There is such a stigma to be the perfect mother. Then, when you put everything you have into achieving this goal, it slowly eats away at any ounce of soul you have left. Believe me, I am not a stranger to this illusion. I too, once looked down at the mother whose daughter’s hair was not brushed and face was dirty. I found joy in rolling my eyes at the woman in Wal-Mart with the screaming cart of 4 children, and when I walked into a home that was not manicured to perfection I talked incessantly of it for days to come. It is only now that I am beginning to see what it is that I was truly judging.
Oh how I miss the existence of one infant child who looks lovingly into your eyes and puts their complete and unreserved trust into, you; their wonderful, neat as a new pin, mother. Then at some point there is a shift, and rebellion starts. The tot that once could do no wrong, grows into a child that will challenge you at any chance they get.
My patience and tolerance has diminish considerably over the last four years. I used to be laid back and easy going, I really did. I loved spontaneity and ‘fly by night’ ideas. Now, if something comes up suddenly or my plans get slightly skewed; stress, anxiety and frustration flood me like the overpowering waves of a tempest, destroying anything in its midst. I deal with stress much differently than in my younger days too. I used to get mad, and voice my frustration, like any normal individual. I now simply cry. I cry and cry and cry and cry. I can’t control it, I will cry in the solitude of my home, in public stores, I will even cry while driving. Why this horrific outbreak of emotions has taken me over is beyond me, it is embarrassing as my ‘cry face’ is not becoming in the slightest. I will feel that characteristic lump in my throat, followed quickly by a salty fluid overflowing my eyeballs, hyperventilation then sets in and my face crumples into a muddle of nervous tension while bawls of sorrow burst out of me in a timely fashion. Believe me when I tell you, this spectacle is not an appealing one.
Along with my new found crying feature, I have also became a stickler for punctuality. I think it may border obsessive compulsive as I have an unattainable urge to be 10 minutes early to everything. Lars’ schools drop off time is 1:05pm, and every day we leave the house at 12:45pm, only to have to wait outside the school for 10 minutes until the doors are unlocked and we are allowed to gain entrance. Why would I not wait until 12:55pm to leave the house? As it only takes 5 minutes to get there. But no, every day I make the same neurotic blunder.
And it doesn’t stop there, I get stressed when we might be late for our 10 minute early arrival.
This morning, was an especially stressful one. Our new roommate who is currently residing in the basement dwelling had just moved in and the kids are being loud. They are screaming, just to hear themselves and the walls and floors in my house are as thin as cheap diapers. ‘He knows what he was moving in with, don’t worry about it.’ My friend Janelle advises me as I explain my qualms about the kids waking him up with their excessive clamour. It doesn’t help. I look at the clock and see, good god it is already 12:30pm, I don’t even have Lars’ bag packed for school. The tension is rising. I quickly attempt to get my shit together and by the time I am attempting to get the kids in their winter gear to leave it is 12:54pm. This is bad, really bad. Sophie then makes my state of affairs worse by refusing to let me put her left boot on, she chucks the boot into the living room and I feel a familiar lump begin to form. I hold back, and take a breath. Staying calm is my best approach and finally wrestle the boot onto her foot. Our front steps are icy and I try to get the kids down them without slipping but that is a colossal fail as I trip and bring the babies down with me. Physically were okay, but they are both crying and I am quickly on the verge of joining them. We get to the van door, again Sophie is causing me problems as she wants to try to get into her seat without assistance. She is in that phase now, ‘I do it, Mama, I do it.’ I want to let her accomplish it, and gain that self satisfaction, but that proverbial clock is ticking and my stress levels rising. Lars gets into his seat and awaits me to strap him in, all the while my sweet two year old struggles to get into the damn vehicle. She slips, she cries. I strap her into the car seat. She is not happy about it. They are both screaming bloody murder at this point, I can’t decipher when Lars joined in on the cries for attention. But it is now that I break.
“STOP! Enough you two, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!!” I roar to make myself heard over the two, and also to get out a bit of my own frustration. I catch something out of the corner of my eye and look to my left. A neighbour is watching the fiasco, looking at me with a pitiful, pathetic sort of stare and I want to go over there and punch them square in the nose. I don’t. I pretend not to see the golly gawker and proceed into the driver’s seat after securing in the kids. I only drive for a few seconds before I feel it happening. The tears start flowing and I wonder if I should pull over. I’m not sure if crying while driving is considered a ‘Distracted Driving’ offense. I take my chances, I can’t risk being any more late, than we already are. As we pull up to the school I look at the digital clock on the van’s dashboard and see it is 1:04pm. I provide a moan of relief and look at my reflection in the rear-view mirror. My make-up is everywhere, why do I even apply the stuff, I wonder as I try to clean myself up before entering the building. Lars addresses me,
“Mama, sorry we not listening. I love you. Don’t cry.”
If it wasn’t for the fact, that I know I have to make an appearance in only mere seconds to other human beings I would have started a whole new regime of crying, this time out of love and redemption though.
I always considered that this torrent of sentiment stemmed from an overtired, under-appreciated and overall frazzled lifestyle. But today, as I am writing this script I realize it is none of these things that make me so poignant. I have stress, hopefully most mothers do. We have stress because of the little people we love so deeply. All we want is the best for them, and sometimes that notion overcomes rational thinking.
Although I will try to keep the blubbering to a minimal, I won’t feel ashamed about it anymore. There will always be something to stress about, and I will never stop worrying about the welfare of my kids. As they grow older, and more than likely I become more emotional, they will almost certainly become mortified and exasperated with me, but I have faith that one day they will understand and appreciate the fact that, sometimes moms cry too.
I may not ever get a ‘Mother of the Year’ award; I yell and don’t always think to use ‘positive reinforcements’ and clearly, I often let my emotions get the best of me. But I know that I will never love something more, than I do my children.