Patience

MaSh-Lawrence OrbackI’m not a terribly patient person. In fact, that’s probably an gross understatement. Kind of like our friend Lawrence over there from SNL sychronized swimmers who states that he’s not that….strong a swimmer.

I’ve started listening to an awesome podcast called “One Bad Mother“.  I like it because it’s 2 women discussing motherhood like I have for so long here. They’re honest about their failures and they don’t put on a rosy face that motherhood is all sunshine, roses and unicorn farts. Yes, they swear. A lot. More than me. But you know what? Sometimes being a mother makes you swear. *gasp* I know, I know. It’s just so difficult to believe that every waking moment of motherhood isn’t the glorious, angel-choir filled, perfectly delicious, big rock candy mountain. It’s HARD. It makes you angrier than you’ve ever thought you could be. It makes you cry. It makes you punch furniture. It makes you think you will never make it through the day.

Sometimes.

But what allows it to continue is that the rewards are far greater. For every moment where I want to pull out my hair and throw it at my children, there are more moments where I am amazed & in awe. So – it all works out in the end.

Anyway. I love this podcast. It’s what I wish I’d had the gumption to create maybe 5 or 6 years ago. When I was in the midst of my blogging, nothing made me CRAZIER than looking around online and seeing nothing but moms talking about all the crafty projects they were doing WITH their children and how they were going on this or that excursion or just how magically precocious their babies were. How nothing was out of place, nothing was out of whack, nobody wanted for anything and NOBODY was struggling, dammit. Because, you know what? I WAS STRUGGLING. I still am, for crying out loud. Just because I have 4 kids doesn’t mean I have anything figured out. In fact, more often than not, I’m out of my mind. Just ask my oldest 2.

It drove me crazy. It seemed like nobody was being honest about their experience. It made me want to start pushing people down the stairs because, as a mom, when you read nothing but stuff like that, you honestly think something must be wrong with you. If you aren’t enjoying the BLAZES out of every moment with your perfectly exquisite children, teaching them, pushing them, creating with them; you are a failure. There seemed to be no room for moms who were simply thankful that at the end of the day, everyone was still alive.

So, I find Biz & Theresa refreshing, entertaining & they are keeping me afloat some days. Though if I’m 100% honest, many times I listen to what they’re struggling with and it’s all I can do to not scream, “OHMYGOD, YOU HAVE NO IDEA. I WISH THAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I HAVE TO DEAL WITH”. Then I have a deep breath and remind myself that parenting is not a competition – thought there are those out there who will never get that.

OH MY GOSH – ANYWAY. I am a digressing machine today. So. They did a show on patience back last year & I just listened to it recently. This, my dear friends, is my biggest struggle. I have the patience of a moth on crystal meth in the lighting department of Menard’s. I sometimes feel bad for my kids because I will say something once – and that’s the only normal response they’ll get. If I have to say it twice? I’m thisclose to yelling. A third time? It’s a scream. Let’s explain.

There are two things about me that conflict with my children. One is my sensory problems. I don’t like people hovering around me, touching me, my hair or, especially, my face. I have 3 boys who seem to be afflicted in the opposite way, sensory-wise. Steven loves to hover and follow. Henry cannot be near you without being overcome with love/excitement and beating you up or clinging on to you like a monkey and humping your leg. William wants to sleep – not just WITH me, but ON me. Atop me. He wants to constantly be hugging me, touching me, poking me. He’ll sit right next to me on the bed, wrap his arms completely around the arm I’m using to work with, and gently, ANNOYINGLY, stroke his cheek against my arm. I know this is on me. I know it’s my issue – not theirs. But this kind of sensory overload makes me want to pull my skin off, douse myself in rock salt, set myself on fire and run screaming through the neighborhood shouting, ‘IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!” I literally physically struggle to allow them to have what they need from me without yanking my body away from them and screaming like a pterodactyl.

The other issue is being constantly questioned. (I know – ‘geez, Christy, why’d you even bother having kids?’) I cannot stand having to explain myself, what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, what’s happening today, etc. I literally loathe it. Therefore, God gave me children who have to know who I was talking to on the phone, what were we talking about, what did this sentence mean, and on and on and on. Even when I say, “Sweetie, it’s not your business – it had nothing to do with you.” it does not get dropped. I cannot stand it. Inevitably, it ends with me shouting, “MIND. YOUR. OWN. BUSINESS.” and alienating said child.

Let’s give an example. Yesterday (Christy doesn’t have to go back very far), I had to run out for LITERALLY 15 minutes to take Maggie to a friend’s house. I left Steven in charge. When I returned, I smelled something that I recognized but could not place. I entered the kitchen to see powder on the floor. What…..? I go to put my bag down and look into the dining room and living room to see POWDER FREAKING EVERYWHERE. In big piles. In little piles. Tracked by bare feet from here to there. On the baseboards. Then I recognize the smell: Gold Bond Medicated Powder. An entire bottle now decorates every hardwood floor on the 1st floor of our house. And as I walk over to where the culprit, William, is hiding in the closet, Henry leaps up, comes over to me, flops down on the floor in the biggest pile and grabs a handful to throw at me. Because, well, Christmas, I guess.

There are no words to describe the level of furious I was at this moment. How the hell do I clean this up? I tried to sweep it into piles and THAT was like gathering mercury from a broken thermometer. I grabbed the vacuum and sucked it up the best I could, coating the vacuum wand, tubes, HEPA filter, brushes and every internal component with a thick yet superfine mist of menthol powder. I had to stop because Dyson (with the proper amount of suction) was screeching at me. Next stop, cleaning wipes. Steven and I got down on our hands and knees and wiped the kitchen, dining room, and living room floors with an entire pack of Kirkland cleaning wipes. Then, out came the wood floor cleaner and microfiber mop. One round. Replace the mop head. Then another. Both mop heads down to wash.

THE FLOORS ARE STILL NOT CLEAN. There’s a white, pasty haze that looks like construction in happening in our house. Or that a cocaine factory exploded. Between every board is a lovely white stripe.

By this time, I am cursing, I am SWEATING, I am literally pulsating with rage. After giving William a spank (two swats on his pull-up covered bottom) and putting him in time out on the stairs until the cleaning was finished (for today), I went back to quiz him on what he thought. Yes, it was wrong, he said. Yes, he knew it was wrong, he said. “But,” he declared indignantly, “it got all over MY SKYLANDERS!”

Which….if I was remembering correctly…..were not downstairs. In fact……they were up IN MY ROOM. I ran upstairs to discover that, indeed, his Skylanders that were in my room were ALSO covered in powder. AS WAS EVERY SURFACE IN MY ROOM because magic boy dumped the powder in the RUNNING FAN. Leaving a thin layer of menthol lung-coat on my bed, my dresser, my curtains, my vanity, my bookshelves, the clean laundry in the basket, the floor, all my books and my OPEN LAPTOP.

That’s when my top blew. Because dude still had no concept of the fact that HE DID THIS. The Skylanders are covered in powder BECAUSE OF YOU. And, I’m afraid I didn’t respond in a motherly manner. In fact, my response veered far more toward the way the bellhop in Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety responded as he delivered the newspaper to Mel in the shower. (If you haven’t seen this, FIND IT. The only clip I could find wouldn’t embed here. This movie is comedy GOLD)

That was my tone of voice, unfortunately. Though I didn’t say, “Here’s your paper”. I said, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? YOU DID THIS?????? YOU!!!!!!!!!!!DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” So, patience. Not so much. But I am considering calling in to Biz & Theresa’s show with this Fail story. Because I do not think any mother out there can fail with the total commitment I can.

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