Are the kids cranky because Mommy is cranky or is Mommy cranky because the kids are cranky?
Jack woke up too early yesterday and he fought up and down many times and with me many times. I was feeling overwhelmed with things. Pesach is coming and I'm feeling like my skin is too sensitive and I feel everything extra. The noise, the arguments, the crying, the tantrums. The mess. The things to do.
I put Jack to bed early last night, and he woke up early again. All three piled into my bed, waking me in the middle of REM, and started fighting over who gets to snuggle my belly (they all love that jiggly belly. Big fights start over it). Screaming, fighting, arguing, pushing, crying. The day hasn't even started. Did they need more love from yesterday and I wasn't present because of Things I Need To Do? Or are they always like that and I'm usually able to respond with mindfulness and love, and things settle down?
I feel like ninety nine times a day I respond in a way that is beneficial for their development. Maybe more. I pat myself on the back so many times. I could have screwed this one up, but I didn't. I did well. My whole day is responding to needs. But lately, those responses are becoming more peppered with impatience, sharper tone, critical attitude, negativity.
I walk out of the house and see the paper ripped up and the dirt and the spoons they didn't put away, instead of the good time they had. I tell them they can't leave a mess, instead of framing it in the positive of after they play to make sure to clean up.
The microwave timer makes me cringe. Or maybe it's that it's in addition to the screaming. And the phone keeps ringing. I don't answer the phone because I can't even tend to my own needs, let alone my children's needs, let alone to whoever is calling me.
I've wiped the chocolate off the walls and the fridge (oh, yeah, that's why I only bought vanilla ice cream until chocolate was requested), and I have to replace the toilet paper (I don't know why there is chocolate ice cream on the toilet paper; yes, i'm 99.9% sure it's chocolate; probably whoever smeared it all over the place cleaned a lot of it up with toilet paper; it was probably my 3yo).
And it's erev Shabbos. We've been invited out for dinner and lunch is cholent. I have over 5 hours to just be with the children (well, I also have Things To Do like return the due books to the library, put away laundry, maybe put things back on the shelves in the basement, and clean up the main living space for Shabbos, and the clutter that is slowly encroaching because I've been ignoring it for months). None of those are important (except the library. I will get to the library and bake the challah). Chana and I have already done Chumash and Math. It is actually a perfect time for me to try to calm down, regroup, and break the cycle by simply being with the children and focusing on the positive. Do a little playful parenting.
I'm going to the library. And then I'm going to roll around on the floor and wrestle with the children. And the floor is filthy. And I'm not vacuuming it. Until right before Shabbos.