This is not a post I am proud to share. Part of me cannot believe I am even sharing this publicly, but hopefully others can relate. This Mom is on a time out. A self-inflicted position in recognition of reaching my limit. My rope has run out. After a stressful few weeks, sleep deprivation, ruined plans, and kids who excel at testing the limits, I am done.
I wave the white flag. This is an alternative to my own Mommy Dearest moment the next time I see Legos scattered all over the floor. Why, why do Legos always seem to multiply? I love the STEM skills they provide, but they may be the most frustrating toy to have around the house. This is especially true when little ones occupy the same play space. I swear the sets are growing in detail, but smaller in size. Help us parents out, Lego!
A while back, one of our weekends started off like any other, with added excitement over Easter coming up. I picked my eldest daughter up from school early ready to make some special Easter memories. Such expectations quickly went out the window when the sugar craze that accompanies this holiday set in earlier than expected. One hyper child leads to another. The entire egg decorating experience was a disaster filled with whining and stained furniture.
I should have gotten the hint that things may not go to plan at that point. In fact, would only get worse during the car ride to celebrate Easter with family. The entire ride was filled by toddler squeals. At times my husband and I revel in those sounds of delight, but recently such sounds have morphed from delight to frustration. In a tone that is the perfect pitch to leave your head ringing. Often, I can tune it out, but even Mom can be broken.
Easter weekend then concluded in sickness. The only thing worse than a sick toddler, is a sick toddler that is verbally delayed and struggles to communicate her needs. Wow, I sound heartless there. Don’t get me wrong, it is terrible to see her miserable knowing there is little I can do but let the cold run its course. I would like nothing more than to make her feel better. It is just that the cute squeals mentioned above are now accompanied by screaming and cling. Yet the cling is not the adoring cuddles young kids tend to offer. It was a cry for attention, that when met, only caused more screams. My attempts to make her feel better were not well received. Luckily, I could sneak the Tylenol into her milk to offer some relief. Still, the mild fever and faucet for a nose persisted cancelling all remaining Easter plans.
Not quite the family holiday we envisioned. A lesson on expectations, one that I am a little dense on learning in motherhood. Oh, how I envisioned a magical morning of Easter baskets and egg hunts followed by church, nap and a nice family dinner. Meanwhile, we would be adorned in our Easter best ready for a memorable family photo op. Instead, I only got pictures of my girls’ backs, outfitted in their PJs, devouring their baskets. Since PJs are the required attire for sick days that is how we stayed. The Easter dresses stayed freshly pressed in the closet. Few photos were taken as I cannot really say it is a day I want to remember.
Can I also attribute weather to my Mom Time Out? I felt like there was a shared frustration even among the most seasoned Minnesotans on the prolonged winter. The last round of snow really broke my spirit. I longed for warmer days and bright sunshine. I think the kids felt it too, as they are craving more fresh air. It is a cruel joke to get a blanket of snow, yet not able to really enjoy it because the temperatures won’t reach freezing even in April. I think being cooped inside for months on end certainly played a factor in behavior problems. At least I hope so, as that means improvement is possible as the weather warms.
All these factors have resulted to my Mom Time Out. It’s my realization that I have reached my limit and I have little more to give. My fantasy of a solo getaway is far from realistic, but serves as a reminder to prioritize self-care to find more balance. It is amazing what a bit of me-time can do to rejuvenate myself for the next day of love-filled chaos.
I feel this way while acknowledging that on the whole I am very lucky. I have a husband who is home most evenings and shares the load of parenting. We also have family nearby that offer support whenever needed. I find that problems arise in my own life when my husband and I reach our limit at the same time, when we are not able to balance each other out as the kids push different buttons in each of us. I reference the squealing above. It is nails on a chalkboard to my husband who cannot get over the noise.
Anyway, here I am collecting my thoughts taking a moment away from the chaos. A time out from my adorable family and present with my thoughts. At the same time, my husband never seemed so happy to head out the door to work this morning…