Current time (10/24/2021 7:12 PM): I’m sitting in my kids’ room, on the floor, alone, crying, while I sort laundry. This job isn’t even mine, yet here I am. Not where I want to spend my Sunday night, but I almost knew at 7am it would end like this.
Why does it feel like moms are never allowed to have a bad day? I woke up this morning at 7am with an 8/10 headache. I heard my boys awake across the house, and in an effort keep everyone else asleep, (aka not have to start my day yet,) I rushed in there, encouraged screen time, and tucked them back into comfortable places. My youngest reminded me he was grounded from his iPad, and against everything I believe in, I said “It’s okay. Let’s take a break from that” and gave him a kiss. I grabbed two Aleve and headed back to bed.
At 9 I woke up when Alex came in and asked if we were still going to church. And there it was, my reminder that today is a day, and like all days, we have a lot to do. AND my Aleve had done precisely….. nothing. No time for a headache today. I might have other days said “Let’s watch it on TV” but Alex WANTED to go (I confirmed), and we had plans to go do pumpkins with grandparents after, so I was committed. I pushed through feeding and encouraging 4 (incredibly easily distracted and slow) kids to get ready for church, organized the shuffle and transport of two older kids between 4 different locations, got myself to an “as good as it has to be for public” state of ready, and we set off on our day.
As we got to church, somehow my headache had still not gotten better. My TN is starting to act up and I’m just in pain. I got everyone to their classes and finally made it to my seat. I heard someone talking about weather and wondered if that’s what was going on with my head, but still didn’t have time for this issue. Then church started and I was thankful for something else to focus on. I found myself crying during worship. It’s not really that uncommon, music is very emotional for me, but on this day with the mood and pain I was it, it was an intense overtake of my body. The service was good, and as we were leaving, I was still just surviving. I apologized to the kids because I felt like I was a bit short with them, but I really was just not feeling well.
I stopped by the gas station to get some ibuprofen and Mountain Dew (don’t take my medical advice) but sometimes in the past caffeine had either helped, or coincidentally been consumed at the same time my headache was planning to stop anyway.
Anyway, lunch was delicious and I was pushing through. I tried to talk some kids into painting instead of carving, but they weren’t having it. We were doing it for real whether I liked it or not. Just keep pushing, you can sleep when you’re home.
Ha! Hahahah. Funny joke, past Andrea. I should have taken advantage of that time doing pumpkins and having a structured activity, because chaos would only be worse at the house.
I had to ask the kids to stop playing piano. I cried on the couch in pain for a while. I was frustrated that nothing was helping my head. I was frustrated that everyone knew I did not feel well and it was showing in my interactions. I moved to my room for a few, but knew I was needed elsewhere. I had a weeks’ worth of laundry for 5 people to get moving. I had dinner to prepare with no plan of attack. I had stuff to clean, floors to vacuum, crap to throw away or move to the place it belonged and school stuff to prepare for kids.
I asked for help. Nothing. I just started doing it assuming that someone-anyone- would remember I felt awful, and they’d want to help. Nothing. Then I remembered L1 and his desire for chore money and at that I had my assistant. We got the basement clean, and he finished vacuuming while I folded my laundry.
We were done just in time for the storm to roll in. It was much less significant than all the discussions I had heard, though some areas just west had tornadoes. I’m thankful it wasn’t here. I love storms, even though they almost kill my head sometimes. But, if I was going to be in pain from this bad boy, I was not going to miss watching it come in and surround us on the back porch.
The kids were disappointed. They had a lot of complaints about the weather. Or lack of. I love nothing more than complaints about things I literally can’t control when I’m in pain. But I moved inside to focus on dinner because again, I had ZERO plans for it.
Side note: it’s really annoying that we must plan AND cook dinner every night. The bane of my existence, this every-night event. I’m just kidding, but I do wish someone else would come up with the plan and I could just cook. Or a chef. Scratch that–I’d like to swap that wish for a meal planner because—well, I want a chef.
There were lots of opinions and disappointments about dinner plans. There were complaints about chores, rules, cleanup requests, and discussions at the dinner table. There was bickering and laughing and then more bickering. I was constantly putting out little fires and it should have been more obvious to everyone that I was getting frustrated and still did not feel well. But that clearly wasn’t the case.
I truly believe that kids (all kids) put moms on this pedestal like we’re unbreakable. We’re just these little slave people who do their work, clean their things, make their food, and listen to their noise (complaints, laughs, cries, all of them) and have the ability to do it endlessly, forever and ever, and enjoy it. Dads, not so much. Don’t bother them, they’re not capable or willing. (Kid thoughts, probably.) because that’s how it feels kids think. I can fix everything, answer anything and I’m the go to. I’ve heard this as a common theme in nearly all households of friends, so it’s basically a fact that kids just go to mom and avoid the perfectly capable dad in the house.
The kids decided to start a movie, which was great, except laundry was getting ready to be done and ready to sort/put away which meant that two of the monsters downstairs needed to help me, and the movie needed to pause (it’s only fair-in hindsight, I should have just done the laundry myself from the get-go). This led to a series of events I am not really sure about but I know there were cries from multiple kids, very little sorted laundry before we realized it was too damp still, a few more questions in my direction from multiple people, and then the dog peed on the floor and there were little pee dog prints everywhere in the kitchen and then I hit that moment. I was starting to cry and I needed everyone to leave me alone, so I did it….
I yelled at almost everyone I felt like. I wasn’t really yelling at anyone but anyone in the way quickly became the target. Laundry couldn’t get back in the dryer quick enough and the movie could not get started fast enough. I had already ordered all the littles downstairs. I think Myles took the brunt of my frustrations. I think A heard me cuss. I wasn’t even really cussing. I think one solo word just came out because sometimes it feels better to just say “FUCK” loudly. But I literally just could not take any more words or questions or directing or bickers or cries.
Myles, L1, and A were the only three who really saw the melt down I believe. Everyone just seemed confused and a little surprised. I felt like everyone should have known this was coming, but again, moms are unbreakable, and can’t have bad days. Dads can give this look or stern voice, and everyone gets it. Moms have to completely lose their shit before people are like, “Wow. She actually meant that?!”, and by that time they think we’ve actually lost our minds and need help.
These double standards…. Moms really endure a lot and rarely share their feelings of frustration. We just know that things must get done, so whether there is a headache, or conflict, or just zero appreciation, we just keep doing. So, at least remind the moms they are loved, because sometimes we don’t feel it, but we don’t have time to address it, and it might make all the difference, or in the case of me, bring me to more tears.
So to escape, and deter people from the realization that I’m losing my shit over here, I took my dog for a walk, forgetting it was raining and he had just peed inside, but I had already put the leash on so I was committed and there was no turning back.
It was short lived because when I got to the top of my street I remembered I had the laundry, that I prayed was dry by now, to finish putting away. Oh, and it was raining and Gonzo was not doing anything because begging me to turn around and go home. So, we did. And here I sit, taking a break from laundry and tears to write down this wonderful day. Maybe it’ll humble me someday when it feels like things are going too right, or I feel too well.
In summary, I’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day, and now I’m going to take my headache and go to bed. (after I get the little teeth and showers done, and all the other things that MUST happen done. The rest can wait.)
If you’re reading this and you’re a mom that can relate, I feel you sister. Hang in there.
If you are a dad/husband, make a point to help more on these days.
And finally, if you are able, tell your mom you love her.
Tomorrow is a new day.
❤ MS Andrea Jackson