Moms With Tempers

Moms With Tempers

I belong to the group known as Short Tempered Moms. If you are one of us, you know the feeling of losing your shit publicly when your son won’t take no for an answer because he wants that Hershey bar SO BAD! Perhaps you have delivered some chosen 4 letter words to the nice cashier simply because your three kids are all talking to you at the same time and you can’t seem to focus on anything and this nice cashier is just person number four chatting to you while you are trying to get 3 kids to 3 different sports practices at 3 different locations at the same exact time!

 

I can’t be sure how I got this way. There is the whole Irish-bad temper stereotype; yup, I am Irish. Maybe it’s as simple as that. Perhaps it is because I am the youngest of 5 kids and growing up, everything was chaotic and busy and fast–paced in our home.  It could even be explained by astrology; I am a Gemini, and we folk are typically impulsive and lack self-discipline. Whatever the case, I am wired with a short-fuse.

 

I want to change, I really do. I have all sorts of self-help books, mantras, and tools in my metaphorical back pocket and sometimes, they do work. But most times, when the kids ask for a candy bar for the 5th time in a row after I have said no 5 times, my heart races, my blood boils and I just can’t control myself: “No! no, no, no, no, no!” I proceed to reason with a 7-year-old, just as if I were, indeed, a 7-year-old. It is utterly insane, but I go from zero to 100 real fast.

 

I imagine there are others out there like me. Hell, when I hand my kids off to their dad for a few days and I leisurely shop sans kids, I see you other short-tempered moms. I see you, and I smile, and you may think I am judging you, but I am really saying, hell yea, she is my kind of people! My short temper is part of me. I am working hard to calm it and while it may never be in full remission, I have found some success in combatting my mommy tantrums.

 

  • Practice the Pause

 

When in doubt, pause. Pause your thoughts and your actions. Breathe, close your eyes and repeat. My quick reactions that I refer to as my short-temper always begin with physical symptoms: racing heart, sweaty palms, shallow breaths. My thoughts follow. When I can stop the physical symptoms dead in their tracks and slow my breathing and focus on simply doing nothing, my thoughts slow, and suddenly, I think before I speak.

 

  • Prioritize

 

Sometimes it is worth it to say yes to that candy bar in line at CVS or concede to the fact that we will be late to practice. When I stop to ask myself what is most important in this moment, it is never that which has pushed me over the edge in the first place. I would rather be a calm and loving mother and say yes to the candy bar then a hyper, crazy mom and say no. Time flies by so fast. Choose your battles wisely.

 

  • Channel My Inner Child

 

This one is not easy to execute, but it almost always calms my temper. I channel the child within and pretend I am one of them.  Some good ole fart humor or terribly dumb potty joke will almost always break the kids into laughter and I soon follow suit. It is quite absurd that sometimes at the age of 39 I convince myself to make a silly inappropriate or crude joke to my own children, but the truth is, seeing them laugh will always brighten my mood, and so, I challenge myself: make them laugh so hard they pee their pants. Problem solved. Temporarily.

 

It is not easy being a mom with a temper. Patience is a virtue that doesn’t always come easily. Next time your little cherub is begging for a toy at Walmart, remember the three Ps that may feign patience: Pause, prioritize and potty.  Don’t underestimate the power of a strategically-placed fart-joke!

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Not the Best Day

Today was a rough one. I jumped out of bed before my alarm on a goddamn mission to make today great! 45 minutes in and all was proceeding according to plan. I woke the kids up with song and dance. I did. I was totally feeling it- feeling today. I knew that once I dropped the kids off at school, I would not be seeing them again until next week; it’s Dad’s weekend. I wanted to give them the best damn send-off before the weekend. Perhaps it was selfish of me, too. I didn’t want that, oh shit, I-wont-see-them-until- Tuesday-and-I-ruined-the-morning-feeling that I sometimes get, so I was going to make this morning effing great! And I did. For about an hour.

Before I knew it, I had a whiny, 7 year old testing my patience, manipulating me, and doing everything but getting ready for school. The clock was ticking, but no one was moving. Teeth were not brushed, clothes were not worn, and lunches were not packed.  Out came psycho, temper-is-out-the-window-mom and all hell broke loose. I just wanted to get there on time. We had 3 different theres to get to- if we are late for drop off number one, well then, numbers two and three would follow. We had to get moving and they were not listening to nice, calm, quiet mom.  I had no choice but to unleash loud, scary, frenzied mom. It worked. No one was late.

But, no one was happy, either .We were all tense, sad,  and annoyed with one another. The tone for the day was set during that early morning hour. I watched Molly head off to school as I was fighting back tears, saddened by the morning I would not get back.  Nora and Emmet were quiet and still on the ride to school, absent of the normal Friday morning pep I so love to observe. Most days I keep my cool, but sometimes, the chaos of 3 kids and one me is more than I can handle. Today was one of those days.

