The whole parenting thing, I mean. Sometimes, I suck at it. Today, in fact, I sucked a lot. I'm super stressed out, my landlord announced that he's moving back in and we have to find a place in less than a month. I'm financially stressed to the max, emotionally worn out and so tightly wound that I can barely stop shaking. And I'm a crappy mom when those circumstances exist. I'd really like to be endlessly patient and calm. Serene, even.
But the truth is that my kids in inextricably linked to my emotions. When I'm a wreck, they're wrecks right along with me. Which means that they're going to be having more tantrums, they're going to be clingier and fussier and more demanding. At a time when my patience is nonexistent, and my energies are focused on making sure that we can keep a roof over our head - it's not an excuse, I know I'm a crappy parent, but it's a bit of an explanation to make myself feel better.
I yelled at Sam today. A lot. Screamed at him, really. He's developed a technique of just opening his mouth and screaming at the top of his lungs when things don't go his way. He's frustrated and just hollers. Loudly, incoherently and constantly. It makes me crazy. How does he know so perfectly how to push my buttons? I can say, officially, that screaming back at him does not help. It doesn't make him stop. It doesn't make me feel better, and it sure doesn't diffuse the situation. I'm not sure what would work, honestly, to fix it. I'll keep trying. I think what works is actually when I stay completely zen and not react at all. When I lose control, it just feeds into it. I thought this was unique to Jessie - because Sam hasn't really gone down the road of making me nuts with temper tantrums, but I'm now thinking that maybe it's just something that all my kids do, once they hit five years old. I'm great with infants, toddlers, preschoolers. Maybe I'm just crap with five year olds.
Serenity. Calm. Peace. These are what I want. These are what I need. These are what I must cultivate. Deep breaths. Remember that these are temporary problems, with easy solutions. I just need to find them. And I will.
Because really, my kids need a fully functional mother. And a screaming lunatic is not really my idea of fully functional.