Being a stay at home parent is honestly the hardest job I've ever had....and the most awesome. Today, Zoe and I had a little...disagreement. I admit I was reacting poorly to the confirmed news that Nathan has to spend another full weekend in the library and, while I know we will end up having fun together, the thought of spending two whole days alone with the kids with no plans in mind whatsoever....well, it left me feeling a little claustrophobic. It's so hard to feel this way when you have little people to take care of, because you never get a minute to just breath and have a little quiet time to psych yourself up for the work ahead. Instead, if you are me, you have a 5 month old baby who is getting stronger and stronger and is wriggling, pinching and pulling so much that I feel like I'm wrestling a little pig or something when he's fussy. Add to that a 3 year old who feels like she has to be physically touching me, if not completely climbing all over or sitting on top of me (yes, even when I'm nursing dear, little piglet) and you get a recipe for a little mommy break-down on a day like today when I'm feeling less than up to the challenge.
Anyway, I'll spare the details but we were in the kids' room and Zoe was just throwing demand after demand at me (just as a 3 year old should, frankly) and I, all of the sudden just told her I couldn't take her telling me what to do anymore and that I needed a break from her. I tried leaving the room and she grabbed the door and told me to sit down. We played tug of war a little more with the door while she experimented with different ways to "ask" me to read to her. I finally said I'd read one more book but that I just needed some time after that. I'm not proud to admit that I choked back tears the whole time I was reading the book...I just couldn't help it--imagine a small 4 ft x 4 ft box and what it would feel like to be stuffed inside and that's how I felt in that moment. I just wanted to bust out and breath for a few minutes.
Then, miraculously when I finished reading, Zoe said these words: "What are you going to do now, Mommy?"...and it was just the thing I needed to hear right then. I was so grateful that she had heard what I'd said and respected it, that I felt that box open up with enough room for me to gingerly step out. I told her I needed something to eat and she happily bounced along with me and we recharged with a snack before getting ready to go to art class. At one point, after I was feeling better I said:
Me: Hey Zoe? I'm sorry. I was feeling stressed out and I took it out on you.
Zoe: What did you took out?
Me: It means that I'm stressed out and the way I dealt with that feeling was to be mean to you and that was wrong. I'm sorry for that.
Zoe: I'm sorry
Me: Well, you don't have to be sorry--I'm the one that was mean.
Zoe: Do you know what it means when two people say they are sorry?
Me: No, what?
Zoe: It means they are both sorry and I'm sorry cuz I was mean too.
I just wanted to give her the biggest hug and kiss known worldwide and that's just what I did. Later, when we were walking into art class I got this sensation that the two of us (not quite Owen yet--while babyhood has it's challenges, it's nothing compared to 2's and 3's...) are partners in a battle. She's trying to learn how to navigate through life and I'm trying to learn how to guide her. Sometimes we take it out on each other but in the end we always stick together and, even though there are millions and millions of other parent/kid teams out there, no one can ever know exactly what we go through together every day. In a strange way, hard days like this make me feel even more that I need to treasure every part of this. It's going to be gone in a minute and I'll be wishing there was something I could do to get even one day back from this time in our journey as a family. Challenging times with these kiddos always reminds me of something my sister Emily said when I was pregnant with Zoe: "If it wasn't so hard, it wouldn't be so rewarding."
That being said, I'm really psyched that it's the end of the day and the next thing I have on my to do list is to go relax with Nathan and drink a glass of wine....