After reading two fellow moms' accounts of having particularly challenging days with their kids, I feel compelled to share my own. Yesterday was a rough day. I don't know exactly why... it probably has something to do with being stuck inside for days on end due to our lovely Ohio winter weather - I think we are all getting a little cabin fever-y. Emmett (15 months) has been particularly fussy for the past couple of days, and I don't know what is bugging him and he doesn't know how to tell me yet. Usually I'm pretty good at figuring it out but sometimes I get stumped. Is he teething? Hungry for something specific that I haven't thought of? Is his dry skin itching him? Does he want picked up? (nope). Does he want put down? (nope). When I can't figure it out, he does this whine/cry/shriek thing that just digs into my brain.
And Max (almost 5), well, he's like a Labrador forced to live in a tiny apartment in a big city. He needs to go outside and RUN! But we haven't been able to play outside much in the past week, so his energy overwhelmed both him and I, and he was bouncing off the walls, climbing on me, begging me to play Wii, and incessantly screeching for no particular reason. (I call him my "recreational" screamer.)
On top of all that, I was trying to straighten up the house because we had family coming over that evening, and then I got an important phone call from my Usborne supervisor about a book fair we are doing next week. The kids were going nuts the whole time I was on the phone. It's like they have a sixth sense about which calls I most want to be uninterrupted for... and they go berserk. In hindsight, what I should have done was excused myself and called her back after dealing with them and finding something to keep them occupied. I finally ended up going outside and standing in the snow so I could get 5 minutes' peace to finish my conversation. When I came back inside I was seething. I tried to explain to Max that he needs to listen to me when I tell him not to interrupt. I intended to do this calmly, but instead found myself yelling. My default reaction to anger and frustration is to cry, so that's what I did next.
And then a funny thing happened. Both kids calmed down, came over and cuddled close to me, to comfort me. I am amazed that Emmett, my little baby, already has this sense of empathy in him. He kept hugging me, and pulling back to look at my face, and then hugging me again. We all stayed that way for a while, until the tension was diffused.
I felt awful for losing my patience with them and for getting so angry. Every now and then, these days just happen. I know that. But I am still disappointed in myself when I have one of them. I try to remind myself that - today is over, and it's behind me. Hopefully I learned something from it, so that tomorrow I can do better.