My anxious state of being is a dark cloud which casts a shadow over my entire family. Just below the surface of that eerie mist is where my angst snowballs itself into anger and a very unsettling, very persistent bad mood… sometimes feeling beyond my control.
With every dish that piles, every mouth that talks back, every load of laundry that leaves me in tears because I feel like a failure, unable to conquer each “mom-job” properly or effectively — I feel the horrendous monster of a bad mood-mom building inside of me. I know it’s coming, but I’m not able to stop it.
My angst causes the bad mood to rise until it’s stirred enough fury to finally erupt. In an instant, dimple-faced, happy smiles and joyful spirits are crushed by the voice of a mother I do not recognize.
The explosion leaves behind painful rubble of my own doing, and I am left picking up the destruction that I have caused. And when the day slips into night, greeting me with that much-needed hour of stillness, I wish nothing more than to be different. The guilt consumes me.
I wish I were calm. I wish I didn’t yell to get my point across. I wish I were more organized. I wish I showed the love that I deeply feel just a little bit more.
And then I promise. I promise to do and be different only to be met with that same bullet pointed statements of “I wishes” in the days soon to come.
It’s anxiety, and Lord knows I wish I had a better grip on it. As unneeded and spiteful words flow from my mouth, I regret them just as soon as I scream them. And sometimes even before I’ve screamed them too. It’s almost like another part of me is gnawing at the bits to get me to stop, but I physically can’t until I’ve spewed my anger on the ones I love.
I don’t understand it, and it’s an ugly and guilt-ridden trait to possess. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
I’m not above saying sorry to my children, only a damn fool and an arrogant bastard would be. Every time I have an outburst or a spurt of bad moods, I’m always incredibly eager to apologize. But sorry doesn’t always cut it in the grand scheme of things, does it? I know this, and I worry what my bad moods could be teaching and doing to my children.
I get frustrated with them when they lash out through anger in the midst of their angst, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. They are learning from me, and I can’t help but feel like I am failing them in some way.
These little people, who I swore I’d never do wrong by, have seen the ugly scream it’s way out of me and project its voice loudly onto them. I find myself stepping back and taking a mental record of the things I’ve said, and confronting myself with the questions: would I behave this way in front of anyone else? Have I done them wrong? I love them with everything that makes up my being, so why do I feel relentlessly out of control around them at times?
I’ve seen bad days, my husband and I have buried one of our children and I remember in the beginning of my grief swearing that I would never say I was having a bad day again. But here I am, claiming bad days that are not so bad after all.
How can I equate ten loads of laundry, a sink full of dishes, a couple of strong-willed children and two screaming toddlers to the “worst day ever” when I know what a truly bad day actually feels like?
Maybe I’m a little lost right now, but at least I’m not too proud to admit it. Anxiety is a bitch, and it preys on my good moods and contorts them into bad ones. Some days I feel like I don’t allow my children to actually just be children before I’m getting on them to clean up the messes that they made.
Sometimes I can tell myself it’ll be there tomorrow and rest in the loud mess for just a little while longer. But that’s just it.. the mess will be there tomorrow. It will be there in the same unscathed manner, waiting for me to clean it up… and that in itself causes me to stress myself into a bad mood.
I’m recognizing this pattern in my behavior, and I know that it is not okay. And I’m fighting like hell to make sure it doesn’t become my norm.
My family didn’t ask for this, and everything my little ones do is just “kid-behavior.” But yet, it seems that I’ve lost my child-like spirit.
The one who wanted to change her clothes a million times throughout the day because she was the lead star in a stuffed-bear, audience-filled fashion show. The one who wanted to play in the kitchen to learn how to “cook like mommy” and make a mess while doing so. And the one who was so strong-willed that a simple “no” could never be enough to suffice.
On the days that I’ve acted and felt like the worst mom ever, I need to realize that there is always time to turn back. There is always a time to stop my chaotic emotions for my little people even if it feels like I’ve just warranted a head-on collision within the interior of my own self.
There is always a time to turn my negative way of thinking around into believing that at least I have this family to feel such deep emotions about. At least they are here for me to care so deeply about my wrong-doings enough to desperately change them.
There is always time for me to be soft, kind, and loving instead of harsh, criticizing, and cold.
They are worth turning my bad mood into a good one, even if it feels fake and like an all-out battle within the walls of my own being.