I used to be on time for everything. No, that’s not true. I was early for everything. Sometimes I would drive around the block a time or two or sit in my car outside the place I was going so that I wouldn’t be too early. Being late stressed me out, big time.
Well, one thing hasn’t changed. Being late still stresses me out. Unfortunately, it seems to be becoming a normal way of life. Just this past week I was:
- Late dropping Samuel off at preschool.
- Late getting Annelise down for a nap which meant we had to miss Eli’s kite flying day at school because she was still sleeping.
- Late picking Eli up from school.
And then of course there was Sunday. I don’t remember the last time we were on time for church. This week was no exception. Eric had to usher for all three services and we were all awake fairly early, so I decided the kids and I would go to the first service. By the time Eric left and I showered, I knew we would be really late, so I told the kids we’d go to the second service instead (and I didn’t want any fighting when it was time to leave!). I was confident we wouldn’t just be on time; we’d be early.
I got a few things done and with plenty of time to make it before church started, I yelled up to Samuel, who was playing in the bonus room, that it was time to go. Que the fighting. He wasn’t ready to come downstairs. Then, when he finally did come down and went to the bathroom, I discovered that he needed a change of clothes. At this point my blood was already reaching its boiling point. Add to that Eli, who also wasn’t interested in listening to me when I told him to go to the bathroom (“But Mom, I just went!” an hour ago) and furthermore wanted to talk about the meaning of the phrase ‘I’m sorry’. Right then. In private.
I’m sure you can see where this is going. My blood boiled over and I turned into mean, hateful Mommy who didn’t care about her children’s feelings and yelled things like, “We were going to be on time for once and now we’re going to be late again because you never listen!!” Yes, I said that. Yes, I feel bad about it. Yes, I know the importance of not using words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ and not bringing up past mistakes. I know that, but mean, hateful Mommy doesn’t know that (and she never listens, so don’t even bother trying to tell her).
Unfortunately, that moment kind of set the tone for the rest of the day. Not for the kids necessarily, but definitely for me. I tried to be patient and understanding and cognizant of the fact that the kids are small and learning and imperfect, (Hmm, much like me, except the small part), but once mean, hateful Mommy comes out, she takes a while to completely retreat. She lurks in the shadows ready to pounce at the first sign of trouble.
So most of my day was spent in this weird suspended area of fighting for control and willfully giving myself over to mean, hateful Mommy. By the end of the day I was tired, discouraged, and ready for a good cry. I was also ready for a good vacation. All alone. A vakidtion. Some people might think it’s awful that I want time away from my kids, but I know a secret. Sometimes in order to get mean, hateful Mommy to disappear for a good long time, I need to disappear for a good short time. So, who wants to take my kids for the day? I might be mean, hateful Mommy when I drop them off, but I promise to be kind, loving Mommy when I pick them up.
And now the part of the post where I share pictures of our real, everyday life.
While Eli described how he accidentally nailed himself in the face with a trash can lid, resulting in a scratched cheek (true story), I recalled that if he had been a girl, we were going to name him Grace. Oh sweet irony!