The kids are happy as clams.
However, two days ago I woke up in a dark, dark mood. I'm assuming it's hormonal and it will lift on its own, so I've been pushing through. Self-medicating with chocolate, knitting and reruns of "Law & Order."
It is not the first time this has happened. It usually lasts for a few days. But it is the very first time I have been so aware of how my mood is affecting my interactions with the kids.
I do not want my children to say, years down the line, that Mommy was always in a bad mood. That Mommy yelled a lot. That Mommy had no patience.
And most of the time I can control my reactions to them, at least in part. Not this time.
Yesterday I picked them up at their schools planning to take them to the park. They negotiated a pre-park stop at Starbucks. Fine. But as we drove down the freeway from E's school, the kids started bickering and yelling at each other. I warned them. And then something happened -- no memory of the specifics -- and W kicked the back of the driver's seat, so hard it actually hurt my back.
And I snapped. No Starbucks. No park. Straight home. They were furious, and so was I. They tried to blame each other. I told them they were both responsible.
Once we got home they whipped themselves into shape. Chastised, I guess. E apologized. They started playing nicely together. Normal moms, I think, would have softened, at least, if not melted.
I wanted to. But I was still furious, couldn't let go of my anger. I'm not even sure at what I was angry. At them for being kids, which seems completely unreasonable now, although it felt logical yesterday.
They wanted me to go outside to play baseball with them. And I couldn't. Couldn't move from the sink, where I was trimming yellow wax beans for dinner. I knew I should have been able to. And I couldn't.
For a long time.
Maybe 15 minutes -- well, it felt like forever. And then finally I forced myself to go outside to play with them. But my heart wasn't in it, and there were no smiles on my face, and anyway my too-much-tennis shoulder hurt when I threw the ball, so I told them I had to stop. And we all went inside.
The rest of the evening was unremarkable, and in fact M commented that the kids seemed very happy when he came home. I think maybe they were happy that Daddy was there to save them from Crabby Mommy. Neither kid wanted me to stay for the lights-out-before-sleep cuddling, which is a time from which I am rarely excused. Daddy got it all last night.
And it was my own damn fault, no?
Now, lest you think I am being too hard on myself, reread the second paragraph of this entry. Hormonal. Chemical. Beyond my control. I know that. It feels completely unavoidable and was sparked by nothing more than Wednesday morning's alarm clock.
But I can still flog myself for letting it trickle down.