I should know better. I know how my mind works (kind of) and I’m really starting to be aware of my limitations. (I’d like to be aware of them in time to do something about it, but that’s still a work in progress.) The last two nights, combined, I’ve gotten less than 8 hours of sleep. Today, I was busy from the time I woke up this morning until just now, after I put Liam down to bed. I went straight from being with the kids all day to finishing up our taxes to dinner to bathtime to bedtime with hardly a moment to catch my breath (the overlaps in nap time lasted 14 minutes today — that was my total time to myself).
During bathtime, Liam was refusing to sit down, turning the water on again and again, splashing everything and everyone. He then launched himself at Benjamin, scratching his chest pretty badly, and I didn’t handle it gracefully. He was too much for me, in that moment. So, I took him out, dried him off, announced to Dan that Liam was “being a monster” and told Benjamin I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue to give them baths any more since they wouldn’t listen (which was altogether unfair, because although Benjamin was laughing at and encouraging Liam right up until the scratching, he really was being pretty well behaved). That made him cry.
Liam then proceeded to pee on the floor (come on, like you didn’t see THAT coming), which was followed by me snapping at Dan for putting the “wrong shirt” on Liam, repeating that Liam was a monster and growling at Dan for something else before realizing I truly did not have a handle on myself. I excused myself for a few minutes, got myself together enough to read a few stories, say a pleasant “good night” to Benjamin, apologize for acting horribly, and put Liam down to sleep.
Yes, I know it could have been much worse. But I hate it when normal mom stuff gets to me. It’s one thing when I’ve had an extraordinarily difficult day — if the kids are sick, I’m sick, we’re jet lagged, or something out of the ordinary and stressful is happening, I can give myself a break — but today was just a normal day. Actually, it was a really pleasant day (until about 8:30 this evening).
I’m upset with myself for making it “all about me” in that moment, for focusing on the fact that *I* was overwhelmed, tired and grouchy. It really isn’t all about me, and I hate knowing that I upset, worried, and maybe even scared my kids out of selfishly indulging myself in a moment of “Oh, yeah, well Mommy is having a hard day, too!” I hope they can understand that these moments happen because of a deficiency in ME, not because of anything they’ve done (but that isn’t how it works, and they’ll almost certainly take it very personally).
I’ve been through this before. I know I can’t go for 16 hours without taking a few minutes for myself (even if I don’t have any time *by* myself, I can turn on some TV for the kids, have a cup of coffee, stare at the walls and pretend I don’t hear anything that doesn’t sound emergency room worthy for 15 minutes). Why can’t I remember that BEFORE I fall apart?
I got a ton of stuff done today. Well, whoop-dee-doo, since the overall consequence is that I fell apart as a mom this evening. Ugh. Seriously, I have to get better at this.