Wednesday, October 25, 2006

So low

The Great Blog Love-In Tour - Fall '06 - is going along swimmingly, thanks to all who have participated so far, and I can feel the warm blush of infatuation starting to spread over blogland. I'm thinking of selling tie-dyed t-shirts and hemp bracelets to commemorate this occasion. Nitrous balloons? No?

(man, I miss those Grateful Dead shows).

I need to get around to writing my own ode to blog amore but, unfortunately, there's not much love in Chickyville today.

This kid is beatin' my ass into the ground.

These days I gauge our "good" days by how many tantrums Chicky Baby has had by the time Mr. Chicky comes home from work. More than four and I'm asking my husband to pour me a glass of wine as soon as he walks in the door. More than five and I mutely hand him a full bottle and bang on the counter with my wine glass until he obliges my need for sweet oblivion. On the positive side, less than four and the day gets a "not bad" rating. Less than three qualifies as "good". Less than two and I'm doing a freakin' happy dance. Less than one... Well, that doesn't happen. The timing of said tantrums also determines which category the day will fall into. A tantrum before breakfast will leave a bad taste in my mouth for a good portion of the day.

Today I barely had Chicky out of bed when it started, so that should give you an idea of how I'm feeling right now. I'm thinking cocktails at noon followed by margaritas at 5pm and finishing with a nice vin santo this evening. Screw it. Where the hell is the tequila?

This is one of those days that I feel completely unprepared to be a mother. Unprepared, unqualified, and un-der a lot of stress. It wasn't bad enough that she had a mini tantrum on the changing table first thing this morning because I dared take a cold, wet wipe to her precious bottom, but then Chicky went on to have a meltdown in her high chair at breakfast. Perhaps I didn't cut up her banana pieces to her liking. Maybe I didn't toast her whole wheat waffle to just the right level of crispness. I have no idea and she can't tell me since she refuses to use any other words besides "up", "hello", and of course the ever present "Cah Cah" because she has a need for carbs every second of the damn day. I finally took her out of her chair and handed her the waffle which she happily toddled off with. So much for that rule of "All food must be eaten at the table". Sigh.

Adding insult to injury the men we have hired to drain money from our bank account showed up at 8am and the dogs went bat shit at the sight of strangers in their backyard. Even though the same men were just here yesterday, every day is a new day and a new opportunity to strike fear in the hearts of unsuspecting workers. Yes, my dogs bark. Doctor, heal thyself. Dog trainer, train your damn dogs. Blah blah blahdee blah.

So, the dogs are barking and one of them has a bark that can be heard in three counties. Chicky threw her doll in the trash (the very same trash I just put the uneaten banana pieces into) and began throwing refrigerator magnets in my direction because I didn't remove her doll quickly enough. I felt my blood pressure rising like the mercury on a cartoon thermometer, going higher and higher until it finally pops my head off with it's force. After giving up on the magnet throwing Chicky began climbing into the dirty dishwasher after repeated attempts to dissuade her, the dogs were barking so loudly I was afraid someone was going to call the cops to report rabid animals on the loose, and I hadn't had one drop of coffee yet.

I snapped.

I forcefully grabbed Chicky out of the dishwasher and slammed it so hard I thought for sure all the glasses would shatter. I pulled the two dogs through the back door into the kitchen and before I knew it I had one by the scruff and the other in an intimidated down/stay, telling them both in a less than quiet tone that if they barked one more time I'd pull a Cruella Da Ville on them, only I wasn't quite as G-rated with my choice of words. I shot a look at my daughter and saw her clutching her sippy cup and half-eaten waffle with a look of sheer terror on her face. One look at her face and I don't think I've ever felt so ashamed.

Bad Mommy. Bad, bad, bad.

I'm not cut out for this shit.

Who the hell convinced me that I could handle this mothering gig? Someone must have thought it was a good idea at some point but I don't remember who that someone was. Couldn't have been me. No. I know I have a temper and though I have more patience than I used to that temper has a tendency to rear it's ugly head when I'm pushed to my limit. What the hell am I teaching my kid when I can't even control my own rage?

Before you call DSS on me let me reassure you that I'm very good at walking away when I feel pushed to that limit. When I feel that anger start to bubble I step out of the room and try to tune out the screaming. But it's hard when your kid is running after the cat with a hair brush and the dogs are climbing the walls because they haven't been properly exercised in days (weeks? months?) and your husband is working long hours and your boss is an ass but you keep working because you feel the need to contribute and keep a small portion of your identity....

