It’s Been a Hard Day


I went to bed a little grouchy last night. I wish I could say my whole day was rough, but I can’t. My day started out wonderful. I sat in my favorite coffee shop doing homework (I’m in a class to be trained in Orton-Gillingham method of teaching, or in my case tutoring, people with dyslexia). After that, I went home and got my house ready for the house cleaner, who never showed up, which meant I was able to get my daily nap. I even got a trip to Target in before I needed to go pick up the kids from school. So far, a simple day with a calm setting.

Then enter children. I pick up my kids from school and excitedly offer them popcorn I picked up for them from Target. (That popcorn rocks, by the way.) Both said, “No,” to the popcorn. Until I started to take a little bit of Jesse’s, then she up and wants her bag. Fine. Nate still doesn’t want his, so I had a little handful from his bag. To which he says to me, “Don’t you do that! I hate you now that you took my popcorn.”

A little dramatic, maybe? Fine. I let it go other than to say, “The popcorn is a gift. I don’t think my wanting a little bit warrants hate, Nate.”

At home things did not improve much. The kids were fussing with each other horribly.

My mom is graduating from nursing school on Monday , so we are taking a trip to watch her walk (yay Mommy!). I had to get clothes ready (which is another way of saying I had to actually fold the mountain) and pack, and just in general do “mommy” things. Rain was falling outside for the second day in a row. Oh no! My kids needed to entertain themselves.

This entertainment was as follows: follow me up to the room where I was folding clothes. Proceed to play on the bed in that room. Jumping on, jumping off. Each time running over the clothes I had just folded.

Go get the rather large Santa decoration with the equally large bell that really rings, really loud, and bring it upstairs. Carry him all over the place ringing the bell. When I say the bell is loud, it means after it quits ringing you can still hear it, or the silence that follows once it is not ringing feels like a soft pillow after a hard day.

They also turn on the alarm clock ipod which is playing Eminem. For those not familiar this type of music, it can be aggressive sounding in nature. Even if it is saying something nice, which it usually is not, it always sounds aggressive. I have one song that I like, but I must be in a certain mood, like exercising, to listen to it.

I tried to be nice. Really, I did. I think I even said something politely about take that Santa down, it’s not a toy and the clothes are folded, please don’t run on them. But ultimately I failed. My head finally pops off and I start yelling. “GO!!! Go somewhere else and play!”

Oh, if there was a video of me I would be so sad. I was, literally, jumping up and down and making all sorts of gestures. Hands gone wild.

Jesse gets it and goes down stairs. Not Nate. He sits just outside the door and tells me he is disappointed in me for yelling. He says he wants to hug me. Can he come in the room and hug me? As I am putting the folded clothes away he’s saying, “I know how to spell happy.”

“Good.”

“H-a-p-p-y. And, I can spell Christmas really fast. C-h-r-i-s-t-mas.” He did spell it pretty fast for a six year old, but I didn’t want to sound impressed. I’m still mad.

“Good.”

“Can I give you a hug?”

“Sure.” Fast hug.

At some point I gave him the slip. I was in the bathroom and he thought I went down stairs so he went down.

I didn’t hear crying or fighting, so I was content to finish my business and let them be. Only when I did make it down stairs I found them stomping on, and already having busted out all over the living room rug the gel, from a cool-pack thingy that goes in a lunch box to keep things cold. It had been in Jesse’s lunch box so it was thawed. It was a large cool pack – a spare I used because I forgot to put the regular, smaller one in the freezer the night before.

In addition to the gel being all over the place, what Jesse had been down stairs doing to entertain herself while Nate was following me around, was to take the cute, glass ornaments off the Christmas tree and put in her Barbie van and let them ride around. Some had fallen out and were scattered all over the place. And here I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about all that glass so much this year now that they are “older.”

There were also plastic bags, of varying sizes, all over the place. Sandwich, freezer, you name it, it was scattered about. Not sure what they were going to do with them, but they are all over the place. I was still finding them this morning as I was, again, getting ready for the lady to come clean the house.

I’m now losing it a second time. But I don’t just yell and get it out. I’m on a whole tirade about respect and how Santa won’t be bringing kids who don’t play with toys more toys to not play with. Why would Santa bring little kids toys when they have gel packs and plastic bags and glass ornaments to play with? Oh man, I was on a roll.

I looked down at Nathan and he wasn’t paying enough attention to me. I could swear there might have even been a smirk on his face (the kind George Bush, Jr. always had on his face when he was saying something about war). So I scooped him up and put his face at mine and said, Do you hear me? Can you hear me?

He cried a little and I felt satisfied that he did hear me then.

Somewhere along the way, I was in mid-sentence and I actually heard myself. Turns out I wasn’t even listening to me. I was so mad a second ago I was literally hopping. But suddenly I deflated. Like a balloon let go without being tied, I was all gassed out.

Tired.

I mumbled to Nathan, “I can’t even hear me anymore. I think I’m done now.”

Today, now that I have “slept on it” and I am seeing things in a different light, I vow to find a better way to communicate with my kids. It can’t be this hard!

I’m still reading the book, Positive Energy by Judith Orloff. I came to the coffee shop this morning and opened up to the section on “Soulful Giving.” This type of giving includes energy.

 Not only did yesterday’s display take away every ounce of my energy, it gave my control away, mostly to my six year old son. He took it all and I handed it over on a plastic platter. Here you go Nate, you can have everything  – my energy included.

When I reflect on yesterday and ask myself, What could I have done better? Here is what I come up with:

·         I could have set the kids up with an art project.

·         I could have called a friend to ask for a get together.

·         I could have put a movie on for Jesse in the basement, which she would have gladly watched because she was tired from school, and I could have had the one on one time Nathan was craving.

·         I could have made a positive action before I let things get so far that I let negativity take over. The thing is, I knew things were going to be hard when Nate got in the car and overreacted about the popcorn. His reaction told me, he’s tired from his day.

·         I could have acted like an adult, thought like an adult and been the adult.

But I’m human. I made a mistake. I yelled at my kids. I acted like a loon.

I know it won’t be the last time ever, but I know it is the last time for as long as I can conjure up my day yesterday.

Happiness is calling my name and I intend to take a trip going that way. I’m not only going to watch my mom graduate, I’m going to Happy. And, I’m taking my energy with me. I’ll give it, but soulfully, and with compassion.

Which reminds me; Don brought this (below) up in the last meditation at Phoenix & Dragon. The meditation was on Inner Peace. It’s the chorus of the poem/song, It is Well With My Soul. It’s comforting on days like yesterday.

It is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

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2 Responses to It’s Been a Hard Day

  1. crystalb says:

    Oh Jen, I hope you have a better day! I don't have kids, so I can't commiserate. I have sales people, who are kinda like kids….they overwhelm me with work and seem terribly ungrateful sometimes. Other things I have: an ear, a shoulder, and a hand, and they're all there for you whenever you need them! Forgive yourself for being a stressed mommy; they're going to love you regardless.Love,Crystal

  2. I'm glad you are now H-A-P-P-Y. Soo sweet love you!

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