I was working on editing photos from our day today – the FUN we had! – when things went sour for Apartment Living.
I’m pretty sure I heard a slap and there was a lot of yelling and slamming doors and very angry words. The couple who lives beneath us are pregnant and I don’t care what the real story is, because I wasn’t actually there, when there’s suspected hitting near a pregnant woman I will go bat-shit crazy on you.
I was home alone with our own children – who were in bed, trying to go to sleep. Aaron’s battery on his phone had just died and I didn’t know what to do. I called the cops.
As I’m on the phone with them Aaron walked in the door.
I realize this isn’t really a big deal. We’re safe and thankfully the cops came quickly and it seems like everything has calmed down – but until tonight I’ve kind of pretended we lived in a bubble in this city. We’re safe, yes. But everyone fights and yells. Some times too often, too hard and with way too much anger. And it happens in every neighborhood. No matter what floor you live on or what class you come from.
I’ve been really worried about the few times I let my anger get the best of me with my kids and I’ve yelled at them too loudly, was short with them when they weren’t the issue or disciplined them too quickly before cooling down myself. I’m worried they can hear me – that someone can hear me be less than the smiling, doting and loving mother I would prefer everyone thought I was at all times. Which is not reality.
I’m human, too.
But I’m sitting here in the aftermath of what I’m sure we’ll talk about in a few years as “that one night in the apartment” and I all of a sudden feel like I just NEED to be calmer. I need less of the expectation on my children to be quiet and not bother me when asked and I need MORE patience and understanding when it comes to their activity needs.
My skin can crawl when they’re noisy and running wildly around our apartment some days and I just need to remember that they’re smiling while doing it.
A little noise is fine. It has to be. It’s the violence we need to stay away from.
I often talk to myself every night before we go to bed that Tomorrow I won’t butt heads with one of them, because it happens inevitably. We live with each other and 89% of our time is always with the 3 of us. Sometimes we just need breaks – and I want to be real to my kids, not this robot mother who’s happy and willing 100% of their lives because that’s not the life I want them to attain for. I want them to be happy, of course, but I know that in the course of their lives some unhappiness will occur. I want them to know how to deal with that and still be a successful person – in their own lives.
I guess (and hey! how about all this junk coming up!! isn’t this fun!??) I’m learning that no one ever really has it ALL figured out. You don’t get to be a grown up or a parent and then all of a sudden, poof!, you’re done growing in any way. Growth is something that is a continuum.
My own mother is just now telling me things about her experience with motherhood that would have made me feel way less crazy 5 years ago if I had someone else admit to me that it was hard, too. That maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t what I wanted after all? But now we’re here and we better get to it. That there might be a part of you that will always wonder what if – and the guilt. Oh my lanta. The guilt for even accepting that those are your thoughts.
And now I want to justify them to you, for even writing them. I want to tell you that yes of course I want to be their mother. I would do it all over again in a heart beat. I wanted this. I am a mother, I wanted that, too. It was a dream for me and I’m fortunate to be here, with them.
However the world has actually gotten scarier for me. I worry more. I deal with anxiety daily and I pay close attention to the creeping feelings of depression. There is wicked sickness in my family genes and I’m aware of the games they play in my own makeup.
(Uncharted territory … )
And I’ve had to make some really hard and very honest decisions about who I can and will not let be in my life during this time in our family. I fully understand the easy escape goat feeling of walking away when it’s hard. It would be what I choose to do first. It has (more junk!) been the working model in my family for many many years. What do we do when it get’s hard? Well we sure as hell do not cry. Nope. And when we’re done being righteously angry and blaming everyone else … we’ll walk the other way. Then when I see you again in 5 months, we’ll pretend like nothing happened. Only … PLEASE! PLEASE! I want someone to hear how hurt I am. I want someone in my family (specifically) to ask ME how it made me feel.
And then I want them to care. To look behind their reflection in the mirror and really grasp the idea of what actually might be the effects of their mistakes.
……….. I guess we’re dealing with more than I thought we were here tonight.