I know it’s going to happen before it does. We had a busy week. I’m exhausted, stressed and sad that Mina flew home today. The kids are tired and completely off their schedules — and although they don’t know how to express it, I know they’re missing Mina, too. It’s almost guaranteed to be a rough day all around.
I’ve tried to learn from days like this in the past. They almost always come after having guests, travelling, long holidays or getting back into our schedule after long illnesses. So, I planned today to not do anything — I planned to take Mina to the airport, come home, and be done for the day. We didn’t make any plans for play dates, outings or errands; I kept B home from school; I didn’t give myself a “to do” list for today; I let the cleaning and the laundry slide; I even went out for an hour by myself to have coffee after Dan got home this evening.
It still didn’t work. The kids are irritable, grouchy and super needy at a time when I’m tired, sad and feeling overwhelmed. Liam started hitting Benjamin and I this afternoon, and when I insisted that he say “sorry” (something he’s been doing reliably for weeks) he started screaming, stomping his feet, crying and shouting “No!” I turned off the tv and asked him again, and he got even angrier — it took nearly an hour for him to even be willing to give me a hug. Benjamin has been snapping at everyone, talking back and snatching toys out of Liam’s hand all afternoon and evening. With both of them, I really tried to be understanding and let it go — I know they’re having a rough day, too — but when Benjamin threw a fit and refused to let me medicate a cut on his hand this evening, I took him straight to bed. It took him over half an hour to settle down and stop screaming and crying after that. Sigh. Parenting fail.
Our house was definitely a disaster tonight. I know it’s because life has been wild here for the past week, and getting back in to our routine is bound to be bumpy. It’s hard to walk the line between being understanding of them being out of sorts, and being overly permissive of bad behavior. I can’t tell if I was too harsh or too lenient today, but it was definitely one or the other.
Now the house is quiet. Both of my boys are sleeping. After Benjamin settled down, I went in to put medicine on his hand (because really, that wasn’t negotiable) and I sat with him for a few minutes. We talked a little and I gave him hugs and kisses. I told him I loved him, and he told me he loved me. Then he told me he “still” loved me, even when he was crying and angry. I told him I still loved him, even when he was crying and angry and even when I was frustrated and angry, too. I told him I will always love him just as much no matter what happens, no matter what he says or does, no matter how angry he might be. And he said, “Ok” and smiled and rolled over to sleep. And then, as I was leaving his room, he said “Good night, Mommy” and blew me a kiss.
I have no idea what I’m doing. Parenting is at least 2000 times as hard as I thought it was going to be. But even the rough days can be awesome, and my kids are amazing. I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed. Tomorrow will be here before I know it, and I’d better be ready.