Wednesday, January 13, 2010

like a boot in the face.

The craziest thing about being a parent is that every emotion you are capable of having gets turned up several notches. Since I've become a mother, everything I feel is felt more strongly. Maybe it's a hormonal shift from pregnancy, maybe it's having little beings in the world that you love so much you ache. But I've noticed that when I get annoyed, I want to pull out my hair. When I feel compassionate, I weep. When I get mad, I want to kick down a door. When I love, I feel it with every molecule that I have. I laugh until my stomach hurts. And these emotions can turn on a dime.

I guess this emotional overdrive happens because life with kids is so full of love: hugs, kisses and laughter, and also so full of things that make you exhausted: whining, crying, misbehaving, repeating the same questions, spilling things, needing to be wiped.

I find it difficult to be the patient, calm, consistent mother that I want to be. I feel like one minute I'm so frustrated I want to throw something because Reed won't stay in time out, or because Skyler ran away and hid again when I got out the hairbrush, and the next minute we are all in a pile tickling each other and laughing our heads off.

But worst of all, we are almost always in a hurry, and I feel like I am always having to use this frantic tone of voice that annoys even me. Getting from place to place with kids in the winter is an exercise in frustration (understatement). Everyone needs snow pants, mittens, socks, boots, a hat, but no one wants to wear them. Plus there are backpacks to pack with a lunch or show-and-tell. And if you are Skyler, you also have to bring a stuffed animal, a blanket to wrap it in, a toy for it to play with, and some plastic food for it to eat.

I am constantly saying: hurry up! hurry up! hurry up! I allow for plenty of time, I get up at 4:45 so I won't feel rushed and can get everything organized, but there is always the last crisis. Like someone's boots aren't by the door, or like yesterday, when we were all just about out the door, and Reed said: "I'll be right back" and ran upstairs. He came down having changed out of his pants and put on his bathing suit (5 degrees outside).

Yesterday, it was my turn to take Skyler to swimming lessons, and we got doing something at home and had to, of course, rush to get there. In the locker room, I was saying "hurry up! hurry up!" In response, she kicked up her legs to fling off her boots, and one of them hit me square in the face. My eyes filled with tears because it hurt, and because it was my fault, and because I was so annoyed with myself and the situation. It didn't help that I had an audience of other moms who didn't seem to be in a hurry at all.

I watched Skyler's swimming lesson and pulled myself together. Ten minutes later, I saw her from the back when she was standing on the other side of the pool, dancing confidently while waiting for her turn to dive in. Again, my eyes filled up with tears because of how tall and grown up she looked, and how she is so unbelievably, undeniably not a baby anymore, and it catches me off guard sometimes. And I teared up with pride at what a darn good little swimmer she is.

Like I said, one minute, crying from frustration, the next, pure love.

And then this: I like to joke about the annoying things that kids do, like tell incessant knock-knock jokes or say: "Mom! MOM! Mommy? Mom? Mommy. Mommy!!!!!!"
Last night I followed a link on a blog I read, and I ended up reading some of an Arizona mom's on-line journal about her 5-year old daughter's battle with aggressive brain cancer. She said she used to be the mom who was always complaining about how her kids said her name over and over and over. Now she was lying on her daughter's bed in the hospital begging her to say "mommy" because they feared she's lost her speech as an effect of brain surgery.

Hello, perspective.

Maybe Skyler's boot in my face was not an accident. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to slow down and be more conscious of how lucky I am.


Donna said...

Oh gosh, what an eye opening post. You are so right. I am the 'Hurry up' Mummy at the moment and I fear when Luke goes to school in a few weeks, and he has to go every day, that I will be even worse!

Perspective. I think I just got some!!

P.S My other blog was randomly shut down by Google. No idea why and they wont re open it so I have started a new one. Address below.

So nice to 'chat' to you again, Emilie :)


Christine said...

My sentiments exactly, Emilie! I had a conversation with my mom today about this exact same phenomena. Being a parent is an enormous responsibility and it's so much more difficult when you do it well. You're doing it well, my friend. Boot to the head or not ~ you're doing it well!

Carver Fam said...

i needed this blog post. Thank you.

It sums up so much of my everyday life and emotions.

Joanne said...

You have a wonderful Blog! You may remember me from teaching Chemistry at BHS. I left after 2005 when our son came home that summer - Jose is now 5 years old! I then moved with my husband to South central PA with his work. I enjoy reading your children's comments and this "boot to the face" was one that I have experienced in a different way. I too had a hurry voice that I did not recognize as myself - and I only have one child! All the best to you! - Joanne Miller

Michelle said...

Aghhhhh! Hurry here! Hurry there! That seems to be my life. Every moment of every day. Till bedtime when I'm holding and cuddling and I get teary eyed and plead with God to make this time go by a bit more slowly.

thanks for that post! I needed that!