If I were one of the seven dwarves this past week I think that I would be Grumpy. I know I would be Grumpy. Actually, if there were a dwarf named "Grumpy Squawker Mean Mom" that would be me. If I had to pick out corresponding Disney dwarf names for the kids I would go with... Bellyacher, Vicious, and Overbearing. But I mean, they obviously get it from somewhere.
To say that we have had a hard couple of weeks would be an understatement. I actually don't remember the last time we had so many hard days in a row. Full disclosure here, I didn't take it well. Every day I woke up with good intentions to be the good, fun, and joyful mom that I always imagined I would be and by the end of each night I have basically been in tears, after screaming the kids to bed, wondering what the fuck I am doing wrong while Dustin reassures me that I am a good mom and my ears are turned off to it.
Then Tuesday I woke up and yes, my kids are assholes sometimes, but I also realized that a lot of it was actually PMS and that my family doesn't totally suck and that we aren't all going to hate each other and never celebrate holidays together and a thousand other things that I have been freaking out about. And yes, I totally said that my kids are assholes sometimes. They are.
Here is the thing though. I am an asshole sometimes too. This is probably where you start wondering why I am using some cheerful photos of Patience and I for this post.
I promised Patience a special trip to Disneyland without her brother and sister, and I made good on it this past Wednesday. About halfway though our day I thought to myself "God, I am kind of an asshole".
Let me tell you something about myself. I like to have fun! I like to have fun so much, that I plan it all out in a schedule and build up the perfect day in my head and then when things don't go as planned I get anxious and panicky and even a little ashamed as if I didn't try hard enough. I am sure that we could have a field day picking that last statement apart, but all that matters about it really is how I respond. On Wednesday when my plans started falling apart and I didn't get Patience on all the rides I promised her, our pre-reserved lunch was shitty and expensive (Disneyland almost never fails me in the food department, even with allergies), and a handful of other small things didn’t workout ... I totally started to loose it.
I could feel myself becoming sullen and pouty. I wanted to cry. I started stressing myself out until I could feel my heart beat, all because I wasn't getting my way. If in those moments, I find it almost impossible to pull myself out of the moody abyss (it took a pep-talk from Dustin to bring me back to earth) ,how in the world can I expect small children to just "snap out of it"? The worst part is, that me freaking out about ruining everyone's day by not planning properly, is what actually started bumming everyone out. Patience was having a great time just having all of our attention on her, and I almost ruined her day by being self centered. My planning out the fun doesn't actually make the fun! I'm not that big a piece of the recipe and that's ok!
So to recap, yes we can all be self centered sometimes, and expecting that to change is just unrealistic. However, we can practice saying I'm sorry when we've had a fit (including me!), we can practice deciding to be in a good mood (I said practice), we can practice getting out of our heads, and we can practice focusing on the good bits (yes I know I say this a lot but I have to remind myself too!).
This week I promised the kids that I was going to try my hardest not to yell, and let me tell you after Sunday I don’t think I could’ve completely raised my voice even if I wanted to. Of course, that didn’t mean that they weren’t yelling at me or each other. It didn’t mean that the house was all instantly in a good mood. What it did mean was that I managed to only raise my voice a handful of times and that I just felt better.
I don’t know what any of this means for anyone else or even how anyone else’s family works, but I do know that I’m going to brush up on my copy of How To Yell Less And Love More and just keep remembering the quote that gets me through every holiday season.
"And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse."- Clark Griswold