On Motherhood: Mornings like this

It’s been one of those mornings.

The ones where I muster all my strength to stop myself from screaming at my kids.

The baby mashes his face against my breast, desperate to nurse, but then won’t stay latched for more than 15 seconds.

The toddler disagrees loudly with any and every suggestion.  No, not those shoes!  No, not wear this shirt! Evelyn want to brush hair!  No brush hair!

It’s been one of those mornings.

I can’t wait to get away from my kids on mornings like this.  It’s true.  I said it.  I love them dearly, but on mornings like this, I need space.  I lose my perspective.  I lose my patience.  I lose myself.  All I can think about is getting away from the fussing, screaming, whining — the helplessness pawing for my attention.

On mornings like this I find myself endlessly saying “I hear you. You sound frustrated.  It must be hard not to have control.”  I say it and say it and say it.  Maybe more for myself than for them.  I say it while continuing to move as quickly as I can to get them dressed and out the door.  I say it through the rebellion, through the opposition, through the cries.  I just have to keep moving and keep saying it.  I can do this.  I say it over and over so that I don’t end up yelling “SHUT UP!”  It is my mantra on mornings like this.

I’m not sorry, though.  I’m not sorry that I get frustrated with my kids.  I’m not sorry that I don’t want to be around them all the time.  I need to stop apologizing for wanting to remain an individual.  I need to stop feeling bad for having an authentic relationship with my kids — one that includes exasperation.  I want to be honest with them.  I want them to know that even if I get mad or seem frustrated or ask them for some space that I still love them.  More importantly, I want them to know that when they are mad at me, frustrated with me, need space from me — that I still love them.  

I have said before that I am not a perfect mother.  Frankly, I’m not aiming for perfection.  I am aiming for authenticity.  I am hoping for honesty.  True, sometimes the best I can do is stop myself from yelling.  Sometimes the best I can do is repeat Janet Lansbury phrases until I’m blue in the face.  Sometimes the best I can do is get them where they need to go as fast as I can.

Should I try harder to be calm?  Maybe.

Should I show more compassion?  Probably.

Should I expect more from myself?  No.

Not on mornings like this.

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