I love seeing things like this, especially when I’ve had a day when the reading on the Mom Guilt-O-Meter is pretty high.
I mean, seriously, isn’t this sometimes enough? Sometimes, when my husband comes home at the end of the day and sees me, ragged and beat down, I want to point out that we’re all still breathing, that we made it another day.
Take today, for example. For starters, our toddler is refusing to nap or stay in bed at night. So out of sheer exhaustion and, because we’ve all been up late watching playoff hockey (RIP Boston Bruins, you bastards), we’ve just let her stay up until the girl is acting like a teenager after her first beer: loopy, drooling and babbling nonsensical phrases into a toy microphone.
So, there’s that. Then today began with a total meltdown – screaming, crying, the whole shebang – in which my 5-year-old was pissed beyond belief at the mere sight of the shirt I had picked out for him to wear to school. After 10 minutes of arguing, and stressing about the fact that we were late for school – again (though I think it’s been quite some time since they’ve expected us at the required hour) – I sent him into his room to put on whatever the heck he wanted. He comes out 10 minutes later in Transformer pajamas. I still heart my little a-hole, but no. So, I manhandle him into a green polo shirt, in which he is squirming and screaming and crying and declaring at the top of his lungs that everyone – EVERYONE! – is going to laugh at him for wearing something that is only green in color.
I tell him through my teeth that he looks very handsome in his green polo. He yells something unintelligible. His face is red and tears are rolling down his cheeks. Then I look at the clock. School has already started. I am at my boiling point. I tell him I don’t care if everyone laughs at him. He is wearing the green polo.
I leave the room and come back. Faster than goddamned Clark Kent in a telephone booth, he has changed into the original shirt I had left out for him, the one that started the whole meltdown in the first place. I start to interrogate him about his logic. This, of course, doesn’t go well. I usher everyone into the car and we leave for school. On the drive, I start to calm down and start feeling like mother of the year for not remaining calm and showing my son how to remain calm while simultaneously being frustrated. Basically, I feel like the a-hole.
“Can we all just calm down a little bit?” he asks me.
It’s like a wrecking ball to the stomach, because I know what he really means is, “Can YOU calm down, mom?”
I apologize for flying off the handle, suggest that HE lay out his clothes at night, so that when he wakes up in the morning he can put on what he has picked out and maybe, just maybe, we won’t be late for school. He agrees to this plan. It’s only taken me most of the school year, multiple wardrobe malfunctions and many mornings of stress and anger to figure this out.
But what can I do now, but move on and learn from the experience?
For starters, I can boast the fact that the children are all still alive. Hallelujah, the children are still alive and well. Bring on #4!