Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wretch of a Mother

I'm having one of those no-matter-how-hard-I-try-I'm-coming-out-the-bad-mom days.

I could hear myself snark and lecture and I couldn't seem to stop myself. Aubrey came home with a headache, but we didn't discover that until three crying episodes and about four lectures on being mean later. Sigh.

I think I discovered a pattern today.

I droop at around 3pm. Unfortunately that is at the same time I'm picking up the carpool from Ridgeline Montessori. So, knowing I'm going into terminal fried state, I try and extricate myself from Mom role and hide out reading blogs or "answering emails."

This is purely for their protection. I know if provoked, or even if not, I will most certainly blow my top and send a zinger straight at their tiny unsuspecting heart. Right when they most need me.

So I hide from them.

But today I didn't. I hadn't felt overly productive today (I only took an AM carpool shift, went to Home Depot to learn about what to do with a moldy shower stall and buy a toilet seat and lid, took Robert to his Egypt class, fixed us lunch and then wasted my writing time reading blog posts with the idea I was inspiring myself to write my own.)

So after returning from the PM carpool shift, I didn't crash in front of the computer to read, thereby disallowing my children the same time to crash and renew from the day, instead I insisted everyone help fold laundry.

Paul volunteered to cook dinner, which I took in a heartbeat. I hate to cook for whining, ungrateful people (sigh, that was judgmental) and Paul hates to fold laundry. He doesn't know whose clothes are whose. Robert (7) and Aubrey (10) and I (34) all get our laundry mixed up in each other's piles when Paul folds. I truly do not understand this.

Robert has asked me several times today to come and play with him, and I (every time) have had excuses not to.

"I'm in the middle of a project right now."
"Work first, then play."
"It's house cleaning day."
"Come help me fold and then I'll play a game with you." (Which I promptly forgot about until just now.)
"It's dinner time right now."

So I call him in from outside where he is talking to our neighbors' kids over the fence.

"It's time for dinner."
"But I just found my friends. They just got back from a trip."
"I'm glad they are back. (I smile.) And I'm glad you are having fun talking to them, but it is time to eat now."
"Can I come outside after I eat?"
"Of course you can, Sweetie." (He sounded so hopeful and sad at the same time.)

We eat.
He goes outside.
They are gone.
He bellows for them on top of the playstructure, waiting and waiting for them to emerge. They don't.

"I don't think they are outside, Honey. Yelling won't help."
"Can you help me down?"

As I head back inside in the sprinkling drizzle, I say: "Do you want a sweatshirt or something?"
I bring him one.

As I head back inside the second time, I hear: "Will you play with me?"
I sigh.

"I still have to pee. And then I promised Aubrey I'd go upstairs and read to her after I finished my blog post. Which I still haven't written."

"Aww." He turned with his little hands in fists (but not the mad kind) and his shoulders drooped down to his belly button, and walked alone to the swing set.

I felt like an asshole.

A cruel, mean, hard, unfeeling, wretch of a mother.

I want to cry.

And the worst thing is: I hear Paul talk to our son the same way. He wouldn't let Robert in the bathroom to see what we were scraping at (Robert's allergic to mold and we wanted him far away but neither of us took the time to explain it, we just excluded him from our project); he absolutely didn't even notice Robert talking to him and showing him a necklace he'd made in his Egypt class -- I had to get Paul's attention to get him to pay attention to Robert. It was so sad.

Robert wanted help making a salad and I was folding laundry (remember my tirade about the laundry earlier?) and Paul was starting beans and rice. No one would take the time to help this little boy just try to connect.

We both suck.

And even now:

Robert comes in here and wants to play a game.


"I'm still writing and I promised Aubrey I'd read to her. Do you want to come listen?"

"No. I wanna play."

"Ok. Go pick out a game, but it'll take awhile because I need to read to Aubrey first."

Four minutes later.

"Mom, I'm lonely upstairs by myself." Aubrey tries to climb on my lap while I'm typing.
"Robert's really bored, too. Why don't you play a game with him?"
"I want to read."
"Then read downstairs on the couch next to Daddy."
"I want to be upstairs though."
"Then you'll have to wait. I told Robert I'd play a game with him after I read to you. I didn't forget. I just haven't finished this yet."

So, I'm always wanted, but never enough.

Maybe I can somehow take comfort in that? Like, maybe no matter how awful I am, they will still love me and want to be around me? Still need me?

So, Aubrey's standing over my shoulder now. :) ("Hi, Aubrey.") I guess I should go read that chapter and then play a game with Robert and then .... MAYBE I'll get time for that book and bath I want.

I hope so. 'Cuz I need it today.

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