We’ve been here 3 weeks today. We’re in our second temporary apartment. We can’t get our things. We’re having trouble getting the money we were counting on for getting started. Our current living situation is less than ideal: there’s almost nowhere safe and comfortable to put Liam down, no good place to feed either child (Benjamin has been eating dinner standing up at the coffee table in the living room . . . which is also his bedroom), very little place for Benjamin to play and since it’s very small, it’s nearly impossible to keep from waking a sleeping child if the other one is up. I miss my family, I’m having trouble communicating, and I’m starting to feel the isolation of being here. So really, it’s not that surprising that it all is starting to get to be too much for me.
I did fine until about noon today. I can explain what got to me, but it probably won’t make any sense — it wasn’t anything awful, it wasn’t anything unmanageable — it was just one thing too many for that moment. Both boys were napping, and then Liam woke up and was very fussy and I spent about 45 minutes keeping him from waking B. Eventually, that failed due to a particularly loud bout of crying on Liam’s part (which was frustrating) and B woke up. So, I got Liam happy (enough) in his/our room and went to get B. Probably because he’d been woken up early from his nap, Benjamin was a mess — unhappy and crying and asking for a bottle. So, I told him I’d get one after I went to check on Liam (who was now screaming) and when I started to leave the room, B throws a fit. He starts shouting, “Mommy Mommy Mommy!” and stomping his feet (which is really very unlike him). And I just turned around and snapped at him (with frustration and irritation) “What?!?” And he cries harder. And then I start to cry (because I just snapped at my two year old and made him cry). Which made him cry more. (Meanwhile, Liam is still screaming.)
So, I go and hug B and tell him I’m sorry, but that I have to go get Liam (who is still screaming). And I get Liam and bring him into B’s room (the living room) and pick B up and sit down on the couch holding both boys. So now I’m crying, apologizing to B for snapping at him, and B is crying and Liam is screaming. Excellent. And I have a passing thought to call Dan, but I don’t know his extension at work (and I can’t imagine calling the UN switchboard while crying and holding two unhappy babies) and our internet wasn’t working, so I couldn’t even email him. And, just for a moment, I gave in. I just went ahead and cried and felt overwhelmed and put upon and not up to the task. And then what?
Well, then nothing. Nothing really bad happened — yes, I should avoid snapping at Benjamin, but I don’t think he’ll end up permanently scarred. In all honesty, my crying fit probably freaked him out worse than my snapping at him. And although it felt like it took about 10 minutes for this all to happen, it was probably closer to 2. I really just had to give them hugs and kisses, get up, change diapers, feed Liam, make lunch and move on. So, that’s what I did.
But I’ve still been slipping back into that place of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. I really wish I didn’t get like this, but I do sometimes. I fluctuate between wanting to give myself a break (given current circumstances) and being really frustrated at myself for snapping at my child . . . and then for freaking out and crying about it instead of being a grown up and taking care of my kids.
I wish I could keep the proper perspective when things get to be too much — the absolute best thing I can do is apologize if I need to and then put myself together and get on with things. I know that NOW, but in the moment, I just don’t. I’m hoping I’ve gotten the fragility out of my system for now. We sign the lease on our new place tomorrow, so there is hope on the horizon . . . but I think there’s still a lot between me and really feeling settled.