We'd just settled into the booth at McD's for lunch when Alyssa said with wonder, "You haven't yelled once today."
Yes, I'm freaking mother of the year here. I get frustrated, I get annoyed, I get cranky and sometimes (way too often, it seems) I yell at my kids.
This day, though, her observation struck me as funny. Not that I think yelling is funny but the fact that I hadn't yelled all day was a nice change and I was obviously in a good place since I hadn't yelled and so I laughed.
Then I said, "Well, we did go to be last night at 9 and I got up at 8 this morning, so apparently, I need eleven hours of sleep to be a halfway decent human being."
Lyss and I laughed and laughed at that. Liv laughed because we were laughing. Then she asked, "Why are we laughing?"
This caused me and Lyss to burst into new waves of laughter.
It was good to be able to laugh at my foibles, my less-than-perfect mothering. I'm glad Lyss was comfortable commenting on the lack of yelling. I would never want her to worry that saying something like that might make me mean or, you know, yell at her.
I don't want to be a wire mother. I don't want them to someday be able to share horror stories about the way their narcissistic mother behaved toward them. I know I can't help but screw up my girls in ways I don't even know I'm doing but I want so badly to be good at this mothering thing. I want so badly to do it right, or as right as possible and still be human.
As we were leaving McD's Liv's flip flop came off her foot (it happens all the time, poor kid and her Rapunzel feet) and I told her it was okay, to get it back on and not stress over fixing it.
Alyssa asked again, "Why are you being so patient and nice?"
"Because right this second, I can," I told her.
When we got in the car, I told A that I'm sorry that I'm not always patient and nice. I wish I were but sometimes I'm tired or I hurt (my stupid 80 year old foot hurts all the damn time these days) or I've had a long day and I feel crowded and need a little space. I told her that I want to always be loving and kind and patient and fun but...I don't always get eleven hours of sleep the night before.
Then I laughed again and suggested, "Hey, maybe I should go to be at 7 each evening since I have to get up at 6 the next morning for work. I would be the best mom EVER during those two hours we'd get together each school/work night."
Alyssa joined me in laughter.
I amended my schedule, "Instead, maybe my boss would let me come to work at 10 each morning so I can sleep until 8 and then just go to bed at 9 each night."
Yeah, we all know that's not going to happen. But I need to harness these peaceful, decent feelings and reach deep when I'm at my tired, cranky worst. These girls deserve for me to try a little harder to be a halfway decent human being a little more often, even when I'm tired and cranky and just want five minutes to poop in private. Because we all that's not going to happen either and as the mom, I need to suck it up and figure it out and NOT be a wire mother. Because they deserve better. They deserve me to be at my best all the time, not just one random Saturdays when I've had eleven hours of sleep.
Of course, now I have to confess that at 1:45 this afternoon, not even six hours after waking up from eleven hours of sleep (let me say here too, that those eleven hours were not uninterrupted) my patience had dwindled. A crazy busy Walmart will do that to a person. Add to the crazy busy Walmart the slowest cashier in the history of Walmart cashiers (who has to count a cash payment FOUR damned times to figure out that two 50s, four 20s, three 5s and four 1s are $199? I mean seriously!?!) who was dealing with the most irritating of all customers in the history of Walmart customers and you have one irritated, cranky mother. Yes, that was me. Olivia had to pee TWICE during the wait in that line. It was insane.
We were supposed to be at a birthday party at 2:00. If we'd managed to get into any other line at the Walmart at 1:20, we'd have been fine on time, but no, we got the above cashier and the above customer and we were doomed.
And it was pouring rain as we walked to the car. O was whining about wet feet, my right heel hurt from where A had run into me TWICE while in the store and the half of my human side that had been decent all morning had run far, far away. All that was left was my cranky, irritable side.
Thankfully, there was much annoying traffic against which I could rail, which always amuses the girls. And amusing them goes a long way in making them forget my occasional wiriness. Thank goodness.