Last night was a brutal night. My kids were annoying me. I felt myself getting angrier and angrier as the evening went on, my patience wearing thin. The more I needed space the more they seem to want “Mommy.” I snapped. I yelled. I told them to leave me alone. By the time they went to bed, I felt terrible.
Tonight, I failed. Tonight, I was not my best self. I know I could have done better. But I didn’t.
My husband has been away for a few days. I had just worked a full day, picked up the kids from daycare and was rushing to get dinner on the table. We were all tired from a long day and hungry.
My daughter wanted to be up on the counter helping. Fine. Seeing that, my son too wanted up. But there was no room and I couldn’t hold him. He wasn’t afraid to show me his frustration. He hit my leg and hit my leg and hit and hit and hit. I told him no and to be gentle.
Every time I crouched down to give him a hug and tell him I loved him, he just wanted up. Every time I said no, he hit. And when he didn’t get the reaction he wanted, he bit.
So here I am, trying frantically to get veggies chopped and cooked while dancing around trying to avoid teeth.
My daughter was a big help with dinner but kept dropping food on the floor all the while asking a million questions. Why’s Daddy not home? Why’s it dark out? Why why why….
By the time dinner was served, I was at my wits end.
Dinner was late getting on the table. It took a while to eat. Needless to say bath didn’t happen. It was straight to bed.
As I was cleaning up the floor, my son tried to climb on me and in doing so kept stepping in food. I kept removing him which led to more tears. My daughter was still asking me “why” about EVERYTHING.
I told them I need space. I told them to go play. I told them to GO AWAY.
I was losing it.
I felt awful and out of control. I wanted desperately for things to be different but there was nothing I could do.
After they were neatly tucked into bed, I sat downstairs with that dreaded sense that I had failed. That was not the evening I had wanted. That was not how I wanted to show up tonight. That was not my best self.
I could have done better. But I didn’t. I let things get to me.
Then I did something to pull me out of my funk. Something I hadn’t done since my miscarriage. Something that pulled me out of my post-miscarriage misery.
I sat down and for every breath I took, I said “I’m thankful and grateful for the sunny day today.” Breath. “I’m thankful and grateful we had such a great weekend.” Breath. “I’m thankful and grateful my kids had a great day at daycare.” I came up with 30 things that I was thankful and grateful for.
I felt a million times better. I felt grounded, happy, centred, calm. I felt like myself.
This would have been 2 minutes well spent in the middle of my dinner chaos. When I was rushing around, feeling out of control trying to get dinner going, I could have locked myself in the bathroom and did this. That 2 minutes, could have turned my evening around while my kids were still awake. That 2 minutes, could have meant the difference between by epic fail of an evening and having a great night with my kids.
Why did I feel I couldn’t take 2 minutes? Why did I persist down the path of destruction and unraveling? I felt I couldn’t spare a moment. I felt I had no time.
But those extra 2 minutes would have left me feeling calm, relaxed, and in control. Those extra 2 minutes probably would have saved me 10 minutes in diffusing whining, temper, and battles.
Next time things are going amok, I hope I remember this.
Next time, I hope I put me first for the sake of everyone else.