There are days when I just lose it.
I was from a 24 hour shift the other day (whaddup, nurses!) and I was really, really exhausted. The husband fetched me from work and brought me home, changed his clothes and went straight to church. I intended to attend the afternoon service with Seth because well, I was sooooooo tired.
Seth and I were left at home. I never had any problems with Seth whenever I need to sleep. I would just tell him, “baby, mama needs to sleep okay? Don’t play or talk with mama”. Then he’d say okay and eventually, if it is a good day, he will sleep. But because Seth is in his terrific twos and is doing the exact opposite of what I asked him to do, and because a toddler is so full of surprises, he disregarded what I said and just played and played and played. He did let me sleep but he watched The Lorax (his fave movie now; he’s done with The Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter), with the volume too high it could pass as Dolby Digital Surround if we were a movie house. So I slept intermittently, waking up every now and then.
I was already becoming cranky and I was starting to get upset with the hubby. It was 11 o’clock and he wasn’t home yet (church usually ends at 10). I.WANTED.TO.SLEEP.SO.BAD!!! Seth was becoming his usual clingy self, mouthing “mama, mama” when he wanted (and not as needed!). He was following me wherever I went and the once cute clingy man turned into a monster. He was shouting and was just really cranky.
And then he started crying. I forgot how and why his tantrums started (sometimes it’s best to just stop rationalizing things when you’re a mom), but it did start. Usually his tantrums start when he’s already very sleepy. And this wasn’t just an ordinary tantrum. This was one hell of a tantrum. He started throwing things on the floor. This was what rang the bell in my head – ting ting ting ting!!!!! I was already furious.
And then I did it: I spanked Seth – in his cute little butt.
You see, I don’t believe in spanking. I have nothing against those who do. In fact, I have high respect for them. But spanking just isn’t my style. It is, actually, my husband’s. But it isn’t me. Probably because I never experienced being spanked and I turned out okay (thank God!). And also because I am a nurse and I believe in the psychological way of dealing with kids.
So imagine how uneasy it was for me to spank him. It wasn’t a cute spank. It was a painful one- I can tell by the sound. So Seth started to spank me too (the inevitable part when you spank a kid- they end up using violence on you). Then he started throwing his toys at me.
I threw one of his favorite toys: a green bucket (his favorite color) where we keep his shapes (his favorite thing). I threw it so hard that I ended up breaking the bucket. It was made of plastic, and we’ve thrown it a couple of times already. But that particular throw was the mother of all throws. It was too painful to watch, even for me, who did it intentionally.
Then he began to scream and said, “mama, what did you do? You broke it!!!! Say sorry to the bucket, mama!” He was still crying and I can see that he was really hurt. He hugged me and asked, “mama, why’d you throw it? Why’d you break it?”.
And then I started to cry. The once fierce mama broke down, and cried too. I hugged Seth as tight as I could.
“I’m sorry, mama.”
“No, no, don’t say sorry, baby. It wasn’t your fault. It was mama’s fault.”
I have always been a toughie when it comes to Seth. I can take it when he cries or when he throws tantrums. I can ignore him as long as possible until he folds. I am good in that department.
But this time it was different.
I explained to him the reason why I did that, and that he should listen to mama or dada all the time. I couldn’t stop crying and neither could he. It was a funny thing, actually, but at the same time, a very emotional moment for me (I am still moved to tears as I type this!). I hurt the one person who adored me more than anything else in the world. Then he hugged me and said sorry again. I kissed him and asked him where his booboo was, and he pointed his butt, which I blew and kissed. Then he asked me the same, kissed me where he spanked me – my back, my forehead, my face (he spanked me a lot of times!).
It really takes a tough woman to be a mother. It takes a tougher woman to be the mommy of a 2 year old.
Sometimes when we are very tired, motherhood can take a hold in us. We feel tired and overwhelmed at times. There are days when I feel like I really needed a break from all the mommy chores that I do. And there are days that I just need to be quiet and not do anything, just because. And it’s okay. It’s normal. And we should take a break once in a while.
Toddlerhood is a test of patience, for me, most especially. There are days when I think I know what I am doing, and I believe I am doing a good job. And then there are days when I just lose it. There are days when I just want to break down and cry.
I put Seth to sleep (finally! It was already nap time when all our drama ended). I kissed him and whispered another “mama is very sorry”. I promised myself that I would buy Seth a new toy. And then I prayed. I told myself that I would never, ever, let my exhaustion get in the way of disciplining my child. And then I told God that I’m really, really tired. He’s with me in this battle, after all.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.