Okay, I've got to stop here. It's just making it worse. Chicky Baby is now napping and I'm calling for a 'do over'. I'm going to wipe this morning out of my mind like scribbles on an Etch-A-Sketch.

Who am I kidding? Of course I'm not going to be able to completely wipe this from my memory. It's going to stick with me for a long time. The day that I lost my temper and scared my kid, a day that will go down in infamy. There aren't enough apologies and hugs in the world to erase that one. Thankfully she's too young to remember this day, the day her mother turned into a shrieking, bug-eyed banshee, but I'll remember. I'll always remember and it sucks.

The only thing that makes it worse is the knowledge that this probably won't be the last time.

48 comments:

Mama G said...

It may not make you feel any better, but you're certainly not the first mom to lose it like this. We've all done it and those that say they never have lost it are only buying time until they do. It's natural. It's normal. We all feel guilty. Your mom did it. My mom did it. We turned out relatively okay. At least okay enough for someone to want to marry us and have kids with us, no?

My solution certainly isn't popular with many moms I know, but it has worked brilliantly for me and my family. My son's tantrums are gone, my blood pressure is back to normal and I'm no longer on the brink of alcoholism. My solution? I went back to work part time. I'm certainly not suggesting this for you or anyone else, I'm just sharing my experience as it relates to this topic.

Whatever works for you, great - but in the meantime, just know that you are SO no alone and you are an amazing mother!

Pattie said...

I second Mama g...you are not alone in this. Believe me. I have three of them, and nothing drives me to the brink of insanity faster than my kids. I considered myself a fairly patient person before I had them...now? Some days I am a raving lunatic. Crazy. Just crazy.

I know you feel bad. But, it is normal. All of us have our breaking points. All of us. You are aware of your limitations, and know when to walk away. That is key. Cut yourself some slack. I think you are a cool mom.

Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said...

Tantrums were the hardest next to this not-sleeping-shit. My method of dealing with it was similar to yours, distance and do-overs. And then KAATN would get home, we'd swap child for gunbelt at the police car and then I'd leave. Seriously. I'd leave the house. And spend money. A shitload of money. On books, on mascara, on a CD ... it made me feel better (before I felt guilty.) Sigh.

But in all sincerity, you're doing OK until you break out the wire hangers, I swear :-)

But motherhood is trying at times and that's how you know you're doing OK: when you realize it's tough and everyone is alive at the end of the day ;-)

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

You will forget this day. When another, more scary day takes its place in the crevices of your mind.

I adore your for admitting this. You wrote what is in my head. You are my hero.

Jonathon said...

I think we've all lost our temper at one point or another. It totally sucks.

But the "I've got no reason for this but I'm still throwing an obnoxious whiney tantrum" stage is overwhelming sometimes.

beth said...

You know what, it won't be the last time and that's ok. We all lose it sometimes. Just this morning I got so pissed at Sam and the cat wouldn't stop eating the plastic shopping bag so I decided to take my anger out on the cat and go smack her (yes, I know - shouldn't hit the cat either), only to have her run out of my reach so that I whacked my hand against a can inside the bag and almost broke my finger. It happens. Just take your moment and move on.

Avalon said...

Really, truly, it's not the worst thing in the world for the kiddees to see us lose it every once in a while. They've got to grow up knowing that we are human too. And, in the years between 10-21, she will torture you so much you'll wonder why you didn't give her away to the window-washers when you had the chance. (wink)

metro mama said...

It happens to the best of us. As long as you know when you're about to reach the boiling point, you'll manage.

By the way, there are many days I require a good stiff drink by the time my girl goes to bed.

CPA Mom said...

Good Lord, you just wrote about my weekend. Spooky.

Relax, have a drink of those ab-fab ChickyChickyBaby margaritas, and move on. It happens to all of us. That won't make you feel any better I know but we are in the same boat.

You are a great mom - some woman wouldn't know to walk away. You did. Many kudos for you!

meno said...

You are not alone. Yours is too young for this now, but when she is older, you can look at these incidents as a great opportunity to model a sincere apology.
It's okay to make mistakes, it's what we do about it after that matters more.
Plus, there are few things more annoying than a child throwing a full on fit over the color of her sippy cup, or something of equal insignificance.
Courage, and wine.

