He is screaming with all his might, as he trots behind me. I am walking at a brisk pace, wanting to put distance between us and his school, and get to the car as quickly as possible, so we can whisk ourselves out of there, sparing the building inhabitants, the showdown I’m convinced is about to happen.
He stops, his legs seem to buckle, and I pause, turn around and see that he’s about to prostrate himself on the ground. A full-blown tantrum is about to occur. Do I stop and pick him up? Look him in the eye and tell him to get a grip? Do I hold him by the shoulders and tell him that I will not stand for this, that he will not get his way, can we please just get out of here?
I turn back around, and walk the last few paces to the car, unlock it, turn the engine on. He runs towards us. I know my son. He is too cautious and wary to lose sight of me. He worries he’ll get left behind. He’s still crying. His face is red, his forehead as sweaty as mine is. Unmoved, I tell him to get into the car and he does. I can almost touch his resistance. Without another word, I move to the other side, buckle the toddler into his seat, who has been strapped around my chest this whole time, bewildered by the commotion.
He is still bawling. I am still unmoved. I buckle him in, get into my seat and zoom off. I turn on the radio, and turn it up. It’s music versus my son’s voice. No one is winning.
As suddenly as it started, it stops. I look at him through the rear view mirror, and see that he’s calmed somewhat. Still taking gasping breaths, but calmer.
I feel like crying myself. I catch the lump in my throat before it moves to my eyes, to stop stupid prickling tears threatening to blur my vision.
The mood is sombre as we arrive home. I hand out lunches and the TV is turned on. I head to the bathroom, quietly locking the door.
I hate myself. I am a terrible mother. I don’t love this. Why is this happening? Why can’t he be like other kids? Why does everyone’s children seem so well-behaved? Why can’t I be more zen? I am totally fucking them up. They will grow up to detest me. I am terrible at this. I don’t love this, I don’t love this, I don’t love this. Why don’t I love it? All of it?
It is a day, one of many, where I count down the hours to bedtime. It is a day when I just want to be left alone, nobody touch me, please. It is the day when I am convinced that I suck, I really, really suck. It is a day when I feel unworthy. It is a day I wonder if that’s their lot, to be stuck with me, such a shitty, shitty parent. It’s a day when I just don’t love this motherhood thing much.
This post was really, really difficult to write. I did not write this to ask anyone to tell me that I am not a shitty parent. I wrote it because motherhood, at least from where I sit, is not all sunshine and rainbows. I wrote this because I want to be honest – to myself, my children, to you. It’s not always peace, calm and joy. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, it’s fucking hard. Most days, I question myself endlessly. And every single day, I love my boys. I love them fiercely with all my being. It doesn’t make it any less difficult. It just makes it easier to get up in the morning to do it all over again. And that, is the real picture.
PS: I do not suffer from depression or any other mental illness.
Linking up with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out.
I’d love for you to check out my friend, Greta of Gfunkified’s blog auction to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She has 45 items up for bidding from September 30 to October 7, and all the information is on her Facebook page and blog. There are amazing items like jewelry, gift certificates, handmade items. Buy something nice, and do a good thing! Thank you.