Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Enough is Enough

I have a very high tolerance for my children's antics but, for whatever reason, my tolerance ran out this weekend. Everything that came out my kids' mouths seemed to assault my senses. From my toddler screaming about me moving him from the dog's water bowl (again) to my oldest asking for a thousand things a thousand times in a row, I had had enough.

When I worked, this stuff didn't bug me so badly. Sure, the mornings were hectic but then I found myself in front of my computer with a hot cup of coffee in my hand. I had deadlines to meet but I could do that with my music playing gently in the background. Interruptions happened, but I could close my door and my coworkers respected that. When I came home from work, things would get hectic again as I tried to get dinner ready, listen to stories about the day and get everyone ready for bed. But the craziness came in bursts. It wasn't ever constant.

Now, the craziness happens all the time. I start washing dishes and within seconds, someone is screaming or crying. I answer the phone and, after a five minute conversation, I find half a roll of toilet paper in the toilet. I start to sweep the floor and someone is crying about wanting a turn with the broom. My time is not my own.

I had coffee with my mom yesterday and dumped out all of these frustrations to her. I told her that sometimes I want to just put them on pause so that I can think. I need to mute their little voices for a moment so that I can finish what I started. She understood, of course, because I used to have a little voice that needed to be muted. We came up with some ideas together that are already working.

When my oldest begins his litany of requests, I simply make a list. "I know all of these things are important to you but we can only do one at a time. Let me write these down and we'll do our best to get through them," I say. Both times I have done this, he has immediately gotten quiet.  I have also made snacks and drinks accessible to them and I put my oldest in charge of snack time. He sets it all up and cleans up afterward. When I asked him if he would take care of snacks for me he said, "Mommy, I will always do anything I can to help you."  And that's why I will continue in this profession. I want to raise good men. Strong men. Kind men.

As I write this, I am sipping a warm cup of coffee and I have music gently playing in the background. My children are sleeping and, for a moment, my time is my own again. The accolades may not be as immediate. The challenges may sometimes feel unsurmountable. But this is the best job I've ever had.

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