Thursday, August 28, 2008

Master the Hormones are Raging

I love my family with every fiber of my being. Home is a heaven on earth. Also a temple-like place where everyone speaks in respectful tones and smiles sweetly just like the family portrait on the wall.

Oh let's cut the crap, shall we? Family life is chaotic, messy, and occasionally downright annoying. Sometimes I want to scream obscenities at various smaller-than-me people and then run away and never come back.

It's true. Sometimes I think maybe there is an axe murderer living inside me, and once in a while she makes a break for freedom.

Monday night she almost escaped.

My children had no idea how close they came to death. There was no audible screaming. Although I did raise my voice at one point when this conversation happened:

"Mommy? Can I have a snack?"

"No Megan, I am cooking dinner. No snacks."

"But I'm hungry!"

"I know this. That is why I am fixing dinner. We will eat in 20 minutes."

"But can't I have something while I wait?"

I took a slow breath and spoke in my patient but firm mom voice. "Megan. Listen very carefully. I am making dinner as fast as I can. We will eat in 20 minutes. You may have a big glass of water, and then you can eat all you want when dinner is served."

"But... I'm hungry!"

Patience gave way to my WWF Smackdown voice. "OUT! If I see you in this kitchen again before I call you up for dinner you will be eating Cat Food for dinner!"

Megan's face crumpled, and her lower lip began to tremble.

"Please go to your room to cry because I so do not want to see it!"

She went.

Then my 16 year old came in to ask if she could do something with Tim (the 18-yo boyfriend -- yes, the one she's been dating since April. Heaven help us all.) after Family Home Evening. I groaned inwardly because -- hello! -- didn't we set ourselves up for this by letting her go out to a concert with another boy on the last Monday of summer, and also by letting her go out with Tim on weeknights during the summer? I hate having to be the bad guy, and I do have compassion for the fact that due to their combined work schedules, she hasn't seen his face in over a week, but come on - it's a school night, and Monday night to boot! She stomped off to pout in her room, and come dinnertime she wasn't hungry and sat at the table with a forlorn look on her face. Actually, everyone had a forlorn look on their face due to the lovely leftovers that graced the dinner table. Nobody was jazzed about dinner, including me.

And then, the pinnacle of the evening, that happiest of all times arrived: Family Home Evening!!!! A kid in our ward is doing his Eagle Project by organizing care packages to be sent to forgotten soldiers in Iraq who don't have anyone who loves them enough to send them letters and so they will be overjoyed to get mail from perfect strangers. So this project sounds like a pretty good idea, right? Except that in addition to filling the box with goodies, we all had to write a letter to a perfect stranger. Or perhaps he's an imperfect stranger. I've never really understood exactly what that phrase means, actually, now that I stop and think about it.

What do you say to a soldier that you don't know... "I hope you don't get blown up tomorrow, but just in case you do, thanks for your selfless service?"

So we're all sitting at the table, and I'm trying to think of something halfway intelligent and sincere to write to some sad lonely soldier and Megan is tapping my arm every FIVE SECONDS to ask how to spell this or that. Karianne starts to sniff, then bursts into tears and lays her head down on her paper, and then runs to her room to finish her meltdown.

Finally we finish the stupid lovely letters after I practically have to drag Megan away from hers because she keeps adding smiley faces and rainbows ad nauseum. So then off we go to the grocery store with the shipping box to fill it with goodies for the lonely but lucky soldier.

Because I am usually in charge and naturally bossy, at first I was frustrated that Tom kept disagreeing with me about where to go in the store and what to put in the package. Once I gave in to the Alpha Male and told myself I was GLAD that I was not in charge of something for a change, I was ok. Then Tom bought everyone a dipped cone at the deli, and we sat down at tables to eat them. The ice cream was oozing out of little holes in the hard chocolate shell like chocolate coated vanilla volcanos and we used about a pound of napkins to mop up the sticky mess that was dripping everywhere, including all over our hands and clothes.

