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Mommies Don't Get Mental Health Days

For various reasons, I was crabby almost
all day yesterday. I hit one of those zones (the bad kind) where I
started off with a little bit of a bad mood, and every teeny thing
simply added to it until the day was over and I had a huge chip on
my shoulder. Unfortunately for my kids, the crabbiness almost
always has something to do with them, and I can’t figure out
how to deal with that.

Cora decided to skip the nursery at church
yesterday, preferring instead to burrow in my lap for most of the
service and refuse to be put down. Now, I’m all for firmness,
but the middle of the sermon ain’t the place to teach that,
and you sort of do what you have to do to get through the service.
Yes, you could always leave the chapel, but there’s that
stubborn, unrealistic part of you which refuses to let kids totally
dictate your life and you’re going to listen to this sermon
if it kills you, by gum. So I stayed and held the human leech.

I think everything simply escalated after that, until I felt myself
completely overwhelmed by the neediness of these little creatures.
Temper tantrums, scraped knees, a lack of the “good”
food for lunch, all combined to make me wonder what sort of price I
could get for them on the black market. As a set, of course –
I’d never split them up, I’m not totally heartless.

Seriously, though, I hate that two of the people I love most in the
world are the same two people that I spend a not small amount of
time wishing I could have a break from. How messed up is that? And
even when I’m having a bad day and wanting to just be by
myself and sulk, there are still diapers to change and meals to be
gotten and groceries to shop for and laundry to wash and tears to
dry and cuddles to bestow, so I can’t even crawl off and lick
my wounds.

Wallowing in your bad day is not an option, either; kids have radar
more sensitive than NASA’s and will automatically assume your
crabbiness is because of something they’ve done, and then
you’ve got a toddler feeling bad about herself for no reason.
So I had to try to “hide” the crabbiness, which of
course made me resentful and more crabby. Viscious cycle.

I felt as if I’d done a decent job, and was frankly looking
forward to the hours after the girls went to bed so I could be
filled with self-pity. I’d run to the grocery store and was
racing feverishly to get the groceries put away before bedtime for
the girls. Cora stood on a stepstool and watched me silently in the
kitchen, her big eyes never leaving me as I raced around putting
cold things away and storing all the extra cereal. She was being
quite good, not begging for “one taste” of everything
she saw or even clamoring for “up, up, up!” but I
barely registered that as I stayed under my black cloud. Until she
spoke up.

“Are you ok, Mommy?” Cora asked. I looked up, surprised
to hear that phrase out of her mouth. I hadn’t pinched my
finger or tripped or any other minor injury; neither was I
passive-aggressively slamming food in the cabinets or muttering
under my breath. But there it was –she saw something.

“I’m fine, baby, don’t worry,” I said

“Mommy seems sad,” she said.


We really can’t hide this stuff from our kids, and in a way,
we shouldn’t – we need to model “correct”
ways to deal with our funks. At the same time, I’m heartily
tired of every single second of my life being a teaching moment-
enough with the fascination over how I lather my hair, or wipe my
butt, or zip my pants up over my muffin top! So I’m not in
such a good place to want to put my bad mood – and the
correct way to handle it – on display for dissection and

But the bottom line is, I’ve got a girl with a face full of
worry staring at me over the counter, and Mommyhood isn’t
fair. So I swallow the mood – really swallow it – as
best I can, smile at her, and give her Mommy back to her.

I want a union. With mental health days.


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