Have you ever had a day when you can feel the irritation building inside you until it bubbles out of you in a messy spew of crap? You feel better…for one precious second…then the guilt and regret come to bounce around inside your head. Why can’t you be more patient? Why can’t you just be calm? She won’t be this small for long. You won’t be her whole world forever. Take care, stop, smell the roses. Play. Smile. Enjoy this time. And so the pressure builds again; this pressure to be the type of mama who would never shout, who would never vent her frustrations, who would never let tiredness beat her down.
I wish I could stop myself when ‘mean mama’ comes to call. The light goes out of my daughter’s eyes when I just can’t stop myself from being cross. She, in turn, gets upset and rages back at me. We become like fighters in a ring; circling each other and sending little jabs back and forth. Neither of us feels better after these encounters (and they make me quake with fear for the potential teenage battles that lie ahead). It only takes something small to set us off. The struggle to get out the door on time. The epic challenge that is putting on tiny shoes. Changing clothes or (God forbid) cutting nails requires patience neither of us has sometimes – that is why my formerly spotless baby has turned into bit of a grubby toddler to be honest.
I know, as the adult, it is up to me to stop, take a breath and restore a sense of calm and peace. Some days I can. Some days…sorry that’s not happening. These are the days that inevitably follow a disturbed night’s sleep or a tiny visitor far too early in the morning. All the coffee in the world doesn’t help on those days. Your brain feels sluggish and your body far too achy. You long to lie on the couch and watch something mindless but no, toddler needs a buddy to dress up or play tea parties or zoom cars to the garage. You long for bedtime – yours or hers, you’re not fussy. These days there will always be a sense of thunder approaching; a storm brewing in your cold tea-cup.
Why can’t I just relax and chill? Why can’t I do better, BE better? I don’t know. I guess mothers are human beings after all even if our children think we are some kind of super human entity; a mix of Mama Pig and Super-Woman perhaps. I think I just have to accept that there are days when ‘mean mama’ will get the better of me. There are days when I will go to bed re-playing all the times I should have held my tongue or taken a step back. I really, really don’t like the side of me that emerges when ‘mean mama’ comes to play but she seems to be a part of me like my blue eyes and fine hair. She is the part I do not choose and the part I feel I don’t control; the part that becomes even harder to tame when PMS comes calling. She is the side of me that I am embarrassed to admit exists. There doesn’t seem to be a magic spell to banish her (and wine is frowned upon as a replacement for your morning coffee) so I am stuck; the two sides of my motherhood constantly seeking the upper-hand. Mostly nice mama wins. I just have to learn to forgive myself on the days that she doesn’t.