Today, I wasn’t a good mom. The morning came too soon after a long and exhausting night. I rolled out of bed and put pants on an hour before you normally woke up. When I came into your room you were ready for me, your hair tousled and your smile crooked. “I up!” You said reaching your arms out to me. “I pay wif toys!”
I didn’t smile, not because I don’t love you, but because I just needed more sleep. And then the day came and you stuck stickers to the couch and I grumbled under my breath. You tried to play tag and kicked me in the chest and I yelled, “BE NICE TO MOM!” I realize now, I wasn’t yelling that at you. I was just yelling at the world. But how could you know that? You couldn’t, and I’m sorry.
And when I went upstairs to go to the bathroom and you said, “NO MAM GO PODDY!” And I said, “Shut up!” It wasn’t my finest hour of parenthood.
I’m sorry I cried when you ate my lunch. The lunch I bought for both of us to feed my feelings. Because my feelings needed chicken nuggets, but apparently so did you. And I’m sorry I put you in time out when you made your plate do a little dance on the table. I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you when I put you down for nap, choosing instead to run away and lay in the guest room bed and just dwell in some silence.
I remember my own mom having days like this, when she seemed on the edge of something terrible, and we children tip toed around her, afraid and convinced it was us. I want you to know it is not you. It is never you.
What this is is my heart hurting for things and reasons that fall outside of you. I’ll be better tomorrow, after Coke, after a crime show and after some sleep. But being a parent means many things, one of which is that I cannot always be the selfish mess I want to be. This makes me a better person, but it is also oh so hard, when your eyes are tired and your back aches. You don’t need to know this now. And when you do need to know it, you will understand. But I want to apologize just so you know that I’m trying my very best, even when some days that best is a wreck.
I hear you up from your nap. You are singing Taylor Swift, shouting “Neber, eber, EBER!” And then there is something about a rubber ducky. I’m going to get you now. We are going to eat fruit snacks and read some books. We’re going to snuggle and put some stickers back on the couch.
And tomorrow, I’m going to try again.
I love you.