I don’t know how to write about motherhood. I don’t know how to write about my own motherhood. How to write about the fear I feel whenever I’m angry, or how embarrassed I am when I yell at my kids.
I’ve started turning those yells into jokes, making a mommy-monster, and getting giggles. And the looks of fear that are so terrible have started to go away. We’ve worked through it. But I still have had those moments where I try to scare my kids so that they’ll listen. So that they’ll know who’s in charge. Who’s in control.
But when I remember, I realize I’m not fooling anyone. No one is in control in those moments. And certainly not me.
So we giggle and I say, “but really, I need you to do this for me…” Which sounds a lot better than counting. And usually it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it does defuse the situation, and sometimes that’s really what we needed.
I do not think I’m a bad mother.
I am a bad housekeeper. And I am not a great cook, but most of the time I’m a pretty decent mom. I teach my kids how to respect other people, to respect their boundaries and their desires. I teach them how to live their own lives so that they will be happy without making other people unhappy. Which I believe is how we should all live. If everyone lived the life you live, could we all get along? Works for a whole mess of things: littering, smoking in crowded public areas, screaming at the top of our lungs when other people have asked us to be quiet, etc. And I show them love every day. I touch them in loving ways. I accept being hugged and kissed, even when it’s the last thing I want. I give them things but not everything.
But sometimes I just get so angry and I yell. Sometimes I get so annoyed with having to be touched All The Time, when I don’t want to be touched all the time. … and that’s okay. We’ll fix the yelling and I’ll get them to do something other than touch me.
But at least I’m not an alcoholic. At least my kids haven’t learned to look out for which mom I might be today, to listen to the way my footsteps sound, or the slurring of my voice, or the fear in the people around me. They don’t see broken doors and broken cabinets. They haven’t been surprised by a new car every few months because the last one has been crashed. Their lives are a little more secure. And they’ll never know any different. They’ll never know how envious I am of that. And how much I hate my envy. How guilty it makes me feel.
And maybe that’s okay. Maybe I’m allowed a bit of guilt. Maybe I can allow the 5 year old me to stomp her feet and pout a bit. For not leaving the house late at night. For choosing a real daddy. For choosing a real mommy who isn’t angry all the time.