"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

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Friday, December 2, 2011

And, once again, I lost it

Last night as I was lying beside Number Two son before he went to sleep he dropped a bomb. This is his MO every night. He desperately wants me to "sleep with him" and when the boys were little this was my favourite time of day, I would lie next to them in their beds and fall into that wonderful half wake/half asleep place where you are warm and cozy and relaxed. The downside was that sometimes I would really fall asleep and then have to wake myself up to go get into my own bed where I would then be wide awake for the next hour or so but still it was nice. Now? it's a nightmare of demands from all three boys but Number Two has raised it to an art form. There are three kids (what were we thinking?) and only two parents. Numbers One and Two generally get into bed around the same time but I usually start by lying with Number One Son because he is younger, is ready first and calms down more easily than his middle brother. This is a sticking point, of course because although No. 2 doesn't like going to bed at the same time as his little brother he also doesn't me lying with him first. Problem with the logistics? Yes but, of course, he wants his cake and be able to sleep with it too.

So back to last night, my Other Half lay with No. 3 while I went into No. 2's room steeling myself for whatever issues might come up this time. It started out fine until he said, "I don't want to go to Vermont." Now he and I are going skiing with his team for a week, something he has been looking forward to for months. He counts the days off on the calendar and he has already started packing. Where the hell did this come from?

I took a deep breath and asked, "Why?"
"I just don't want to go now," he replied. Sticking his face into the pillow to hide.
Again, breathing deeply, I asked, "Why?"

Nothing. Now I was getting mad. He has been bugging us about ski trips and camps and everything else under the sun. His Christmas list reads like Best Buy catalogue and he has demanded everything under the sun from guitar lessons to workout classes which he does for a while and then gives up. I couldn't believe he was now saying he didn't want to miss school for a week to go skiing with his friends. He had already complained about the fact that we were driving with another mother and her son and sharing a condo with them to cut down on the expense and we would be making our own meals instead of eating out which had not endeared him to me. YOU ARE GOING TO MISS SCHOOL TO GO SKIING! What else do you want?

So now, ten days before we leave, you don't want to go? Huh? I lost it. Yelled about how ungrateful he is and how we don't have to go or maybe I would take one of his brothers instead. Finally he said, "I don't want to go because we have to play hockey and I don't even know how to skate and everyone is going to laugh at me."

This is when I should have calmed down, been understanding and made him feel better about his legitimate, if slightly ridiculous, concern. But I didn't. Instead I left the room and told his father to go in and explain why playing hockey while on a ski trip was going to be fun and not everyone will know how to play and it certainly isn't a reason not to go. He did all this and No. 2 calmed down somewhat and I did go back in and tried to be sympathetic but in the end I went to bed mad at myself, mad at my son for making me mad and generally feeling like once again I had let everyone down.

It's so hard. Right now it feels like there is no upside to this whole parenting gig and with Christmas around the corner the stakes are even higher. We are supposed to be fostering peace and goodwill towards all men and I can't stand the three junior versions I live with. I should be looking forward to decorating the tree and being together as a family and all I can think about is running away. My Other Half is incredible and he steps in when he knows I am going to lose it but what I need to do is break a really bad pattern that has developed around our house. One of jumping to conclusions, anticipating that someone is going to say something hurtful and generally being a very grumpy mother most of the time.

I should look at this week away with only one boy as a pre-Christmas gift. We will have time together, one-on-one. We are travelling with a fun group and I will have some time on my own while the kids are skiing and I will only be cooking for two not five. My Other Half and Numbers One and Three will have a more laid back time without us in the mix. It may, in fact, be the best thing in a while for all of us.


  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself - mothers “lose it.” (I certainly did…many times…just wasn’t blogging at the time.) Talk about stress in the workplace!
    Kids are forgiving – especially when there’s a strong foundation of love supporting & surrounding them – as there is in your home.
    Deep breaths…and enjoy your mini-break!

  2. I would have reacted much the same as you did- indeed, I did react that way with our pre- and teen age dramas.

    I hope the trip goes smoothly and you do get a chance to recharge your batteries!

  3. It is so refreshing to hear other parents admit they can't stand their kids sometimes. Just know you are doing great. You have to be or it wouldn't bother you enough to write about it. And I'm cheering for you, one mom to another, out here in cyberspace.


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