Today I feel like a terrible mom.
Our usual morning bedlam while we try to feed, dress and organise everybody in a tiny slice of time, was particularly chaotic today. Because our domestic worker is on leave I had spent a long time cleaning, tidying and re-tidying our home, often running around after my family and picking up the same old things after them (I’m looking at you, towels, toothbrushes and stray shoes), because when we arrive home this evening it will be with company, so I’d like my home to be neat and tidy. The one kid kept escaping, half-dressed, down to the bottom of the garden and bellowing when it was brought back inside. One was trying to do its own hair, then freaking out because the brush kept getting stuck in knots but refusing to accept help, and one was adding fuel to the fire by egging its siblings on big time, then standing back and sweetly polishing its halo.
Domestic bliss, am I right?
Already snappy and nearing breaking point, I completely lost the plot when I came downstairs after brushing my teeth to find The Guy feeding last night’s leftover pizza to the dog, picking off and dropping slimy, messy toppings on the floor which he then point-blank refused to tidy up! I had just had enough!
I screamed, I ranted, I threatened that they would all just be left home alone for the day. It wasn’t pretty.
In the end, we arrived at school after the doors had already been closed and I dropped a tearful Lulu Pie off at her classroom and dragged a tantruming Guy to his, all the while looking like a thunder cloud myself.
It’s a funny thing, because while I knew that restoring peace and order was 100% up to me, and although I was painfully aware that this would probably mean that my little ones were being set up for an anxious, emotional sort of day, in the moment I was just simply unable to dial my own frustration back long enough to soothe them and ‘be the adult’, something I’m usually pretty good at doing. Logic was beaten back by emotion.
And now, here I sit feeling absolutely awful. I’m worrying about how their days are going, picturing miserable, insecure children who only remember their angry Mama. Worrying because today is their very first day of aftercare- because there is nobody at home today they have to stay at school until 5. While I was already concerned that The Guy may not cope with such a long day, now I’m also worrying that will they think that I have abandoned them, or that they are being punished because of the morning’s meltdowns. Lulu Pie has a movie night at school this evening, her first night function. Without a positive, relaxed foundation today, will she be okay with the late night without her Mama there?
It’s the mantra of Motherhood: Worry, worry, worry.
In my heart I know that they are probably running wild and carefree right now, giggling with their friends, merrily dribbling paint down their arms, swinging from the monkey bars and enjoying their snacks, the trauma of this morning completely forgotten. I know that their wonderful teachers, both aware of what went down in our world this morning, will be making an extra special effort to watch them and make sure that there are no ‘wobbles’, and comforting them if there are. But the thing about being a mom is that, until I have seen them with my own two eyes and reassured myself that they are actually not sitting in a ball in the corner, rocking themselves and sobbing, I will be unsettled and consumed by mom-guilt. It’s part of the job description.
Good job, Friday the Thirteenth, good job. Now hurry up and pass please – I need to fetch my kids from school. Only 7 hours to go!