Blog Antagonist said...

It's okay. Really and truly. You're human. Chicky baby knows you still love her. And she learned a valuable lesson. Mommies get mad too. Mommies get sad too. Mommies sometimes get mad at the world too.

I've been there, everybody has been there. Hug Chicky, tell her you're sorry, and everything will be alright. I promise.

bubandpie said...

My mom is wonderful, and we have always had a very close relationship, but I know she'll always be haunted by the day when I was maybe three years old and she spanked me so hard that I cried hysterically until I threw up.

I remember nothing of this incident, of course. I remember trying to keep a tantrum going well past the point of honest upset, in the hopes of getting my own way. I remember being contemptuous of my mother's spankings, which didn't hurt as much as my dad's. If there was any permanent trauma, let's just say I'm not aware of it. But I do find the incident comforting, these days, when I'm so often confronted with my own shortcomings as a parent.

candy said...

Boy have we all been there before. Trust me when I say when Chicky wakes up from her nap the incident will have vanished from her mind forever. Have a drink for me tonight. I have two kids and my hubby is working late tonight so I probably won't get one. hehehe Hope your do-over helps!!!

EC said...

I'm with everyone on this one. At some point in time we all lose it and yell, or slam something, or forcibly grab the child to get him/her to stop what they are doing. It happens. There is nothing you can do but say, OK, I made a mistake, and I won't do it again. You may, and that is okay too. Sometimes, especially after a while of it building up, you are going to have rage that may scare the child. As long as it is few and far between and no abuse comes of it, it is okay. I can speak from experience, I've been there, and probably 99% of all mothers have been there. Just let it go, and realize that all moms make mistakes or show rage at times, and as long as you know to walk away and give yourself a "time-out" then it's all good!

Don't feel that you are not a good mother. We see so many made for tv movies, and other shows that make moms look patient and understanding at all times... it just isn't real life and I think any mom would say they have lost it at some point.

kittenpie said...

HOney, we've all had one of these. We're humans, we have limits. And yeah, that look and the guilt are part of it because we know we'd ideally like to NOT lose it, but it also lets everyone (you, Chicky, dogs, husband) know you won't take it all lying down. I honestly think those times can be productive in letting you know stuff ahs got to change and forcing you to find a way. The guilt certainly helps on that score!

T. said...

Everybody else has said it so eloquently before me. I really wouldn't worry about it too much Mrs. Chicky.

After all, this is just the beginning of all the therapy fodder you are providing Chicky Baby with.

It's what mothers are for.

Crunchy Carpets said...

Yep..happens even to the best of us.

We all have those moments.

Hubby did it yesterday...even scared the dog who won't go near him now.....and it was just one of those things..he was in a bad place and pushed to the limit and shit happens....

He is still in a shitty mood about it....

Deep breath and carry on.
Onward and upward.

carrie said...

Oh Chicky, we all have had days like this...I promise!

Do you have a Dinner's Ready in your area, or something similar? They have several premade and tasty dishes that go well with a nice glass of Chianti. Seriously.

Carrie

K said...

Just remember - even though you remember, she won't.

I remind myself of that all the time although it doesn't seem to help...

jen said...

oh, honey. ouch, huh? the worst is how we beat ourselves up for reacting COMPLETELY NORMALLY to being overwhelmed and exhausted.

you are an excellent mother. i applaud you for bravely sharing this - because we have all been there, and we all will be again. i never got the excerpt in the manual that said that we sre to become whole other pristine and perfect beings the minute we birth. in fact, we never got the damn manual.

i heart chicky today. i'd bring you the cocktails if i could.

ECR said...

I used to have no patience. Now I have a little, which is as much of an improvement as I can rightfully claim at this point. I still freak out a lot even though my daughter is pretty darn complacent most of the time. It's something I'm working on, which is all I can do. It's all any of us can do, right?

Her Bad Mother said...

I'm waiting for that day. I know that it's going to come. So although I haven't been there yet - I feel you.

Big hug.

julia said...

I've been going thru the same thing over here. This motherhood gig is tough sometimes. Try not to beat yourself up over it - not easy, I know.

SUEB0B said...

Aw jeez. Losing it to the point of slamming the dishwasher? That is pretty dang controlled in my book. I slam things and I LIVE BY MYSELF LOL.

