In college my boyfriend cheated on me and I was pretty sure I felt rage. When I eloped and called my mom to tell her the good news, she said, “You know, it isn’t too late; we can get this annulled!” I was pretty sure I felt rage in that moment, too.
But these little angry moments were trumped by the insane anger (rage) that rushed through my slack-jawed disbelief when my then-three-year-old dumped a full gallon bucket of paint primer down the stairs and all through the living room.
I never used to yell. Kids did not scare me. Rage was just a concept I was aware of, but had no real experience with. And then I had kids, and before I knew it, I was yelling gems like this:
FOR THE LOVE OF SAINT FREAKIN’ PETE, SIT DOWN AND EAT YOUR EVER LOVING GOD DAMNED CEREAL!
And also this:
ACK! I’M GOING TO LOSE MY SHIT ASS MIND!
For the most part, I manage to scurry off to a closet or find a pillow to scream into. But sometimes I miss, and the words shoot from my mouth like sparks. I am pretty sure that by the age of three, my oldest son has already figured out which life situations earned the phrase What The Hell?!
Motherhood can occasionally drive me bat crap crazy with impatience and frustration. Trying to remember that my kids are kids can be about as easy as trying to memorize the entire periodic table. In Japanese. It is hard to be on all the time and to model the kind of behavior that, as a mother, I like to pretend I have in even the most trying of times. But the truth is that I haven’t found the kill switch to that part of my brain that can go from June Cleaver to Linda Blair in two hot breaths.
See, the thing is, kids can be vicious little tyrants once they realize Mom has buttons, that when pushed, can make her eyes bulge and steam blow from her ears. These buttons are more tempting than buckets of chocolate to a kid.
At night, I often flip through every negative exchange and feel a world of Mom guilt for letting my little ogres get to me. I tell myself that I’m being totally unfair and to buck up for heaven sakes, they’re just kids! I plan out my attitude and activities for the next day and I lull myself to sleep with high hopes of being all June and no Linda tomorrow.
But then… the next day, everything implodes when my four-year-old pushes his brother down for the 57th time. My teeth start grinding when someone shoots the TV with a water pistol. Those words…oh those words…start bubbling up to the surface when my son defiantly screams ” No!” at my insistence that he has timeout.
And then Linda arrives, right on time.