It is time for that 3’ish weeks every Spring where I’m miserable from allergies. I get various levels of relief from various medicines, but then the side-effects of those medicines cause an assortment of issues. Or maybe there’s the side effects of just being exhausted from not being able to sleep restfully for long periods of time. Basically, it’s 3’ish weeks of feeling different shades of shitty. And of course, whenever I feel shitty, the first things that is sacrificed is my parenting skills.
After I picked up the kids from school yesterday, things went South faster than I could say, “Where are the Kleenexes?”
I basically had no patience from the moment they got into the car. This led to an afternoon of yelling and crying and it all culminated into my first ever, “Both of you! Go to bed NOW!” I’ve never sent my kids to bed early before, but last night? I did. And I enjoyed every extra minute of quiet that it gave me.
And of course I slept horribly again. When my sneezing and coughing wasn’t waking me up, my intense parental guilt was. I hate afternoons like yesterday because I become the parent that I hated as a child. I do everything to my kids that I hated being done to me. And then they react the same way I did as a child, apologizing profusely and begging for love. Which adds immense parent guilt on top of the space left from disappearing patience.
All because of the damn pollen. DAMN YOU, SPRING.
I don’t know.
Logically, I understand that there are no perfect parents. Logically, I understand we all have bad days. Logically, I understand that beating myself up over my bad parenting does no one any good. Logically, I understand that in the big picture, I do a good job by my kids, and that these bad days are not representative of the whole.
But man…EMOTIONALLY? I just hate myself. Emotionally, I’m embarrassed for myself. Emotionally, I’m ashamed of myself. Emotionally, I’m heartbroken for my kids who deserve a better me than I gave them yesterday. Emotionally, I wonder what their future therapist will blame on me.
I’d love to say, “Today is going to be a good day!” But I still slept horribly last night and there’s still pollen in the air and trees blooming in the city. We had some rain and there’s a cold spell hitting today, so maybe my allergies will be a little gentler today. But still…I’m exhausted and I have a headache and this cough is killing me. So, the recipe for “Great Day Of Parenting!” is missing some key ingredients. And it becomes a vicious cycle anyway, doesn’t it? We feel shitty because we were shitty parents and that makes us feel shitty which makes us shitty parents all over again.
It’s the non-stop cycle of shitty parenting. Shitty produces shitty.
Sorry for the excessive use of mid-level profanity.
So, I won’t make any promises. Logically, I know I need to be kind to myself. But emotionally, I hate myself for being such a…(shitty?) parent. Maybe I’ll just take it one step at a time today. Just try to think before I react. Maybe halt the emotional instincts that are motivated by illness and exhaustion and just add a beat of deliberation before I react. That’s not too much to ask of myself, I don’t think. Today? I’ll just wait a beat before I say or do anything. Give time to let the exhausted impatient reaction to fizzle a bit before it erupts from me. Then, at least everything will be toned down a notch.
And then, maybe in a few days I’ll feel better. And then, THEN, I can try to be a good Mom again.
Today? I’ll just set my sights at being Less Shitty.