I spent most of my day imagining the kids sad and down at school, wondering why their mom is such a spaz. I could not remain present at my desk as I obsessed over the kids and my own guilt and shame for losing my patience. I felt a little sorry for myself, being the divorced mom who wont see her kids for a few days. I beat myself up and stomached the guilt of knowing I am better than that mom they saw this morning.

I apologized via text. They are kids and they are resilient, focused mostly on the moment.  I am focused on 3 moments ago and 3 moments in the future.

So, this morning kind of sucked. But there are all sorts of lessons in its suckiness. Don’t do it again! Ha! Breathe, Suzanne, practice the pause, Suzanne, being late is not more important than love, kindness and caring, Suzanne!!! There is a lesson in the act of I am sorry.   Saying I am sorry and saying it’s okay require humility.  Staying in the moment is a valuable lesson- why worry about being late, when it takes every ounce of joy away from right now.

Today sucked, but hey, I can’t help but think it sucked for a reason. I learned a lot. Let’s hope it sticks.

 

-Suzanne E. Hayes

First Sick Day at The New Job

I have a love/hate relationship with sick days. I hate the act of calling, texting, emailing in sick. I hate the day after the sick day. I dread the catch-up work and the how are you feeling  questions. There was a time in my life where I would abuse sick days and call in often when I was not actually sick at all; my sick day paranoia is a direct result of my guilt over my sick day past.

These days, when the time comes to cash in a sick day, I am struck with severe anxiety. I over think, over-analyze and over-explain it all. I wrote myself (and anyone else who may have read it) some advice on the subject @ https://www.workingmother.com/mistakes-working-moms-make-when-their-kids-are-sick

I started a new job about 2 months ago. Today, Emmet woke up and his skin was burning hot- fever mode! It was time for me to follow my own advice. Take my sick day and own it! No excuses, no paranoia, no over-thinking and no over-analyzing. I was supposed to get up, type my email and keep it simple:  My son is sick and I will be taking a sick day to care for him from home today.  See you tomorrow.

Nope. I broke every single one of my own sick-day rules. I said (or typed)  I am so sorry . I over-explained: I tried all morning to find someone else to stay with him to no avail.  AND I offered to work from home: please let me know if there is anything I can do from home.  I suck at life. And now I just hate myself. I did it all wrong. I broke my own rules.

On top of that, I still have the usual sick day b.s. anxiety eating away at me: will people believe me? Have I worked there long enough to even take a sick day? I missed the big weekly meeting, oh no! I am a nervous mess and I dont want to go in tomororw because my anxiety gets the best of me. Can I take another sick day? Sik days suck. I hate them more than I love them.

Poor Emmet, sleeping away his day, while mom sits here and freaks out about calling in sick all day.  Please, someone, can I have a brain transplate. Being me is exhausting.

What is Your Story, Spoon-Licker Lady

When you go to Starbucks at the same time, on the same days, week after week, you are bound to see the same people. They become part of your routine and if you tune-in to the details, you get to know these perfect strangers a little more each day.

You may unexpectedly bump into her in the parking lot before your morning latte and discover what kind of car she drives-maybe even see a car seat in the back and learn more about her family life. Perhaps one day you will catch a glimpse of his name badge and learn that he works at the local private school. One day, Grande Soy Latte Boy won’t appear for his morning cup-of-joe and you will wonder what’s behind his absence? You will know who is dependable, like Bill, the fascinating older gentlemen who is always, I mean always, sitting in his right corner, leather seat, playing away on his iPad, disheveled, yet collegiate looking, tempting me to walk right over and say, Bill tell me your story.  

Hell, you will even have those who drive you absolutely crazy, like Spoon-Licker Lady. I named her that on day one. I just had to. She is middle-aged (whatever that means) and walks through the doors of Starbucks on my days at 7:35 a.m. sharp. She is typically dressed in gym clothes and appears to be very fit. She brings a travel mug from home and a long, thing spoon, like a milkshake spoon, with her everyday.  She orders her coffee and accepts it from the barista in the paper Starbucks cup. She pours the coffee from the cup into her brought-from-home travel mug and stirs it with said spoon. Then she removes the spoon from the cup and wait-for-it…………. She licks that spoon clean, aggressively and slowly. Like a cliche car-accident metaphor, I can’t stop watching, but damn, I sure wish I could. She savors each small lick off of that spoon and she repeats. I can hear the sounds of her spoon licking from my seat. I cringe. I keep watching. She holds  the spoon in her left hand and licks the back of the spoon clean first. Next, she twists the spoon and repeats her ritual with the front of the spoon.  I feel bad for the thoughts I am having about what is going on. She isn’t committing a crime. It is her constitutional right to lick a spoon where and whenever she damn well pleases.

