4 a.m.: Youngest crawls into my bed. I hear the gentle whirring of my husband’s CPAP machine. My son falls back asleep between us but kicks me in the back. I try to tuck his feet in so I can avoid this, and he starts flailing his arms in his sleep. I give up and try to rest but don’t really fall back asleep.
5 a.m.: My alarm goes off. I head down to the basement for a quick workout. This is the only time I have to get some movement in. I notice the dirty dishes in the sink. I also noticed I forgot to pack my kindergartener’s snack last night. I’ll do that after I shower.
6 a.m.: Head upstairs to shower. The kids are both up. No one is dressed, and everyone is crying. I shower but don’t have time to dry my hair fully. I’ll look a little messy today at work. I get everyone dressed and downstairs. My daughter screams while I brush her hair. My son tries to grab her headband, and I have to break up at least three fights. I yell. I feel guilty.
7 a.m.: Kisses goodbye and out the door to drop off my kindergartener. Yes, sweetie, you need to wear your coat. It’s 45 degrees out. Please put on your coat. Please. Put on your coat.
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.: I’m busy today. I tell someone their scans came back clear. I tell someone else their scans came back abnormal. I give someone negative biopsy results. I give someone else positive biopsy results. I apologize for someone’s wait. I celebrate someone’s milestones.
During lunch, I answer a school e-mail. I order a gift for a kid’s birthday party. I catch up on phone calls while I eat.
5:30 p.m.: Pick up from school. Everyone is over-tired, including me. The big kid is telling me what they learned about spiders. Did I know they have eight eyes? The little kid tries to get my attention during the big kid’s explanation. He wants to tell me about his picture. I try to get them to take turns. This is only minimally successful.
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Everyone cleans up, unpacks backpacks, and sits down for dinner. Take off your shoes guys! No shoes in the house! I heat leftovers and try to take care of the dishes from when I woke up while they eat. I got too busy this morning.
Dinner is “disgusting.” Can they have crackers and hummus instead? They draw after dinner. The little kid is mischievous and draws on the big kid’s picture. She cries. I yell. I feel guilty.
6:45 p.m.: Into the bath. They want to play. They’re having fun. I give them two more minutes and set a timer. After two minutes, no one is listening; no one is getting out of the tub. I ask again. No one is listening. I raise my voice a little. One of them splashes water all over the floor.
I lose it.
It’s not their fault. Water play is so much fun. They don’t have much time during the week to relax and play. But I’ve been up since 4 a.m. I had a rough day at work. I want to eat dinner, fold the laundry, and go to bed.
That’s not on them though. It’s me. I’m angry. I wonder why I’m so angry. Then I look at my day.
Every week I strive not to be an angry mom. I try to deep breathe. I try to take a minute. An escalated adult can’t de-escalate an escalated child. I use my coping mechanisms like exercise and solo time when I can.
Not every day is like this. It’s a mix. Some days we are all silly gooses and smiles, and some days we are short fuses and curt responses.
Ultimately, I try to give myself grace. I am not perfect. I’ll never be a perfect parent. I love my kids, and I tell them that several times a day, every day. I always apologize if I yell or overreact.