Today I Was a Bad Mom
Today you threw your breakfast on the ground. You yelled at the dog. You threw yourself on the floor because your cracker was a square instead of a circle. You cried every time I put you down and every time I picked you up. Today, we had to leave story time. We gave it a good shot. But after three consecutive temper tantrums (blocks, chair, and shoes respectively), we threw in the towel. Then we had to leave the park. Other kids were using the swing, and apparently the only way to deal with this is to scream “no” and “stop it” at the children in the swings. Also, screaming “no push” at the parents who are pushing their children in the swings.
And then, on the way home, ashamed, defeated, embarrassed, I hear you throw your water cup out of the seat: I wait for it. “Agua!” You shout.
“I can’t get it right now. You have to wait until we’re home.”
“Agua!” I can hear the tears.
“I’m sorry, I can’t reach it, you have to wait.”
“STOP IT RIGHT NOW I CAN’T REACH IT YOU HAVE TO WAIT!”
I feel the words rip through me. I hear the loudness in the car, followed by the silence, followed by those heaving sobs that only happen when you’re really scared, and I know that I’ve fucked up, but I’m still so frustrated and angry.
I can’t take it. Can’t take the temper tantrums. Can’t take the whining. Can’t take the throwing and the screaming and the crying and the wanting and the needing. I can’t take any of it anymore.
And now you are sobbing, and I am sobbing, and I don’t really know where to go from here.
So I get home, and I park. And I go to get you out of your car seat. I hand you your agua, and you look at me with a face still streaked with tears, and I hear your voice, still shaking, say “thank you, mama. Hug, please?” and I break.
I break because I love you so much, and because you make me so angry, and because I feel so guilty and ashamed, and because my throat is still raw from screaming and I know how much it scared you, but I can’t dismiss the reality of sometimes just. Being. Done.
At that point where no parenting book, no podcast, no friendly advice can reach me. That point of done where I’m beyond reason or thought, and I’m yelling at myself as much as I am you.
But I’m sorry, and I tell you that I’m sorry. I look into your eyes and hope you understand what I’m saying. That I’m not perfect, but I’m trying, and I love you so much it hurts.
Today, I was a bad mom. But I’m trying.