He who created patience, accidentally forgot to give me any.
I wake up every morning with the good intentions to love effortlessly and to act gracefully in my encounters with The Wildlings, but by bedtime, I find myself herding feral cats into their
cages beds, and begging for them to have some mercy on me. How often do I say ‘hurry up’ and ‘if I have to tell you one more time.. ‘ in the desperate race to After Bedtime where I might find some sense of peace.
(Peace seems to be something you give up in trade for kid dimples, and little kid laughter. Also on the list of trade-ins are Sanity, ever being ahead on the laundry, space for your shampoo in the shower, and eating or drinking anything before it is room temperature).
I once read a blog about a mom who was keeping count of how many days it had been since she last yelled at her children. I am sure if that were me, I’d have a continual “It has been ZERO days since this mother last yelled” poster up. It’s just not in me to keep my volume control below deafening. However, it’s one thing to be loud, and quite another to constantly feel frustrated and angry at the situation.
So how am I dealing with The Wildlings and their innate ability to push me over the edge?
Self care, and humor, and on bad nights, lots of wine.
Some days I pat myself on the back for a job well done and some days I send myself to time out for sucking the joy out of the evening, but I’m not giving up. Here are a few things I have found that work to keep me tethered to the reality that ‘this too shall pass’.
Self care: I try to get my house work done in the morning so that during nap time I can pretend that I am actually alone ad no Little Wildling is sweetly sleeping upstairs. Some days I eat lunch while sitting on the couch reading a book, some days I tackle a project that might give me a sense of accomplishment, and other days I do nothing. But I decide what I do during nap time.
Communication: I clearly communicate to my husband that I need a break. (Sure, sometimes it is done while yelling, or perhaps crouched in a corner with a spatula pointed at The Children to ‘Keep Away’ but the need is communicated nonetheless.)
Hobbies: For a while after each of my children were born I forgot that I was also a person who deserved not only time (see: Self Care) but also satisfaction in time. My choice of hobby is something that I can do in spurts and mostly solo so that I don’t feel obligated to anyone else. Things like needlepoint and blogging are two solo activities, and a book club filled with other moms (so they get it) is another.
Center: My center is becoming my Temple, but it’s hard to get me through the door. I feel guilty for not being more involved, not attending more regularly, not being more learned, but I always feel better when I leave. I know, religion isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. Find what centers you, be it yoga, Church, shopping, whatever- just put it on your calendar, Communicate your Self Care need and go. Consider it a self-date and don’t be a jerk and stand yourself up.
Humor: On days when these other things fail me, you can probably find me behind the pantry door, out of sight of my kids and flipping them off. Or, just as likely, silently mimicking their ridiculous fights while mock jousting with Joe.
When trying to be practical about things doesn’t lead to the result you want, sometimes absurd humor will.
It’s a work in progress, believe me, but I’m trying, and if that’s what I tell my kids I want from them, then I should accept that from myself, right?