Sometimes, I am the most amazing mom. Not just on the good days. Even on bad days, sometimes I can watch my kids melt all the way down, reaching vocal frequencies that are truly astonishing, and I can calmly and coolly handle the situation. I can manage my own emotions, staying firm and fair and positive. I can give 20 time outs on a testing day, and then, without raising my voice or giving them the satisfaction of anger, give the 21st. On those days, I feel like Supermom.
Yesterday, not so much.
The hubs is away for work, so I am on my own with the kiddos. It’s not that different. In some ways, it’s easier, because I only have to think about my own food for dinner, so I can just scrounge or eat what the kids eat rather than making an actual Meal-with-a-capital-M. I only have to do my own dishes, and they just go straight into the dishwasher rather than somehow stalling a few feet short and landing on the counter next to the dishwasher. In a way, it’s easier to know that when there is something to be done, it is just my job. There is no negotiation over whose turn it is to wipe a butt, no irritation when it is my turn too many times in a row. And no one is giving my kids cookies 20 minutes before dinner because they didn't realize what time it was.
I miss him for sure, but it’s all kind of do-able. Except for one thing. There is no break. There is no 20-minute down time. There is no “take them now and don’t bother me for any reason until I open this door.” Turns out, I really need that. I don’t need it every day, but when I need it, I really need it. Three more days without it. Oy.
Enter Mama Hyde.
Even when the kids are sweet, Mama Hyde just wants them to go away. They want to snuggle, and Mama Hyde thinks, “Even my own body is not mine. Go away, you sweaty dirty creatures. Stop kneeing me in the stomach. Your knees are bony and they HURT!” They come during dinner prep and say, “I want more Max and Ruby, please,” in polite, sweet voices, and Mama Hyde thinks, “Well, I want 15 godforsaken minutes of silence, which is why I put on the TV in the first place.” (Seriously, I want to cock punch the people who put 10 minutes of commercials between two 10-minute shows.) A kid wanders in, just saying, “Mommy?” with that questioning lilt that presages a request of some sort, for milk, or crackers, or a 1-inch toy that could be anywhere in the house. Mama Hyde wants to answer with, “What?! What?! What could you possibly want NOW?!”
When the kids are not sweet, like when one kid has a screaming tantrum while Mama Hyde is trying to listen to the instructions for the other kid’s dance recital and dress rehearsal, Mama Hyde just wants to turn around, get in the car, and drive away. By herself. And never come back.
I need my down time. I was supposed to go out with friends Wednesday night to charge the me-time batteries up a little. Well, we all saw how well that went. And then yesterday was a preschool day, which would have given me an hour and a half to myself. But it was a field trip. So no down time for Mama Hyde. My kids even accompanied me to belly dance class last night, proving that part of my exercise addiction is almost certainly an addiction to getting a guilt-free hour all to myself. Although they looked incredibly cute shimmying in their jingly hip scarves, it is pretty much impossible to learn choreography with children dragging at your shirt and asking for water, running in circles around the other poor women in class, and fighting with each other. I had to leave before getting a good sweat going.
But then we arrived home, and they went immediately to sleep. It took 2 hours for Mama Hyde to recede back into the shadowy depths of my psyche, but by the time I went in to kiss their little foreheads before bed, I was myself again. Other than a 4am nightmare, we all slept soundly until EIGHT-THIRTY! Unheard of. And then they asked permission before dumping the laundry baskets, so I had a chance to lay the clean clothes on the usual spot on my dresser rather than having to re-fold them all from a dumped pile on the floor like I usually do. And then the orange they requested for breakfast was super easy to peel. Don’t you love that? Go away, Mama Hyde. You won’t be needed here today!
P.S. I really wanted to re-name Dr. Jekyll to something that sounds like fun mom, like Dr. Tickle or Dr. Chuckle, but they all sounded like child molesters, so I just left it. Just a little peek behind the curtain for ya…