The scene is all too familiar: The kitchen is a minefield of homework, dinner preparations, and the 3-year old’s long forgotten Play-Doh project. One kid is whining about being hungry, another is yelling from the bathroom that she needs her ass wiped, and the 3-year-old is chasing the dog in an effort to “pet” him. The doorbell rings and a harried UPS man demands three separate signatures as all three kids clamor behind you to find out who the stranger is at the door. Just as you close the door, you hear the sounds of dinner boiling over and the smoke alarm loudly declares that you’ve lost control.
You are the ringmaster of the shitshow.
Then you get the call that your husband will be working late because he has a fancy business dinner to attend and he “forgot” to tell you. Just as you hang up the phone, one of the kids pukes all over the kitchen table, ruining the other child’s homework, and now all three kids are crying.
It’s all too much. The noise, the clutter, the chaos.
And as much as you hate yourself for it, you completely, 100% lose your ever-loving shit right in the middle of the kitchen because, OMG, the noise is deafening and you can’t hear yourself think a single goddamned thought.
Yeah, we’ve all been there.
We’ve all categorically lost our marbles in an epic way, in such a way that the kids warn each other that Mom has “the lunatic eyes” and run for their bedrooms when they see you about to blow your top.
I’ve lost my shit a thousand times in my 14 years of being a parent. But the time I did it while wearing fuzzy slippers and a thigh-length bathrobe in the middle of our street, in front of our neighbors, is pretty much my lowest point as a parent.
I suspect, however, after you hear my story, you will totally be on my side.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this tale, it must be said that my husband has no sense of urgency whatsoever. None. As in, he’s chill AF when he’s running late and his day flows to the beat of his own drum. He arrives at work and any place where people are expecting him just in the nick of time.
I, on the other hand, live and die by a schedule, and the thought of going through my day without a watch makes me break out into hives. It is said that opposites attract and never is it more apparent in our marriage than our opposite philosophies on punctuality.
On the fateful morning of my epic meltdown, it was my husband’s day to take the kids to the bus stop. Knowing that our bus driver had a particular penchant for being early most days, I politely, at first, reminded the household that the bus departure time was rapidly approaching. But being that my husband and his lackadaisical time management ways were in charge, I took to quietly stewing in the kitchen, sipping coffee.
7:15 a.m. 7:17 a.m. 7:20 a.m.
With the bus typically arriving at 7:24, I amped up my protestations that the children were not yet being herded to the bus stop. And by “amped up,” I mean I bellowed, “They are going to miss the bus!” at the ceiling to no one in particular.
7:21 a.m. and we were finally at the shoes, backpacks, and coats portion of our morning. I hurriedly kissed the kids goodbye, and from the front door, urged them to hurry along to the bus stop. And by “urged them to hurry along,” I mean I hissed, “Get your butts moving!” out of asshole lips, resplendent in my thigh-high bathrobe bedecked with pretty pink roses. And the fluffy slippers.
7:22 a.m. arrived, and lo and behold, so did the bus, early as expected. Naturally, the kids were six houses away, and as fast as their little legs ran, the bus driver closed the door just as they reached the last house. From my vantage point on our front porch, I could see my son standing in the middle of the street, arms outstretched, turning from side to side, in what can only be described as his first “What the actual fuck?!” moment.
As my husband caught up with them at the bus stop, looking bewildered, that’s when I snapped. That’s the moment in my mothering history that will be forever remembered as the “missed bus heard round the world” because it wasn’t enough for me to be fuming on my porch.
In my crazed, mom rage state, I got in my car, careened down the street, and as I understand it from eye witnesses (because at that point I had pretty much blacked out), I got out of the car, took a Sumo wrestler stance in the road and screamed, “I told you he’d miss the bus!” much to the horrified amusement of our seven neighbors who had made it on time to the bus stop.
As mothers, we are always right. Always. We know exactly how much time it takes to do all the things related to our kids, and on this particular morning, the fact that my husband had disregarded my years of bus stop experience put me over the edge. I know it was irrational, and I know I looked like a raving madwoman in the middle of the street, but I just couldn’t take it one more second. The kids missing the bus meant the whole morning was thrown off-kilter simply because my husband couldn’t get his shit together five minutes earlier. Come on now.
As I raged at my husband in the street and my friends laughed their asses off at our marital magic moment, my husband did what he could to diffuse the situation. He apologized profusely, literally waving his hands in defeat, and he offered to drive them to school, mostly, I think, so that I’d stop creating a scene worth of Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment. As my anger abated, I grudgingly adjusted my bathrobe, addressed my neighbors with a curt wave, and trudged my fluffy slippers back to the car, eager to put the scene behind us.
Just as I got to the car, I heard my husband say, “Oh, by the way, which school am I going to and where is it again?”
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, my husband is now quite clear on the directions to my son’s school. Crystal clear, in fact.
And, moms, the next time you are losing your shit in the middle of a chaotic afternoon, just remember, it could be worse: You could be wearing a thigh-length bathrobe with pretty pink roses while screaming in the street in front of your pearl-clutching neighbors.