Tuesday, November 30, 2010


6:14am. I have listened to the Hubs exit the house and I drag myself out of bed. There appears to be sand in my eyes and my perpetual headache is whispering around my temples. Oh please. Oh please, my fervent prayer goes out, Let them sleep just a few more minutes.

I tiptoe downstairs, pulling on a sweatshirt and slippers. Coffee. Turn on the baby monitors. I have to eat breakfast despite the fact that I'm not hungry. If I don't eat it now, I won't get a chance until after I am low-blood-sugar grouchy.

I wake up every day just as exhausted as when I fell into bed. On Mondays I am no more rejuvenated that I was on Friday afternoon.

The baby wakes with a horrible screech that makes me grind my teeth and hunch up my shoulders. It suddenly feels like the ceiling is pressing down on me, and my stomach is rolling with the unwanted cereal I forced down. The big one is up now, too - having been wakened by the screecher. Thump Thump Thump he bangs his feet on the wall and the headache that had receded rises up again, washing into my forehead like waves at the shore.

The screecher screeches until I pluck him from his crib. The big boy wants to read books and cuddle in bed but the screecher wants breakfast so downstairs we go. He screeches until I set a pancake in front of him. He screeches because he has attempted to jam too many pieces into his mouth. He screeches as I try to help him. He screeches when I turn away.

Finally, I yell at him and he cries. I retreat to the bathroom, press the heels of my hands into my eyes to hold back the tears prickling there.

His screeching pushes a hot button inside me. I can feel the adrenaline pulsing through me as my pulse and blood pressure elevate. Hideous, shameful thoughts fill my mind. Too mean and ugly to write here, even to turn around into a joke. The urge to lash out is as inarticulate and strong as the urge was to push him out into the world. Unfortunately I can't give myself over to this urge. I have to fight it, tooth and nail, despite it's overwhelming strength.

While cowering in the bathroom I discover an article about anger and motherhood in Mothering magazine, I make a mental note to request the the book the author recommends Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh from the library. I've read lots of books about anger, mindfulness, and parenting. I hate to imagine where I'd be without some of the techniques I've learned, but I also hate where I am right now. I wish I could stay cool and level headed. That's what I want to teach my boys - how to stay in control, but it's hard to teach something you can't do yourself.

I go to the gym and run until my lungs burn and a pain crops up in my hip. I lean on a friend who makes me laugh. I feel guilty and exhausted, no closer to understanding than I was almost 3 years ago, when I started this journey.  I've come so far, but really gone no where. I used to be kind, patient, and understanding.  Now I'm miserable and irritable with a dash of murderous rage.  

To quote my yankee heritage, I "buck up," take the kids to Target and buy Christmas lights for the front yard.  We survive until naptime. I breathe. Relax. I promise myself, promise that I will do better next time. Though, I have no confidence in my ability to live up to my own word. Why is this so damn hard? Why can't I be better than this? Why isn't it getting any easier? Aren't things supposed to get easier with practice?


  1. "Mama said there would be days like this ..."
    From one mother-of-a-screecher to another, I know how you feel. That horrible, ear-piercing sound, escalating until you feel like your head is going to explode. I often wonder if it's my ears that are too sensitive ... or my child. The rage that builds in me as I endure her screeching is like nothing I've ever experienced before; and yet, the love I have for her is equally powerful and unique. How to handle both with grace (or, in the very least, with sanity) is the ongoing mystery of motherhood.

    Hang in there. And cut yourself some slack. We're our own worst critics.

  2. SKA - thank you! your comment makes my day. I thought perhaps he might be the only screecher in the known universe. God, this kid can shatter glass.

  3. It's Shen-pa, baby. With an N as in nutcase. Don't press those tears back, THAT is the spot where the work is. This is beyond the work of motherhood, this is a good use of the rest of ur life.

  4. Oh dear. I didn't have a screecher, but I've had friends who have. Hard times! Every phase passes though, and you will come through.