in peace and quiet (shush. that is what starting your third trimester can do to a girl).
To get those ten minutes, I locked myself in one of our back bedrooms and flopped in a chair, snack in hand. Yes, locked the door. In my defense, Ben was home from school, so it’s not like I left the children running loose or anything (although I’ve been considering it). But I really wanted just a little time for me after what has been the longest, most exhausting week we’ve had in a really long time, so I tried to guarantee it by barricading myself in that bedroom.
Know how far I got into those ten minutes? C’mon – guess!
About four is all I managed. And then, a curious and loud little peanut by the name of Raegan discovered a shut door with light peeking out from under the crack and decided she’d found the jackpot. “Mama? Mama?! Mama!!!” she squealed. And then, I could tell, she put her face down by the floor to try to peer underneath the crack, because I could see her sticky little toddler fingers poking below the door, trying, trying, trying to get me. When that didn’t work, she stood back up and started
knocking beating on the door, all the while calling yelling, “Mama? Mama?! MAMA!!!!!!!”
Ben, who was playing in the living room with HD, came to get her just as I finished inhaling my treat and was opening the door. He said the look on Raegan’s face when she “found” me was the ultimate expression of joy and elation. She was so proud of herself.
And my face? Part amusement, part bafflement, part exhaustion, part I-love-that-they-love-me-but-why-can’t-they-just-leave-me-alone-oh-look-at-that-sweet-face-wait-who-smeared-peanut-butter-on-the-pants-I’m-wearing-to-teach-tonight???
A friend once described motherhood to me as a type of schizophrenia and I’ve gotta say, I’m a believer. Sometimes I am all in and I am good. Great, even. Others I am one foot out the door, pulling my hair out, trying (and failing) to keep my snarkiness to myself and I am not-so-good. Stinky, even. I hesitate to say “bad” because I know deep down how much I love my kids and that I would never harm them and would never actually leave them (at least not for good – maybe just for a few minutes, but even that tends to work against me because they’re so little and get into trouble so fast, but maybe someday I can just walk away and breathe when they start to drive me bonkers?), so I know I’m not a bad mom. I’m just a mom. And moms have sunshine and rainbows AND Captain Cranky Pants moments. Not just days – moments. So therein lies the schizophrenia, because some days I move back and forth between the great and not-so-great too many times to count.
But let’s face it, the last day and a half has been far more Cranky Pants than sunshine (although I might put some of that on Mother Nature and her snow and ice in mid-April – not so helpful after a week of illness, you know?). During this time I have been trying and trying to start over and not be so fussy with the children or myself or Ben but then something happens and Captain CP returns. Sometimes it is small, like Harrison coughing into his glass of milk instead of drinking it which in turns sends milk flying everywhere (yeah, yeah, yeah. don’t cry over spilled milk. got it. still annoying when it is the third spilled milk of the morning). Sometimes it is big, like stepping away for one minute to blow my nose because of course I’m getting a head cold now, and coming back to find that the ONLY things on my dinning room table are now MY CHILDREN, who start laughing hysterically when they see me see them. For seriously?!?!
Long run, big picture, and all that, things are fine. I know that right now, in this moment, I’m just worn the eff out and my patience is low. They know it too and are therefore (literally, I’m afraid) climbing the walls. That’s life. I can try to “this too shall pass” my way through it and drink as much coffee as my OB will allow and eventually, in tens years or so, people in this house will sleep. And they will not ask me 1,000,001 questions in a day. And they won’t want to be held from sun up to sun down or only want to eat cheese (I’m talking to you, RL!). And I suppose a little part of me will actually be sad because I’ll miss this time when they wanted me all.the.time. However, perhaps by then, we’ll also have fewer appearances from Captain Cranky Pants and I don’t think any of us would miss her much.
But who am I kidding?! Parenthood will forever have both sides and I’ve just got to deal with that. I’ll be sunshine (Thanks, Sweetie, for volunteering to give me your last Teddy Gram from your snack) and I’ll be cranky (WHY can’t you listen!? Oh yeah, you’re three.) What I can celebrate, perhaps, in ten years, is no more peanut butter on my clothes. That’d be cool.