Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Return Of Grouchy Mom

I don't wanna be Grouchy Mom, really, I don't.  Neither do my mom friends.

But sometimes, we find ourselves being really, really Grouchy to our kids.  Take yesterday.  Thing 2 announced, more than two-thirds of the way home from school, that she'd left Cheetah, the stuffed animal with whom she sleeps nightly, back at school. 

This isn't the first time it's happened.  But despite my warning, the last time it happened, that I would NOT return to school for it, and the lecture I delivered about how HER toys were HER responsibility... well, I turned around the car and went back to get the damn thing.

Not before I pulled over, though, let out a four-letter expletive, yelled at Thing 2 -- and at Thing 1 for good measure, as he'd instigated a fight with Thing 2 over the the snacks minutes before, already souring my mood.  This night in particular I didn't want to make that drive all the way back, because Late Blooming Dad was due to get on a red-eye flight for the east coast within a couple of hours, and wanted to see them, eat with them and bathe them before heading to the airport.  It didn't help that I was coming down with a cold that  very evening either, sneezing every few minutes of the drive.

Why, you may ask, do I even let Thing 2 take aforementioned stuffed Cheetah to school anyway, instead of leaving it at home or at least in the car?  Because she can't sleep without it, and she still naps at school.

But that really forced my hand.  As I'd be putting the kids to sleep on my own, the last thing I wanted on my hands was the one-person riot that would ensue if Thing 2 was asked to sleep without Cheetah.

And in case you still don't have an accurate picture of just how important Cheetah is to the family, consider this:  I've already restuffed the creature twice. 

I really can't begrudge the girl her Cheetah because when I was her age, it was a foot-high rabbit called Bunny Bun Bun who accompanied me everywhere.  And Bunny Bunny Bun, truth be told, still occupies some space in a drawer in a closet in my home, even though he's a patchwork of hand-sewn repairs (thanks to my mom in her day), and a few stray patches of fur.

By the time I got to school, my foul mood had dissipated somewhat, and another mom, hearing my tale of having to drive nearly all the way back in the middle of rush hour, said just the right thing:  "It's a good thing time grows on trees," she said.  I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it made me relax about rushing home.  "We'll get there when we get there," I thought, and sure enough, we did.  By the time we arrived, Grouchy Mom was gone for the night, and of course, Late Blooming Dad's preflight help didn't hurt.

In truth, the person I was angriest at for all of this was myself.  My kid's only human, and she forgets things, even her favorite toy.  It was I who reacted out of proportion.  But in my defense, though it's no excuse, just an explanation, it WAS the end of a very long day, and by the time I'd picked up my kids, what with having already rushed to get my work in on time and pick them up before school closed, I probably had about one nerve left that hadn't already been frayed. 

It took me till today to forgive myself.  But now I remember that when we got home last night, riding up in the elevator and walking to our apartment, the kids hugged my legs and said "I love you, mommy," in spite of the fact that I'd been Grouchy Mom a half hour before.  They forgave me, and they did it first.  So right now, thinking about that, I'm Grateful Mom... and amazed and happy they found some grace when I'd temporarily run out.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Holly, this one sure hit home. I often have to repeat to myself, "they are only six; they are only six." That is, if my husband doesn't say that to me himself.