Yesterday we all woke up in a good mood. I decided we would just have a “special” easy morning in my bed. I rarely put the TV on in our room for Everett’s morning cartoons but thought, hey, why not? It is a rainy day. Something fun! I was able to read some more while he vegged and watched Curious George. I went into his room to do a little pick up/quick clean while he was still distracted. Well, when I came back into my room no less than 1 minute later, I see him seeing in my bed, holding my iced coffee. He had one hand in the glass moving around the ice cubes. I then look immediately below him and see a massive puddle of iced coffee all over the duvet. I snapped.
I had JUST washed the whole bed sheets, duvet, insert, all of it, the day before. I had JUST gotten stains out the day before. I had JUST finished making the bed last night with the new fresh sheets. And now, my son has decided it pick up my iced coffee, try to drink it, then play with it and in the process spill almost all of it on my bedding. I yelled. Loud. I reprimanded him and told him it was time out. He screamed at me but in his room he went. Then I stripped the bed and rinsed out all of the duvet, insert and sheets to get the coffee off right away. Into the wash they went.
Everett had calmed down and so had I so I went to get him out of time out. He came out, found his snack cup and threw more than a mouthful of peanut butter puffs cereal into his mouth. He always overfills his mouth. I swear, I am ALWAYS feeding him so I don’t know why he eats like he has been starved his whole life. Then he does something he shouldn’t. I honestly don’t remember what he did but I said “no, we don’t do that” and he instantly spits all of his puffs half chewed out of his mouth and on to the floor. He starts screaming and crying and in process he starts gagging on the puffs left in his mouth. And that makes him more mad and angry and cry harder. I picked him up, made sure he wasn’t choking and then put him in time out again.
After this, I call my husband and I basically start hyperventilating on the phone. Words like “I can’t do this” “He is insane” “I need a fucking break” start flowing while mixed with tears. I don’t even know if he could understand what I was saying. But he was kind and understanding on the phone. Reassured me, we will find you a break soon. We will find a way to give you more balance in your life. He told me I was loved and a great mother. After I hung up, I took some deep breaths. I prayed and calmed down.
I went in to get Everett out of time out. I open the door to him having pulled apart his humidifier and spilled water all of his floor and rug. At this point, I am like delirious with impatience, exhaustion of caring for a tornado toddler, and ready to just go dig myself a hole and live there. I pick him up, of course again yelling, and I don’t know where to put him. Where is this kid not going to destroy everything? I put him in his crib. I clean up the mess. I pick him up and take him out. And to be honest, I am not doing it gently or gracefully. I am angry. I am over it. I ignore my child for the next hour. I wouldn’t look at him, I would make sure he wasn’t going to kill himself, but I basically gave him the minimal response needed to keep him alive.
The last 30 minutes before nap time, Everett is in a good mood and so am I. I put him down for a nap and text a friend venting about my morning. Sometimes, I just need to vent and be heard and not be given suggestions or reasons as to why my toddler is acting out. And she did just that. She said she was so sorry and what a terrible morning. Then, she offered to watch Everett for me after nap time so I could get much needed alone time. And not only that, she offered to keep him most of the evening so Luke and I could also go on a date. When I read her offer, I instantly felt relief and shame all at once. I cried. I cried because I was fortunate enough to have a friend who truly wanted to help me in a time of need and I cried because I felt ridiculous.
I am choosing to be at stay at home mom. I am choosing this life and yet there are days and times where I want to scream. I feel inadequate a lot of days. And yet, now, I am choosing to WANT to be away from my child. Motherhood guilt is cruel and not a joke. Regardless of me putting it on myself or feeling the pressure socially, I felt so guilty that now someone else would have to deal with my tantrum throwing child because I couldn’t handle him. But then I realized, I really do need this break. It has been months since I have had any kind of break from mother, wife, house, chores, grocery shopping, cleaning duties. Yes, there are nap times and evening times where technically my child is asleep and I do get a “breather” but its not a break. It does not count. I still am responsible for the child since I cannot physically leave the house. It really starts to wear on my health. Don’t get my wrong, I love my child more than I love myself but that doesn’t mean I am always feeling full of love, kindness, energy and patience. I want to feel full of all those lovely traits but most days, I am tired, I am struggling to keep everything running, I am debating between showering during nap or doing yard work. I am thinking should I eat lunch first or throw in laundry first? Should I just watch TV shows all during nap to feel like I get a break but then feel unproductive? There are a million little decisions that are made daily and sometimes the weight of them is overbearing and overwhelming.
So I decide yes, time to shower, let’s get pretty, you are going on a date! So I curl my hair, I get on a cute outfit, I give myself a pep talk about how this is exactly what I need. I am getting a much needed Meghan date. Some time to do what I want to do and then go meet my husband for dinner. Everett wakes up from nap in a great mood, as am I, knowing I get to drop him off with someone else for a few hours. I push away the little bit of guilt and shame rising up by being conscious of how much better my mood got when I knew I wouldn’t have to spend all afternoon and evening with my toddler. And we went off to our friends house and I dropped him off.
I drive through traffic which I don’t even mind even though it means I don’t really get any alone time before dinner. And I get to the restaurant and realize their parking lot is full so I need to find street parking. As I am pulling out of the parking lot, I enter the two way street to turn left, lined with cars on each side and BAM! Suddenly there is a car driving straight right where I am trying to turn. I had looked both ways, I had entered slowly trying to see around the cars parked. And still, BAM! I slam on my breaks and the other driver does but not before my front bumper rams into the other cars right front fender. I just shout FUCK FUCK FUCK. Are you kidding me?! Keep calm. Shit. Shit. Shit. Okay, pull over, get out of the car. I am physically fine, the other driver is fine. I don’t even think about whose fault the accident was, I just immediately felt so bad because my car hit her car. Just as much as her car hit mine. We exchanged information, took photos, I get back in the car. I start to call Luke and I realize I am soaking wet. WET. Hair wet, pants a different color. It had been pouring on us the whole time. And I just started bawling on the phone. I feel like such an idiot. Is someone joking right now? All I wanted was a few hours one day to myself and to go on a date. And now, I got in a car accident. And all the work I put into getting ready, my hair, my makeup, my cute outfit. All gone to shit. Just. My. Luck.
I take some more deep breaths and find a parking spot and go into the restaurant to wait for Luke. The waitress comes up and asks if she can get me something while I wait. I basically shouted MARGARITA!!! before she finished talking. Dinner was good and encouraging. But I felt so distracted, on edge and numb. I know we laughed and we encouraged each other. We talked about everett and the car accident. It’s not that bad. That’s why they are called accidents. It’s not your fault. It’s just a bad day. And we finish up and no more than two hours later am I back at my friends house to hang out and pick up my son. Two hours. It could have been at least 4 but what’s the point now?
After we got home and got Everett to bed, I really started thinking about how I got to where I was yesterday. How were my emotions so out of control? Why is it so hard to find Meghan time? Why is it so easy to feel guilty when I desire just Meghan time? It is easy to find wife time. It is easy to find mother time. It is easy to find daughter and sister time. But the one thing I need? It is the God-given, woman, human, Meghan time. I was born a human, a woman, Meghan. And yet, all these other roles are easy to find time for. To become busy with. To make important and support. To encourage and devote energy to. So then why, why is it SO DAMN HARD to find time for just ME? Just me as a human? Just me as a woman?
I don’t know. But I am determined to find out.