Lena said...

I so feel your pain. Your storytelling techniques are, as usual, too good. My blood pressure is up! This too shall pass! ;)

scribbit said...

You've got my sympathy--it can be so frustrating and I'm always on my kids about their self-control that I feel like the biggest hypocrite in the world when I lose it or don't control my own feelings. If it's consolation, I bet you're getting better at the control thing as you go, motherhood is a refining thing that makes you better . . . eventually. :) Hang in there.

margalit said...

I promise you, you will not always remember this. There have been HUNDREDS of days like this in my 14 years of parenting, and there is no way I can remember most of them. It isn't from lack of guilt, because I know, especially when I was starting down the road towards menopause that I screamed and yelled and lost it WAY more than I should have. But I honestly can't remember a single incident when they were small, and they can't either.

Everyone loses it. We'd all be in Danvers State if we didn't. You need to release that anger and if screaming for a minute, or grabbing the freaking barking dogs by the scruff of their neck is going to happen, so what? Nobody is really June Cleaver. Nobody.

Chicky will be fine. All of our kids will be fine. Mine are teenagers and they still crawl into bed for a snuggle or sit on my lap when we watch TV. And I lost it with them countless times over the years, but they still love me. She will too!

Mrs. Chicken said...

I don't have any words of wisdom, but this happens to the best of us. Chicky won't remember, and it wasn't all that bad. You did not lay hands on her. You were upset and Blog Antagonist is right - mommies get mad sometimes.

Hugs to you, friend. This too shall pass.

Kristen said...

Thank you for posting this. I have been feeling this EXACT way for the past few weeks since we got the puppy and Leah started with HER tantrums. I've begun to think I bit off more than I could chew getting a puppy and having a toddler all at the same time. I've lost it with the dog and screamed at her- I've yelled at Leah. And you're right - it feels like crap- and I'm glad I'm not the only one who that's happened to. It really makes me feel like I'm not a bad mom, just a normal mom who had a bad day (or few weeks, lol).

Ericka said...

am i the only one who thinks that it's probably best if the dogs and the kids view you with just the slightest edge of fear? well, anywho...

no one got hurt, everything is okay, and it'll all be fine. really.

people think i'm nuts, but when i think i'm going to snap, i break china. i actually buy china at yard sales and goodwill and have a box ready to go. then i take it outside to the brick wall and let fly. something about the sound just makes it all okay. but i do really miss my parents' basement walls. don't throw anything important, and don't throw it at anyone but maybe try it out. you'd be amazed at how much better you feel. (position a box for shards under your target - makes clean up easier.)

nomotherearth said...

I've had many Mommy Tantrums. Many. I think you're doing an excellent job just by knowing when to walk away.

If you have some vin santo, I can bring over the biscotti for dipping. Whaddya say??

J said...

Show me a Mom who hasn't had a day like that, you could probably fill a Smart Car LOL. These days must have been the invisible ones in the parent handbook. But hey they happen right, my 3 girls have led me to many a breakdown and they still love me. It will be ok.

Waya said...

I knew there is a reason why I love this blogging thing so much! There are other moms out there JUST LIKE ME!

We might not look the same, have the same child rearing method, but my friend...we are all mothers deep down. So before you go all judgmental on yourself, just think of all the other moms out there doing this day in and day out feeling the same guilt for doing what you just bravely described.

Hang in there and just know that you are loved!!

Lawyer Mama said...

I have been there too! I think all moms have. If there's a mom out there who hasn't lost it at some point, I haven't met her.

Try to give yourself a break. You're human and Chicky Baby won't be scarred. In fact, when she's grown she'll probably wonder why you didn't lose it more often!

Jess Riley said...

Hang in there, Mrs. Chicky! I think you're a great mom, and as the commenters above indicated, it seems everyone gets to this point at some time or another in parenting. You're definitely not alone.

Momish said...

Just like everyone else has said, I think losing your temper just comes with the job. You shouldn't turn it inward and beat yourself up. It's part of being human AND being a mom. You say that's not you. But, then again, did you ever think you would make stupid funny faces ad nauseum, while dancing on your knees with a sock on your head? Being a mom changes you. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

This post could have been describing me if the dogs were cats. I feel like I lose it all the time. I know that look, I have seen it on my daughter's face. It rips my heart out too. But, I also know that I can put smiles on that kid's face like no one else and can make her laugh until she's gasping for breath. And, I always apologize, because my shortcomings are never her fault. I hear that written throughout your post. I think that means a lot and shows what a good mom you are!

