I know what you might be saying. You are the mother of two toddlers. Patience is hard to come by. I agree. I would say the same thing to another mother. Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can. But I’m not talking to another mother. I’m talking to myself. And we all know we can’t ease up on ourselves the way we can on others, especially because we know ourselves too well. I know the real deal about me and I know that though I want an out, I shouldn’t give myself one for yesterday because, the truth is, sometimes I’m just an impatient bitch.
I’ve had a major head-cold-sinus-throat-thingy this whole week. I’ve gone to bed earlier this week than probably any other this year. By Tuesday, I had already wished the week away especially since at the end of the year, there are so many events and commitments floating around on our calendar that I almost can’t wait to fly home to NJ just so that I’ll have a little less to do. Don’t get me wrong – they are all fun, fun, fun events but there are soooo many. Even party people get tired of parties sometimes.
We had one of these fun, little gatherings on Tuesday evening that was supposed to be an “adults ONLY evening” for Husband and I but when we got home and saw our nanny on the couch miserable with a migraine our plans changed. We took the kiddos with us to the party. This is not the first time we’ve taken them to a bar because we live in a country that allows you to take your kids everywhere you go without so much as a stank eye, but this was probably the first place in my three years here that I didn’t enjoy taking them. It wasn’t the restaurant’s fault by any means, it just isn’t the kind of place set up for sprightly, screaming toddlers. Let’s just say it was as good a time as it could have been with Hoodlum and Hellion running around waiters with full drinks on full drink trays.
The next morning, I peeled myself out of bed, straightened my busted ass hair, got dressed, and put my make up on and then got the phone call from our nanny that she wouldn’t be making it in. Already behind (well, my version of behind which is really not at all behind) on my writing, I had received great news this past weekend about another writing opportunity to be a contributor to a fabulously funny blog called Women Who Live on Rocks which to me meant I had more writing to get to and less time to get to it with our nanny out.
Husband Fantastic offered up his assistance by taking a half sick day. I would stay with the kids in the morning, he would relieve me in the afternoon. All I had to do was get through the morning. A mother should be able to do that, right? Get through a morning?
Maybe it was because it was the first morning that I was home again in the morning since May had started so they seemed to be bouncing off the walls like the Disney Gummi Bears on Gummi Beary Juice but I don’t want to slink off on this one and “blame” their toddler craziness because let’s be real – toddlers are nuts – midget, crazy, nutty asses. Toddlers don’t veer too far from that. They don’t change but you know what does… my mood.
OK, so no slinking. I was
probably the one in the bad mood and had zero patience for anything. When my in-the-process-of-toilet-training toddler daughter, who I had asked 62½ times if she had to go pee-pee, and who had answered NO then went pee-pee… on our carpet I wished that I had been patient enough to pause and ask myself how she felt about that. How she felt about having to come to me and say, “Mami, mojada (wet).” But I didn’t. I snarled. “You have to tell Mami when you have to go pee-pee!” Right, because that awesome, nurturing mother reaction is going to make her want to come to me next time. Good job, mom.
And I wish I could say that I learned that lesson then and there but I didn’t. Because later, when I asked her 56¾ times if she had to go pee-pee and again she said NO until she went pee-pee again, again I snarled. And this time she said, “Sorry, Mami.” as if that poor little angel owed me, the devil, an apology. At that moment I wanted to punch myself in the mouth and kick myself in the gut. So I did the only thing I
could should have done. I said, “No, Rafa. Mami’s sorry. You are learning to do pee-pee and Mami needs to learn to chill out. What does that carpet or that dress matter anyway? You matter.” And because she is gracious and awesome and patient – and also because she has a very small toddler window of attention – she forgot about it.
But that doesn’t release me from my guilt. Nor should it. What it should do though is make it something I have to learn from which is why I need to share it here. So I can’t hide or pretend it didn’t happen. So I can own my moments of being a sh*t parent because there are times when we are all sh*t parents (right?), less than the great parents we could be, less than the great parents we always hoped we would be.
Yesterday, I was a sh*t parent. Today… I’m still working on today.