I have observed her do this for months now.  When she walks through the door, I think Spoon-Licker Lady is here. What started as an unbearable pet-peeve has become part of my story. I expect her to be there. I challenge myself to learn more about her, to find the good in her habit, to wonder what type of a person licks a spoon like this? Is she super clean, extremely diligent about not being wasteful, or does she simply LOVE to savor every drop of her coffee?  Why does this bother me so much? What is my problem? What must others think of me and my routine?  Maybe I am just cursed with a mind that is over-active and constantly trying too hard to find stories.

Every person who crosses our paths has a story to tell.  Spoon-Licker Lady is the only one who can tell me her story, and Bill is the only one who can tell me his. But I am pretty freaking confident that both Bill and Spoon-Licker Lady  have amazing and inspiring stories to tell. There is something behind Bill’s disheveled hair and Spoon-Licker’s, well, spoon licking.  Until I get the guts to actually walk up to them and say, hey what’s your story, I will never really know. But I will keep observing the details and sitting with my own wonder, making up stories that fit the details in my twisted, over-active mind.

Just Add Water

Hungry Jacks, light and fluffy pancakes: just add water. A busy mother’s dream come true and quite honestly, probably one of the most underrated meals out there. Combine some magical pancake powder with some water from the sink and your meal prep is complete. So easy and so, very versatile.  Add syrup for a great pancakes, sugar for a fried-dough like dessert, or some fruit for a healthy lunch. These things are a MUST-HAVE!

Just add water? It sounds too good to be true. My sister could not believe it when I told her this were a meal staple in our home. How good can they be without eggs or milk, it just feels wrong she said.  But they taste so right.

I need more just add water in my life. Can’t my bills be a little more just add water, or cleaning, or work-life balance. It is not very often that I am blessed with anything as easy as these Hungry Jacks. Everything else in my life seems to be a little too much of Just Add lots of hard-ass work and stress.

Go get yourself some Hungry Jacks and just add water. Your Welcome.

 

Have You Met My Husband?

Sober Mom

Have you met my husband? Eh-hem….Have you met my SECOND husband? Well, neither have I. But I have learned some valuable lessons through dating, heartbreak, and singledom that have made me wiser, stronger, and more prepared for the moment when I finally “exhale.” I am in no rush to meet him (in my convincing-myself voice).  I have been cheated on, lied to, heart broken, served papers…you get the idea. I have also had years of butterflies and excitement and visions of weddings and babies. Hell, I have actually had a wedding. And 3 babies!  But I have yet to meet the one. Each romantic experience from adolescence through adulthood, be it painful or joyous, has led me closer to this notion of romantic wisdom. I have spent most of my life chasing “unconditional love” and the warm, secure and fuzzy feeling that I imagine comes with it.  I have worked…

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Christmas is Coming

I LOVE Thanksgiving. By far my favoritest holiday ever. My mom’s Thanksgiving meal is the best you will ever taste. I assure you of that. The only thing I don’t like about Thanksgiving is Christmas. The Christmas Anxiety starts long before the 3rd Thursday in November, but I tell you that Black Friday kicks it right into high gear every.single.year.

 

Christmas. Ugh… Thats all I can even say right now. Sure, I could go into details, but it will only increase my anxiety.   I want to sleep at night, I really do. Christmas anxiety is real. Any parent who is lacking in the whole savings-account-department can relate. I so badly want Santa to be real. More so now than when I was a child. If Santa were real, Christmas anxiety would’t be.

If I could have anything in the whole world for Christmas this year, what would I want. If Santa were, indeed real, this is what I would be looking forward to waiting under my tree on 12.25.17.  Without a doubt, I have been good this year. I have been fucking flawless.. Santa… please deliver, in no order of preference:

  1. A full tank or two of oil

C’mon, really? Who the eff has money to pay for a tank of oil 3 or 4 times a winter? Not this Grinch. I would love to know that I had an unlimited supply of oil to keep us warm this winter. No phone calls to State Line Oil, not checking the little tank line in the basement while wondering if the shower may turn cold unexpectedly. Oil and lots of it.

 

   2. A Starbucks Gift Card

No explanation needed. But… here it is: I take the kids 2 or 3 times a week to Starbucks. It works with our schedule in the morning after I drop Molly and before I drop Emmet and Nora at school. We have coffee, cake pops (yes, in the morning, don’t hate the player) and really, amazing conversation because all of us are at our best at 7:30 a.m. apparently. We set goals for the day, do our homework (yes, in the morning) and we bond at $13 a visit.

 

3) Toilet Paper

Anyone who knows me well, knows I DESPISE buying toilet paper. I dream of a basement full of rolls and rolls of toilet paper, from you, Mr. Claus. I like soft and thick. However, my toilets clog easily, so go for a happy-medium, thin, 2-ply, please and thank you.

 

These are my realistic Christmas wishes. I feel like I should add to the list, and write something inspirational and non-material, like world-peace, gratitude, or happiness for my loved ones. Of course, I want those things, too. But Santa can’t deliver what can only be found within.

 

What does your realistic list look like?