I was out of Red Bull this morning — sugar-free Red Bull, to be exact — and apparently it was enough to cause me to lose my mind.
Well, that’s not completely true.
Honestly, I was losing my mind last night as well and when I realized I had woven the F-word at least three times into my conversation with my nine year old. You know you’re crossing over into “Mom’s-Gone-Loco” mode when your kid doesn’t even blink anymore when you drop the ‘ol F-bomb.
Before you start flooding my comments section with lectures or placing anonymous phone calls to CPS, let me just take a moment to remind you that dropping the F-bomb on my kids is not a normal adjective that I like to employ. Yes, even when they sigh and flop and fuss in response to me telling them to get in the shower.
Yes, kids…ANOTHER SHOWER! You just spent eight hours at summer camp and your face smells like old cheese. You played hard and need to bathe. You do not live in the 1700s where bathing was a luxury and rarely occurred more than once a week. Welcome to the future. Welcome to a time of Dippin’ Dots, WiFi and erasable ink pens. Welcome to my rules and my expectations. NOW GET YOUR ASS IN THE BATHROOM BEFORE I LOSE MY F…. MIND!
See how things escalate there? I know. It’s not pretty.
In the midst of shower-mageddon last night, I realized that a large majority of kid-stuff missed the car ride from dad’s place to mom’s place, or whatever politically correct terms you’re supposed to call those places. (“The townhouse” and “The apartment” I think is what I’m supposed to be referring to them as so I don’t cause undo stress on my children’s fragile sense of belonging.)
Honestly, I find that more confusing. What if one day we live in the same type of lodging structure? How do we delineate between the two then? “Kids, did you leave your shoes at 123 Maple Drive or are they in your room at 567 Elm Street?” or “GUYS! Hurry up! I need to hustle and get you over that tan house where you also reside!” Ugh.
You know, there are just some people who know where your buttons are. And no, I’m not referring to the kind of buttons that make you smile and laugh (Puppet shows starring common socks with googly eyes, gummy candy and new shoes). Nope. I’m not talking about those little gems.
I’m talking about those OTHER buttons. (Hence my reference to the F-word above.) The buttons where the letters have been rubbed off because they’ve been triggered one too many times. The buttons that are all grimy and sticky and when they get pressed, they get stuck down into the keyboard and just cover your screen with middle finger emoticons. (Crap, now I’m sad my keyboard doesn’t have a middle finger emoji button. And here I thought we lived in the future.)
It could be someone in your family, a coworker, your kids, an elderly driver, a weird friend or perhaps your ex who knows just where those buttons are hiding. And no matter how long it’s been, they seem able to traipse through all your walls of barbed wire and whizzing defense mechanisms and just *BAM* initiate the melt-down sequence that you’ve been trying so desperately to avoid.
Here’s where you say, “Well, Jenny, you know that we are responsible for our own choices and actions. No one can be blamed for triggering your crazy. You are ultimately responsible for your own reactions.” And here I say, “Well, yes, maybe that’s true, but shut up right now cause this is my blog and I’m in the middle of ranting.”
In the grand scheme of things, a kid forgetting his shoes at the other parent’s house is not a crises.
Your other kid forgetting her camp shirt and swim goggles there is not a giant deal.
Both kids leaving behind their swim towels when they have a swimming field trip the next morning? Again, not the end of the world.
But combine that with anti-shower kid flops, running out of cheese in the middle of making quesadillas for dinner and a united kid-refusal to turn off Minecraft?
::INSERT SCREAMING NOISES!::
Do you ever overhear yourself talking and think, “Who the crap is that? She sounds like a total shrew!” Then you realize that it happens to be YOUR MOUTH making those nasty barking sounds and you feel like a complete ass-hat?
Cue my early morning snap-fest which only served to feed the impression that I’ve lost my mind and now everyone from my “old days” must simply bear with me for the sake of “Doing what God wants them to”.
There’s a certain facial expression that comes with that decision and I’m not sure if you people realize you’re making it, but you are. You totally are…This is of course if you choose to make eye contact with me at all.
