It’s easy to forget how much our kids can understand. They may be small, but they certainly aren’t dumb. I say things mostly to myself, to verbalize it and vent, and Brandon hears me and knows what I’m saying. I remembered this the other day when he said, “I’m so stressed out.” That is one of those things I say to myself aloud. “How can you be stressed?” you ask. “You don’t even have a job!” Let me tell you: this stress is mom stress. It might be worse than your work stress. No, each situation doesn’t last as long, but it is still very real.
Like when I’m buckling Holden into his car seat and Brandon is in the parking lot and sees a leaf he decides to chase. Or when I go check on Holden and see a blanket over his face and quickly check to make sure he’s breathing. Or when one of them gets hurt and it’s too late for me to prevent it. Basically, seeing my child in danger of any sort is the greatest stress I’ve ever had. And yes, it is a moment, not a week or a month, but it is intense.
Yesterday I went swimsuit shopping and brought Brandon with me because he would have cried for dad if I had left him. That was a mistake. He was crawling under the dressing room door, trying to run away while I was trying to find this elusive not-skimpy but also not-middle-aged-mom swimsuit that would cover all my mommish parts (so of course I had to go with the middle-aged-mom swimsuit because there is no in between – oh, and Steve reminded me that I am a mom and I am middle-aged. Thanks, babe).
When we got back, in my discouragement (probably mostly about my age and body, but also a touch about Brandon’s behavior), I said that Brandon wasn’t a good boy at all today, but at least one thing got accomplished: he made me decide that we weren’t going to have any more kids. I was venting aloud to myself mostly, maybe a little to Steve. But Brandon ran to the living room and laid on the couch, looking depressed.
After the dust had settled, I went over to Brandon, gave him a hug, and told him I said some mean things because I was upset but that I love him and I know kids don’t usually want to do what the adult needs to do.
My kids will certainly never grow up thinking their mom is perfect, but hopefully they see that I’m trying to be someone better. When I’m not too stressed out to be rational, that is.