Can I Just Start Over Today?

Do you ever have those days when nothing is going right, and you just want to say “Cut! Can we try that again?”
Yesterday was one of those days for me. I had arranged to meet at the library with a couple friends and their kids, but in getting ready, my son refused to get dressed. As I was about to get in the shower, my newborn daughter decided she was hungry. She’s always hungry at the most opportune times. I knew I wouldn’t have time to shower after feeding her, so I just put on some deodorant and pulled my hair into a pony tail and called it good.

Then there was the usual struggle that I go through every time I attempt to leave the house. “Put your shoes on! Where’s your coat? No we don’t have time to play in the snow! Get in the car! You know how to buckle yourself! Fine! I’ll do it myself so we won’t be even more late!”

I was nearly a half hour late to the library, and I entered the scene hot mess mom style. I had my moby wrap on so I could use both hands to bring the older kids inside, but when I took my coat off, one of my friends noticed that my shirt was halfway up my back. She helped me get everything situated, but by the time I got the kids’ coats off, I was too exhausted to even carry on a conversation.

This led my friends to believe I was upset with them. I wasn’t. I was more upset that my kids didn’t cooperate, embarrassed about the Moby wrap wardrobe malfunction, upset with myself that I was late, overstimulated by how many other moms were there with their kids. I just wanted to pack up and leave. 

But I stayed for about an hour. I sat and observed all the kids playing together and noticed how awkward my kids were interacting with the other kids. It’s no surprise to me, since I don’t leave the house unless I have to. But it was yet another reminder that I have failed as a parent to give my children opportunities to socialize.

As we were getting ready to leave, I told my oldest daughter to get her coat on, and she ran the opposite direction laughing. At this point, my kids had all gone in 3 different directions. I lost my patience. Meanwhile, these other moms were calm and collected, and their children were actually listening to them. Another manifestation that I have failed.

I managed to get everyone rounded up and out to the van. My husband had forgotten his lunch and had asked if I would go to the grocery store and pick something up for him. By the time I had left the library and gone across town, I realized I wouldn’t have time to get all the kids out of the car, go into the store, get food, check out, go back to the car, get everyone buckled, and go drop off the food at my husband’s work. So I did what seemed the most logical at the time… I went through the drive thru at Chick Fil A! I love their food, but I end up wasting a lot of money there. A lot of money that I don’t have. So of course that added to the financial worry aspect of my stress level.

I dropped off the food, and headed home. When we got inside, all I wanted to do was sleep. After we ate and I fed my baby, I put in a movie, and laid down on the couch. And you guessed it… I fell asleep.

When I woke up, there were Rice Krispies on the floor in the kitchen, milk spilled on the carpet in my sons’ bedroom, and peanut butter spots on my son’s bed. Those messes were mild compared to some I’ve had to clean up, but I wasn’t happy with them.

When my husband got home, he noticed a mouse just outside our house. So when he came inside and saw the Rice Krispies still on the floor, he lectured about how we can’t let the food stay on the floor because we don’t want the mouse to come inside. Yes, that’s a logical statement that should come to be, but it just wasn’t the right timing. I was already feeling like a failure, and that just made me feel worse.

I went to go clean out the van so my husband could go pick up a table and chairs (free on a garage sale site!), and as I was cleaning, I heard a mouse in the garage. Great! Just what we needed!

I came inside and started cleaning up the kitchen. When my husband got back from getting the table and chairs, I was mopping the kitchen floor, and he asked me “What’s going on?”… Does there have to be something going on for me to clean? But my husband knows me too well. I’m not a slob, but he knows that I only clean if there’s a good reason to clean. For me, hearing that mouse was a wake up call.

I finished cleaning up the kitchen and started on dinner. I made a recipe that my mom used to make all the time when I was a kid, but I hadn’t made it for my family yet. Everyone loved it.

Then it was bedtime for the kids, which they fought somewhat. I could then have a conversation with my husband. He could tell something was wrong, but I couldn’t articulate what it was. I told him that I still hadn’t heard back from any of the places I had applied for a job. I just started to cry, and let him know of my worries, concerns, and feelings of inadequacy. But he helped me to realize that I didn’t fail.

I took my kids to the library and gave them the opportunity to interact with other kids. I brought him lunch instead of letting him starve. I gave the kids lunch that was more than just a PB & J sandwich. I cleaned the kitchen to prevent a mouse entering the house. I fed the kids dinner. I found an awesome deal on a table and chairs so we didn’t have to spend money. Perhaps I’m doing better than I give myself credit for.

Well… today’s a new day! I have the power to be positive. I am not doomed to failure. I only fail if I give up. And I haven’t given up yet!

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