Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More On Mother's Day: Going Nuts

The night before Mother's Day I had a visit with my sister during which I expressed the tumult I have been feeling lately regarding parenting two little kids.

I feel angry much of the time. I can go from feeling perfectly fine to angry at the slightest provocation from my children these days. I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sometimes: out of control and volatile. Perhaps it's not as bad as I describe, but that's how it feels. I'm constantly battling to stay calm and not scream back at Jenny when she screams at me.

So it was in the frame of mind of defeat, frustration, and exhaustion that my husband came home late with a bunch of flowers in his hand. Fortunately my first response was one of pleasure and gratitude. It was nice to see my sweet man at the end of a long evening.

Unfortunately that response was almost immediately eclipsed by feeling an unwarranted amount of hopelessness because I didn't know where a vase was. (Keep in mind that 3/4 of my entire life is in boxes right now and consequently stress levels are high.) I almost started crying because I didn't know what to do with the flowers.

Brent, calm and reasonable, found the box I had clearly marked "FRAGILE: Glass Vases" and brought me a selection.

Then I started snipping the ends and arranging them. I almost started crying again because I was tired and it was late and I just wanted to go to bed and mope about what a bad mother I was rather than arrange my own flowers. I was feeling grumpy and muttering things like "because he couldn't possibly be bothered to spend the extra money on an arranged bouquet, could he?" and other irrational and mean things. I ended up just dumping them in the vase and not worrying about the shape of the arrangement.

Brent played it smart. I suppose the occasional tears that would leak out in the midst of talking about a neutral subject tipped him off. I went to bed. He rubbed my back. He told me I was a great mommy. Of course I didn't agree with him, but it was good to hear. I need that reinforcement sometimes. It helps me get through the crazies that occasionally possess me.

Oh, I just pray my children will forgive me someday and that I won't scar them for life.


Susan said...

I will write them a letter about how YOU forgave ME and so they must try and take the high road and forgive YOU. (Because, sure as shootin', someday THEIR kids will need to forgive THEM, and so on down through the end of the line at the end of time. We're all victims of victims.)

Jenn said...

Yes, I often find myself muttering to Logan, "Be kind to me in therapy!"

I can't imagine a better mother than you. Hang in there and trust someday very soon you won't be living in boxes. Nothing can be more aggravating.

JaeReg said...

So, that's what I would declare the reality of the second child - anger at the first child. This is my experience anyway.

Baby engenders no anger in me. Cry all you want little one. I may feel exhausted and sorry for myself. I may cry the tears of pain in my arms and back from so much effort at soothing your infant troubles, but no anger.

Anger is reserved in terrible and quick quantities for the child (or children) that have moved from the breast to becoming little people who say "No", who whine, who scream in toddler tantrum.

My fury requires ample forgiveness, which my kids offer easily. Which seems only to make me feel more guilty.

Susie is right, "We're all victims of victims." And just as we can only adequately understand and give thanks to our own mothers by becoming mothers ourselves, so too must our children forgive our mistakes as we forgive our parents.

Someone once told me in response to my explaining what kind of mother I really am, that all my guilt and concern and tears were really a sign that I care about what kind of mother I am. And that is the best sign that things are really going ok. Perhaps...