Deep down, ok, so not so deep down I am a small person. I am jealous, I hold onto grudges, I am hateful, I am judgemental. It is ugly and honest and true. Did you hurt me a decade and a half ago? Did you hurt someone I love? I remember. Are you successful? My first impulse is to feel sorry for myself before I can be glad for you. Did you lash out because you are hurting? I struggle to have compassion for you even though I do the same thing. I wonder why you can’t just be happy for others even if I can’t do it myself.
Imagine being married to me. Z knows I can recite a novel worth of anger and hurt at a moment’s notice. Fifteen years is a long time to hold on to shit, I truly want to just let it all go.
Yesterday was a rough one. T is acting out a lot at home, which is particularly frustrating because he was doing so well a few weeks ago. Then school started, and while we are grateful that he loves it so much the reality is it tires him so completely that he has trouble holding himself together on the homefront. Thursday morning Z was trying to spend a little time with him and T was being a dick. Z was exasperated, “I am leaving for four days! Please pull yourself together and be nice for a few minutes!” Didn’t happen.
Bedtime was a little late because we went to our friends’ for dinner. T and C were the only kids there which put a spotlight on their rude and destructive behavior in my mind. Social anxiety is a big problem for me. It isn’t fair to them at all, in fact it is shitty parenting, but when I am struggling with anxiety and they are being normal little kids it is humiliating to me. Yes, I’m working on it so that isn’t what they end up discussing in therapy 20 years from now. (It also isn’t fair to my friends. We were with our closest friends in Syracuse, the ones who we trust to watch our boys overnight. They invited us because they wanted us there. The anxiety is incredibly ungracious.)
Finally, finally I left T’s room just gone 8:30 pm. Two minutes later I was taking my nightly pills-vitamin, fish oil, allergy/asthma, birth control, crazy person and he opened his door. I was done. It wasn’t my finest moment, but I yelled at him. So he told me he was mad at me. I asked him if this was really how he wanted to leave it for the night, with us furious at each other. I was crying by that point. He said he did want to leave it that way, so I flounced out of that room shaking with anger.
Back in the bathroom I looked at myself in the mirror. Was this really what I was going to do? Let my anger at a four year old dictate my behavior? I knew I was small, but was I really that small? Was I going to let him go to sleep knowing I was royally pissed off at him? He had been a shit all day, but I hadn’t done that well in the behavior department. Why did I have the right to punish him with my chilly disappointment and anger? What the fuck was wrong with me?
When I opened his door his eyes were open. I crossed the room and stroked his hair off his face. “I am sorry I was so angry at you. I love you. I will always love you no matter what. And I should not have lost my cool.”
“I love you, too, Mommy.” I hugged him hard.
“I love you so much.”
“And Mommy? I’m also sorry you were so angry at me.”
Ok. Not the apology I was hoping for. But perhaps the one I deserved.
A babysitter will be here in four and a half hours. I’m not going to lie, I cannot fucking wait. The weekends when I have the boys on my own are awful for me not just because of their behavior, but because of how I handle them. It puts a spotlight on the fact that I am not the Mom I want to be. I want to breeze through 4 days with a smile on my face, I hate that I am resentful and need a break and count hours until bedtime.
Parenthood has made my personality flaws as obvious to me as they are to the rest of the world. I don’t much like what I see. It was a hard weekend. I’m still freaking out about the homework I haven’t done and the house which was clean when Z left, but is now a disaster and the fact that my parents will be here to visit our little shitshow tomorrow afternoon.
Yet parenting is the best thing that could have happened to me as a human being. It’s shown me what my weaknesses are. And it might be a tiny thing, but walking back into T’s room last night was huge for me. It was a step towards being a better person. I mean, I’ve got a marathon to go in the better person department, I wish that I didn’t have so far to go because the ones who will suffer are my boys, but I’ve gotta start somewhere.
This morning did not get off to a very good start.
For the last few days I’ve had the first cold since my exercising experiment began. Friday I felt like shit, but managed to do my two miles in a respectable amount of time without throwing up. Usually I go early morning, with Z gone I went after I dropped the boys at school. Was feeling worse on Saturday, so took the whole weekend off instead of just one day. My body needed the rest. Trying not to feel terribly guilty about it. I’m scared if I start skipping days that I’ll quit. I hate still jogging, but for some reason it has become hugely important for me to do this. I really don’t want to quit.