I hope your day gets better, right up to that margarita!

penelopeto said...

sometimes we lose our shit.

sometimes we lose our shit in front of our kid and then feel like the worst mother in the world.

maybe for one minute we are, but the minute passes and we are left with such a horrible feeling that we do anything to avoid it ever happening again.

give her an extra cuddle and tell the huz you need a time out. literally. take a break and a breath (even if it's much later) and you'll be ok.

Binkytown said...

If life raising your kid doesnt make you mad enough to freak out once in awhile then you aren't spending nearly enough time with them :) Don't feel bad. All the cool moms are doing it!

Beck said...

Something three kids has taught me through long, grueling work is that I was not a patient person when I started off as a mother.
I'm a lot more patient now. Still not "there" yet, but working every day. Every mother has days like yours, and every mother knows that grim shame - you learn from it, really. The first kid is so much the tester kid, the one where you figure out your boundaries, your limits.
And I'm with your daughter - mmm, mmm, carbs!

lara said...

we talk about this a lot in my education programs, with regards to losing our cool in front of our students (which is, of course, bound to happen sometimes). and as meno said, sometimes these are great opportunities to say, "that was a mistake, i shouldn't have reacted that way, and i'm sorry for it." it definitely makes you feel crappy for a while, though, for which i'm sympathetic.

and btw, i think i'm hooked and will be a regular visitor now. just 'cause you're awesome. :)

radioactive girl said...

For some reason I don't tend to react to much of anything. Because of this, I haven't ever yelled at my kids. Not the time they colored the walls with chapstick the day we were having an open house, not when they smashed a china tea set to smitherines on the tv set and chipped the glass beyond repair, not ever that I can remember. It makes people crazy that I just laugh and deal with whatever they do and never seem to lose my temper. I have not one angry bone in my body when it comes to most everything. Even when I am mad, I am most of the time laughing at the absurdity of it all. My husband loses it from time to time and I don't think any less of him for it. It is natural. What isn't normal is me. I'm pretty sure everyone loses their temper sometimes and feels out of control. I happen not to get that way with my kids, but once in a great while with my husband (mostly when I am pregnant). I think it's pretty normal and if your daughter sees you do it, it isn't the end of the world. Of course you should try your best to be an exceptional role model, but I think she sees that in everything else you do and one little moment of losing your temper isn't going to change what she thinks of you. You are a great mom, and I think it is wonderful you can admit your one tiny little thing that you did that wasn't perfect.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I've so been there and you're right. It definatley won't be the last time.

It sucks to be human, no? It really truly sucks sometimes!

Human or not you are a good mommy and your love for your daughter shines in your writing. This is what she will know in her heart forever.

CRankMama said...

Your big heart and kindness reveal themselves in your empathy for wee baby. 18 month old children test many many limits... you have my full sympathy.

Rachael

Mommy off the Record said...

I'm sorry you had a crappy day. I hate those days. I know how easy it is to snap. So far, I've avoided doing it with Little Guy, but I do it all the time with Husband so I know it could happen easily with Little Guy.

It's hard to control the raw emotions when they boil over, but Chicky Baby knows in her heart you would never hurt her even if she was a little stunned by your reaction in the moment.

Mad Hatter said...

I've done this. I think it is inevitable. If you love your child, then passion will flare up for good or ill. Your child will know the love and will remember only the love.

Ruth Dynamite said...

The stars align and all the conditions are just right: sleep deprivation; PMS; chilly weather and no warmth to be found; dog hair; active toddler. OF COURSE you're going to snap. We all do.

But by now, the stars have realigned, right? You're sitting there eating your famous cookies and sipping Chardonnay, watching that cute baby crawl in the dishwasher, and you're laughing your head off. (Ha ha thump)

Isn't motherhood great?

petite gourmand said...

yikes, I've so been there too (minus the dogs)
but what is the fascination with climbing onto a dirty dishwasher anyhow?
these little 18 month olds have ways of testing you,
then with a blink of a sweet little eye,
it's pure guilt for getting frustrated with them in the first place.
don't be too hard on yourself, we all have our moments.

mothergoosemouse said...

It happens. You handled yourself very well. I swear.