But my ex is not as lucky as old friends I see only once or twice a year. He’s got to deal with my face once a week, or more than that if our children are feeling especially amnesiac and leave their crap behind.
The sigh and the expression that says “Mommy’s now just someone we tolerate because we all have to. God help us all.” is a sure-fire way to deploy my bitch-missiles. Fine, fine, fine, they were already armed, loaded and steaming on the launchpad by the time “the look” appeared but you get my point.
I hate feeling all prickly and cranky. Especially when I’m at a time in my life that’s actually really, really good! I have made some new friendships that have blown me away with their authenticity and care. I am super happy with my job and I love the team I get to work with. I got to listen to Glee in the car and NO ONE ROLLED THEIR EYES or made gagging noises! What a beautiful time to be alive!
In the midst of an emotional cluster fuck, most people have a few go-to options that they like to use to help recalibrate.
For some, it’s exercise like boxing, running or even yoga.
Sometimes I’ve chosen running too and it really does help distract me from being upset with the issue at hand and instead I get upset about how awful running is. Works like a charm, but I’ve never had the feelings of prickliness just completely dissolve as I sweat like a steamed up hot dog.
Lots of times, we run to other people and hash out the whole story.
These sessions are made way better with wine, soft Kleenex (screw you, cheap knock off brand) and a good set of listening ears on the other person’s nicely shaped noggin. But again, I’ve had lots of vent sessions with people who have then just made me feel worse about myself, so using your friends as a “Get Out Of Misery FREE” card, can be tricky.
Driving is also kinda my jam.
But at 8:45 with a work meeting in less than 30 minutes, that wasn’t an option for me this morning.
Oh, but my favorite “reset button” is sleep.
You know the type of sleep where you fuss and cry so much that you finally just collapse and go mildly comatose? Totally similar to an over-tired toddler throwing tantrum – I totally specialize in that type of sleep!
It reminds me of my favorite Bible stories. Ha! And here you thought I was now a Child of the Damned! Fooled you! Hang with me here…Or you can follow along in I Kings starting in chapter 18 if you’d like.
So this guy named Elijah had just kicked some serious butt with the whole “Your-god-Baal-versus-my-God-Jehovah” thing. He even got a little sassy in that story and taunted the Baal priests by telling them to shout louder because maybe their god Baal was asleep or travelling. (If being a smart-ass is allowed in God’s kingdom, then I’m totally on the right track!)
The story goes on with lots of fire and a good, soaking rain storm that the place had been needing for quite some time. All good things.
But then, in dramatic Old Testament fashion, shit got real again and Jezebel was bent on making Elijah’s life a living hell. Well, she was bent on slaughtering him with a really sharp sword just like he had just done to all her humiliated Baal-priests after the aforementioned showdown, but you catch my drift.
So he freaked out and ran away by himself into the wilderness. He started with a friend by his side but then flounced off all alone. Then he sat down under a broom bush (or tree, depending on what fancy version of the Bible you dig) and threw a giant-ass hissy fit. He yelled and cried until he tuckered himself out and fell asleep.
But when he woke up, he felt a little better. God had the courtesy to let him sleep it off and sent an angel down to start a fire and make Elijah a snack. What a guy!
Today, I got a moment to flop down on my big, puffy bed, and fall asleep too. I had to set the timer on my phone because I still needed to go to get up and go back to work. I kinda doubted an angel of God would be there assembling my Lunchable for me after all my dramatics.
I also made myself a chai in the vain attempt to replace the caffeine I had lost from the lack of Red Bull in my fridge that morning.
Yep. I felt a little better.
But you know what really helped me most of all? Getting a chance to come here and write it all down. For me, it seems to be the best way to get some perspective and really distance myself from all the emotion and frustration of a situation.
I won’t be skipping my other methods of coping (a surprise phone call, snuggles from my kids, wine) but I really appreciate this place where I can go and dump it all out, sift through it for the realities, and then take it all back in again and move on to the next thing that’s headed my way.
Thanks for being here. I hope you find what works for you when you are needing peace and comfort too.