Saturday was a bad day. It started out pretty good, I woke up early so I could work before my family got up, I knew we were going to have a day of working on the yard and I was looking forward to it. We hadn’t had a weekend home all together for over two weeks.
Things were going well and then my 4 year old lost his mind over something trivial. This is not unusual, 4 year olds lose their shit often, I think it’s because of the lacking in the prefrontal cortex. Until that baby is wired, nothing is really logical which results in fanatical escapades about small things like socks and where a hot wheel has made it off too. He spat at me in anger, I promptly put him in time out. More crying, more yelling, I was just trying to get through it.
In spite of the craziness, I was able to maintain my cool. Husband and said 4 year old went out while I was on dance duty. My 7 year old asked if I could put stickers on her nails, I said I would love to when we got back from dance. What happened next was a flurry of rage, screaming at the top of her lungs and lunging at me with ferocious anger. Again, I managed to stay calm …until I couldn’t.
She screamed at me for 15 minutes. Once she started throwing things I picked her up and put her in her room, letting her know that her behaviour made me feel unsafe and was unacceptable. She screamed something and I slammed my door so hard I broke a portion of the door. This finally made her stop screaming and I sat on the floor, crushed. I had lost my temper (again) and the guilt…ooooh that mother guilt, it’s thick, juicy and palpable. It sits right on your heart like an anvil and crushes your throat, making it difficult to breathe.
We hugged, forgave, made up…then to dance.
I got home, my husband was working wordlessly in the yard. I tried to strike up conversation and he told me to fuck off.
Yet, still staying calm because I’m the one out of all four of us that can manage their feelings best but when I get overwhelmed, the whole facade falls apart. Apparently as a mother I don’t have the right to lose my shit and when I do…I’m failing. What a load of bullshit.
I work in the yard, physical labour often helps move energy although this time, it didn’t really work.
I abandon ship, taking my dog for a walk and listening to a song from 1999, the time when I was moving away from being someone’s daughter and before I was anyone’s mother or wife.
The time when I belonged to myself.
My twenties. The last time I really, truly belonged to just me. There is such a longing to feel this way again, it’s a deep ache, right under the anvil of mother guilt on my chest and it is tender to the touch.
I believe it is what we really mean when we are talking about ‘self-care.’
So then the question that is begging to be asked is how can I, as a wife and mother, belong to myself?
I look at my planner and my goals for the day are 20 minutes with each kid and 20 minutes with my husband so everyone feels connected and taken care of. I had somehow missed out the 20 minutes with myself…20 minutes not doing anything for anyone else.
Therefore, I’ve decided I can belong to myself with a daily practice of solitude. Quiet solitude is what I am really wanting. Maybe via meditation, maybe walking, maybe lying in the middle of the floor…but it has become clear to me that this is crucial if I’m going to get out alive, and honestly not just alive, but vital, happy, fulfilled, and free. I want my cup so full and I have so much to give that it spills forth freely, with ease and grace. So I MUST practice belonging to myself, it is imperative.
And maybe get a pair of earplugs.