Parenting may kill me. Not literally (although my son’s around-the-neck hugs have gotten pretty tight). But there are moments that I can’t keep it up. The patience. The love. The joy. I just want E to listen. I just want N to sleep.
I believe there are moms out there who are born for this. They levitate from child to child with hugs and cuddles. Never letting them cry. Never missing an opportunity to teach them and support them. (I know never is a strong word, but when I read certain blogs and have well-intentioned conversations, well, I hope that they are filtering A LOT.) Because many days I’m tired by the afternoon. Tired of redirecting. Of keeping up the cheerful attitude of mama-ing. YAY IT’S LUNCH! YAY YOU POOPED! YAY YOU LISTENED!
There is this tightness that keeps me from screaming and running while the straight-jacket patrol chases me through the kitchen. A monotone mama going through the motions in order to keep my death grip on the conviction that parenting doesn’t involve anger.
I don’t want to be a yeller or a spanker or a slapper. And I am not, by the grace of God. But I catch myself wagging my finger and my voice fills my ears. And at these moments, I have to walk away. Because he can’t listen. Because he is shouting. Because I need to breathe without the smell of my children in my nose. Because if I don’t walk away, I will be the mom that I am capable of and she’s not pretty. I meet her downstairs. I meet her laying in the dark. I meet her at 3 a.m.. I ask her to leave me alone. I know those ideas won’t work. I know that I won’t feel better after screaming. I’ll feel worse. But it’s so tempting to let all those feelings OUT.
Yet I don’t. I breathe. I write. I pray. I wait until my ears stop hurting and my arms relax. Even if that means my son screams in his room for five minutes, I wait for the other mom to leave before I begin parenting again.