Some things I learn about myself the hard way.
Yesterday was just another day. Got Zach to school at 7:00. Shoved Gavin out the door with Tyler at 8:00. Skipped a shower for myself (hat day isn't just for school spirit) and helped Lexi get ready. She was too comfortable on the couch and steadfastly refused to put on her fantastic costume for the preschool Halloween party. Kate was happy to costume herself and happily frogged to the car. I finally gave up the battle and let Lexi wear a play dress-up, leotard, and boots. She looked cute. Yay.
I spent preschool time at the piano. I've had a hymn humming through my brain and decided to write a women's arrangement out of it. Kate played with a piano app on my phone.
Between feeding and monitoring her, the time flew and I was late picking up Lexi. We zipped home for lunch before ballet lessons, which also included a Halloween party.
After a quick banana and bowl of mac and cheese (for the girls--how do they like that stuff?) we were out the door. I got the girls back in the car and ran back for my purse, keys, and sunglasses. You might imagine what happened next. No keys.
What you might not have imagined is the temper tantrum I had while looking for them. A quick search became a frantic one as the minutes ticked by. Lexi was going to be late. I was an idiot...we'd only been home 25 minutes. I yelled (not mumbled) at myself as I retraced my steps and looked in awkward places. The self-deprecation spiraled down from there. After 30 minutes of searching it was clear that ballet lessons were not happening. I apologized to Lexi, who gave me a sweet hug through her tears because I was crying, too.
Kate and Lexi ran off to play, but I couldn't let it go. This wasn't about the keys anymore. I was a loser, a dumb mom who couldn't hold it together for 25 minutes. It's bad enough when I do something stupid that only affects me, like buying an ill-fitting pair of jeans at a store 45 minutes from my house. But making Lexi miss a party and a dance lesson that she anticipated all week long? Who does that? I kept yelling (not mumbling) at myself and finally put myself in time-out in my closet. I paced in that tiny, crowded closet. Feeling claustrophobic made me angrier--so much so that I kicked a hole in the wall.
That little act of anger was a reality check. I finally got a hold of my rational self. I cried some more, this time out of shame and sorrow. I am so frustrated that I can't be the kind of person and mother I want to be. I am upset with myself for reacting badly to a very minor and normal stress of life. I am also a little mortified that I am sharing such things in a public format.
Here's why. No one is perfect. I am trying to be my best self every single day, just as I imagine you try to be your best self every day. I have physical and mental limitations I really don't like but those things don't have to be a detriment to my happiness, and they are not an excuse for my bad behavior. I need a better outlet for my emotions. Perhaps that should be my next project, because heaven knows stress comes my way rather often.
For example, around 4:00, while I was sitting at the piano again, Kate got into the nail polish. She painted her toenails a pretty pink and purple. The attendant casualties were her clothes, face, hair, and her bunny, plus my pillowcases, sheets, and duvet cover. Apparently painting toenails is best done in Mommy's bed.
Well, I didn't throw a fit. I calmly changed Kate's clothes, let her scream in her room for a while, and tried in vain to remove the stains from all that fabric. And later, when Gavin and Lexi found my keys ON THE HOOK WHERE THEY BELONG, I cried a little, composed myself, and then made dinner.
In the immediate wake of kicking the wall, I had confessed, via text, my bad deed to a friend. I knew she would validate and understand my situation. She did, and later she jokingly suggested that I find some low-hanging art work to cover the damaged wall. Instead, I have decided to leave it exposed and unrepaired. I need a visual reminder that nothing is important enough to lose my temper. I am stronger than my emotions, and I can start again today at the impossible task of being my best self.
Brene' Brown is one of my favorite authors. Through her books she has started a movement to embrace the gift of imperfection and vulnerability. I need to remember these truths, so I am doing as she has recently done: remind myself that despite my weakness, I am enough.
Even when lost keys make my child miss a party.