Sometimes I want to run away, hide in a corner of the house where no one can reach me until I find the strength to break free from the stress that winds itself through my nerves making even the slightest comment or movement an infraction deserving of a mom’s wrath.
Sometimes I want to yell to stop. Stop yelling when the baby is trying to nap; stop running around the living room or jumping on the couch. So many times I want to yell, “Why won’t you stop being so bad?” Or, “What is wrong with you?”
Sometimes I do raise my voice. The sound echoing through the playroom, catching you off guard. The power in my voice makes you cry but also makes you stop in mid-hit, throw or jump. Often I am upset that I was not able to tame my temper by simply taking a deep breath to remind myself that you, my beautiful daughter, are only 2. But I’m human, and sometimes my weaknesses come forth during those emotionally-charged interactions. Of course, knowing that my actions hurt you results in extra hugs and cuddles and has me feeling terrible that I yelled when I should have taken a moment to compose myself.
Many times I want to cry. Hide in the hallway closet, and sit in the furthest corner beneath the winter coats and rain boots – and sob. I want to allow the tears to fall from my eyes unabashedly, not caring who sees or if I’m making the dreaded ugly cry face.
Sometimes my weaknesses take over and I do cry; giving in to the stress of being the parent I’ve envisioned long before you were born. The parent who could end a tantrum by throwing her child “that look,” or never loses her patience, instead happily agreeing to play princesses for the 10th time that day; the mom who never rushes her daughter to hurry up and pick a shirt to wear to school because time is always ticking by, each second a reminder of all that needs to get done that day.
My weaknesses are often on display for my daughter to see as I lose my patience every now and then or give in and cry, no longer able to hold in the tears. Once I was crying in the car after a particularly bad play date where my eldest refused to share with her playmates, the infant only wanted to be held by me and I was exhausted.
“Please listen to me,” I begged my daughter when I pulled her aside. But she didn’t.
Embarrassed and frustrated I rushed us out the door, holding back the tears as I strapped the girls into their seats. “What’s wrong mama,” she asked from the backseat as I quietly cried with my hands over my eyes. “You weren’t listening and I really needed your help,” I told her. She took it in, cocked her head to the side, pouted and said, “I’m sorry mama. I’ll listen more better.”
There are so many times when I have to find the strength to laugh instead of giving in to frustration, especially on days when my toddler’s back talk is at an all-time high. Laughing is all my husband and I can do after a long day of work and coming home to two under the age of two who are being , well, kids.
Laughing is how I get through the hard times when work is stressful, the toddler skips a nap, the infant is teething and the Starbucks line refuses to budge. Sometimes laughter is the answer to the day’s problems. Making my daughter laugh is how I can help shake off the bad mood that hovers above her, refusing to dissipate despite my attempts at putting on a silly face or just tickling when she just can’t seem to shake the grumpies.
Sometimes strength comes in numbers as my husband and I team up to help solve a problem or the toddler helps entertain the infant when I need help. Together, my eldest daughter and I will in the play room, swinging our arms up high, shouting peek-a-boo to make the infant stop crying. Other times it’s me and my husband pulling the girls onto our laps to give them the hug or the tickles they need, all of us laughing in unison, connecting as a family.
Each round of laughter is like a start over button, a moment to shake off the bad, regain our strength to move forward. Forget the terrible morning/afternoon/evening we just had, let’s start over. Together.