Today I woke up in a normal mood. I didn’t have a ton of zip, but I wasn’t in a bad mood either. Nothing major was on my mind. I didn’t have tight deadlines at work; my kids were home, happy, and healthy. No one made us late for anything, nothing got spilled, I didn’t fall on the slippery driveway, our dog didn’t run away, and all the appliances were working well. My jeans didn’t feel too tight, there was plenty of food in the fridge, and I didn’t run out of anything important like toilet paper or milk.
This should have been a great day. But I was off.
I kept trying to talk myself out of these irritable feelings; after all, PMS was not knocking on my doorstep. I got through that shit a few weeks ago. I’d been sleeping and eating fine.
I should have felt content and happy, but I felt agitated and lost, and spent the morning trying to put a finger on what the fuck was wrong with me.
I figured I needed my morning dose of caffeine, so I sucked that back and paid for the person behind me because a good deed always makes me feel better. I called my friend to talk about her new house she was building because many times I find if I get out of my own head and focus on some one else’s life, I’m able to refocus and see what’s truly important.
I was trying hard today. I was mad at myself, but I could feel my shoulders tense and my jaw tighten with every little thing. The TV was too loud, and instead of being able to calmly turn it down, I yelled at my son to turn it down and told him I was about to lose it and the noise was going right through me.
Because it was.
The sound felt like it was physically hurting me, but when he turned it down, I didn’t feel any better.
I put my head in my hands and tried to take a breath. I could feel myself coming closer and closer to losing it, and I had no idea why. I just knew I was going to do it. I knew my mood was too strong, and I wasn’t able to get out of this funk. I knew there was nothing anyone could do right– including me.
I think back to that day now and it seems easy to gain some self-control and pull it together– after all, I had no reason to act this way. I am a lucky woman — we were see in our cozy home with nothing stressful happening.
I kept thinking, My kids are here, they are perfectly healthy, and there are parents who can’t say that. I am a horrible, selfish person.
Nothing could shake me out of this mood. And then I lost it, just like I knew I would.
I honestly can’t tell you what the last straw was, but I know it was something tiny, something so insignificant it never would have evoked that kind of emotion in me had I been in the state I am most other days.
But that’s the thing. As parents we are wound so tightly and can only keep it together for so long. There are times when something small makes us go off the deep end. We feel ourselves creeping closer to the edge, and though we don’t want to go there, we do anyway. It’s almost as if we can’t help it. And then we then beat ourselves up because we don’t understand why we end up in the state we do.
But there is something about losing our shit — all of it — that helps us recover from a bad day. It’s almost like a release we all need to have on a regular basis to keep our ships running.
Maybe it comes from having a huge weight on our shoulders and not taking enough breaks. Because let’s face it, when you are a parent, breaks aren’t really breaks. You still have the racing thoughts, the never-ending to-do lists, the worries, the stresses. You can get away, but you can’t really get away.
And as moms we have this thing — this anger that creeps and we have no idea where it’s stemmed from, we have no idea why we have the urge to throw a jar of pickles through a window, we just know we want to.
So we lose it. Just like I did today, just like I have many times before, just like I will many times again.
This happens to us all. It’s inevitable. There are going to be times when we lose it over tiny things and when we are feeling more like ourselves we realize that our outburst was probably rooted in other emotions. After all, no one wants to throw things simply because the television is a bit too loud. We have the urge to smash things because we are spreading ourselves too thin, we feel like we have too much on our shoulders, or we haven’t invested in ourselves in a while.
And it’s okay. It’s all okay. The important thing is we forgive ourselves. We move on. And we try to do better.