Meanwhile, Nathan had bargained with his dad for a bag of caramel corn instead of a dipped cone so he was hoarding that, even though it was far too large for him to eat by himself, but by gum he was going to try. And all this time Megan is snuggling up to my left side on the bench with her sticky dripping cone and Susan was on my other side and at the next table was a family with an adorable toddler who kept screaming "DAD!!!" at random intervals and there was NO ESCAPE! I had to turn away from the other family and clamp my hand over the ear closest to them to keep from phasing into a murderous werewolf and killing everyone in that section of the store, which I'm pretty sure would be frowned upon by all involved. Besides, then my cute clothes would have been shredded.

Just kidding on the "cute" part. I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

Finally we got home again and I stood at the counter contemplating the leftover leftovers to decide what to pitch and what could be saved to live another day while making a mental list of everything I had to do before I could close my eyes, and while I was doing this, Nathan burst into the kitchen with an angry "why isn't the monitor on the computer working?!"

And I just about lost it. Again.

I growled something about "there is only one of me in this house so the stupid computer will have to wait, and why in HECK are you standing here griping at me instead of getting ready for bed like I asked you to 10 minutes ago!"

So he growled and stomped off and I piled more guilt on myself and gave up and threw away all the food and slunk downstairs to try to figure out the cursed computer. And I actually did get it working in just a few minutes, amazingly enough.

And then I went and apologized to my son and then cut my husband's hair and then checked on the poor persecuted teenager with the thwarted love life and we talked until nearly midnight and then my husband also wanted to talk and it was 12:30 am when we finally turned out the light and I closed my eyes and waited for sleep and kinda hoped that I wouldn't wake up in the morning.

But I did wake up. And I felt better and could actually look back on the evening and smile. A little.

And while I figure that I am absolutely the only mom who ever wishes she could abandon her family but is too responsible to ever really do it, I'm okay with that.

I just hope it's a whole month before the axe-murderer comes to visit again.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your level of honesty. Sometimes it is so hard to be a mom. We are some how expected to be perfect in this society of ours and I tend to wonder why no one around me understands that we are NOT supposed to be perfect at all! That was the Saviors job and yet the guilt when we are not.... Thank you for letting us see this wonderfully human side of yourself.

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  3. Last week I turned to my husband, the love of life and keeper of my eternal flame, and gently whispered through clenched teeth- "There is a thin line between bystander and witness and if you do not get your kids the hell away from me right now, you're going to cross it."

    Try finding that on a hallmark card.

  4. Now, exchange the teenage daughter for a teenage son and I think I've had that exact evening! Ok... maybe a different FHE lesson too ;)

  5. The other night my husband walked in from a full day of work...a full day of school and I got up and said, "I'm off duty...I'm going to my room to hide and I don't want anyone to find you're warned".

    I think he thought twice before he threw out the whole...ive-been-at-work-and-school-all-day excuse...because he might actually realize that being at those things are his TIME OFF!

    Or he was scared...

    either way, I got my time off!

  6. thank you for watching the children last night. lifting boxes and being away from a specific child was exactly what i THANK YOU! i am sorry you had one of those days...i am glad everyone survived. i still think you need to take a bonbon day ;)

  7. Are you sure you are not my twin, because I had to read this twice to see that it was not on my blog. Diana asked me the other night was I mad at her, and I had to explain that no, it wasn't her, just life in general I was mad at.
    I am glad you can smile about it now, funny how humor makes everything better.
    And Gracie, that was a great comment thanks for sharing. Bystander/witness brilliant.

  8. I think this is my favorite post yet - and I've gone back and read ALL your posts, aren't you proud?

    Back when I was finishing up my degree part-time with two little kids, I had to take a women's studies course (which actually turned out to be enjoyable.)

    We talked a lot about the three metaphorical stages of female life: the maiden, the mother,and the crone. Finally one day I confessed, "Everone always talks about the mother role as the loving, nurturing part of women, but I have to admit I've never felt more violent feelings than since I've become a mother. Somedays I fight the urge to drop-kick my children off a balcony." (yes, I really did use the words "drop-kick off a balcony.)

    It was very gratifying to have the other moms in the room - prof included - laugh and agree, and whaddya know, my observation showed up as a possible essay question on the final: "reconcile the mother aspect in literature with the actual experiences of your classmates."

  9. Wow-what an intense evening. And way to be honest about the frustrations! And way to look back and smile the next morning! And props to you for still doing FHE.

    Not sure if it helps-but I can tell you my brothers and I weren't always thrilled my parents made sure we had FHE, but now that we're all "grown up" I promise that we all see the value in it.

    And I don't know what could be worse: a 16 year-old dating an older boy, or a 24 year old who is mad at boys cuz they're lame (you'll have to ask my mom on that one). :)

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  11. Wow what a night! Today was bad, but I feel much better after reading your blog. I just need to give up my unrealistic expectations that I can spend the day on PTA stuff and my kids will still behave, I also have to get over my escalating PMS. Midol saved the lives of my kids. They should put that in a comercial.

    You are scaring me with the teenager/dating stuff. I was foolishly looking forward to the day that my son liked a girl and she could make take showers daily, however, I take back my wish and I will just keep refusing to feed a stinky boy. Maybe if he doesn't get the hygine thing down I won't have to worry about dates on week nights, do you think?

  12. Great comments, everyone! Dionne's thoughts were particularly fitting to my thinking:

    "Everyone always talks about the mother role as the loving, nurturing part of women, but I have to admit I've never felt more violent feelings than since I've become a mother. Somedays I fight the urge to drop-kick my children off a balcony."

    This dichotomy underlies a lot of my feelings of personal failure. I don't think we talk about the realities of motherhood enough -- instead we promote the ideal image of a mother as a caring, loving, tender creature as if it were reality.

    Not too long ago I was talking to a friend and said something about how I am not a 'natural born mother'. She stared at me for a minute, and said, "There is no such thing." I have always assumed that most women loved their kids more than I did (because I have always had to work at it) and that I was a failure by comparison.

    Now, I know there are gobs of women who love babies more than I do, and whose personalities are generally more gentle and patient than I am, and I can't quite shake the belief that there are women who are in their element as mothers.

    My challenge is to stop beating myself up because I am not one of them.

  13. People often say how cute my kids are and I reply yes it is their saving grace some days!! It has been challangeing to be a mother of twins mostly because I am out numbered to begin with, but I have had days just like your day. Luckily my husband loves to be with the kids.

  14. The thing is that my day was not that bad, as far as events go. Everyone here, including me, has had lots worse days than this. It was my perception of it that made it so frustrating - for example, my heightened sensitivity to noise and being touched made the scene at the deli nearly unbearable, even though to an onlooker I'm sure we appeared to be having a great time.

    I want to change the way I interpret things - and most days I'm better than this snapshot indicates. Everything just combined together to stress me out that night. The point is just that it happens. We freak out sometimes, and then we regroup and move on.

  15. I've also found this is becoming more of a struggle as I get older. This post did indeed make me chuckle. There's a lot here that did....

    - the fact that sometimes we as mothers are indeed human. Sometimes we don't want to be cuddly, sometimes we have dealt with our last tear, been a confidant so much that our ears just need a break.

    And sometimes no matter how much I try to tell my children (one in particular) that I need space and has absolutely nothing to do with them, they still push. WHY is that?

    So - I do a WHOLE lot of gritting my teeth until some modicum of sanity returns. I don't think I can take Midol for that many days!

    Yeah - it's getting much more fun as I get older.....

  16. You are violent! Oh, but I guess it's only when the axe-murderer comes to visit... This was really funny. I can ESPECIALLY relate to the begging for a snack while you were making dinner. That's me about 4 times a week. Really, haven't we been through this before, kids? If it's evening and mom's at the stove, you will eat soon. HELLO! :)

  17. I can soooo relate. YOU know I CAN, girl! Funny post!

  18. That is so funny ... It sounds like a typical day in my household ..... lol