Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Mother Rage

Justin's side of the family is loud. They just are. They're loud when they're happy, with guitars and singing, and children running through the house in a noisy ball of energy. They're loud when they're in disagreement or talking about politics--voices raising loudly to be heard, and everyone talking all at once. I have no doubt that things have always been this way, and that when Justin and his siblings were growing up, the default setting for fights between kids and parents, or even kids and kids was LOUD. Consequently, any time Justin and I disagree (even about small things), I usually find myself saying, "Why are you yelling?!" to which he yells back, "I'M NOT YELLING!"

I'm different. I don't tend to get loud. I tend to be a bit introverted in real life. I don't like conflict in my personal life, and will go to great lengths to avoid it. If such an occasion arises that conflict is inevitable, I don't love "hashing it out" verbally, and would much rather craft a letter laying out my case bullet point by bullet point. I'm not kidding. I literally lay out my case as if I were in a debate with points and anticipatory counter-points. If there's conflict or disagreement, I aim to win, which I can usually best accomplish if I'm calm, cool, and collected in painstakingly making my case. I say all this in order to convey that in general, I'm a pretty mild mannered person, who very rarely (if ever) is just looking for a fight. It takes a lot to get me riled up.

At least, until I became a mom. After which, I became semi-regularly afflicted with something that I like to call "The Mother Rage".

The Mother Rage is something that I wake up with....or in the case of having a newborn, it's something that begins brewing at about 3am. It's Justin going to the store to get beer last night and forgetting my Cherry Coke. It's Lizzy crawling into bed with me at 6am, just as I've finally gotten the baby to sleep. It's the dishes from last night's dinner still sitting on the counter. It's the fact that it is inevitable that as soon as I've prepared a plate of food, the baby suddenly wants to eat again (even if she last ate literally five minutes ago). It's Lizzy dumping out every single one of her markers on the floor any time she wants to color, or her turning on the music on Becca's bouncer and waking her up, even though she has literally been told at least 25 times today NOT TO TURN ON THE MUSIC WHEN THE BABY IS SLEEPING, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. And then, it's Lizzy doing it again, literally minutes later. It's Justin having band practice, and Bible Study, and school...chances to actually converse with other adults, when I've not left the house in days. It's feeling like I can't add an activity that's just for me without our family reaching critical mass. It's the floor needing to be mopped, again. It's toothpaste in the sink, or juice on the floor that I've just mopped. It's Justin walking in the door and innocently asking "What's for dinner?" when all I've eaten all day is a spoonful of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter, which I snuck while pretending to go to the bathroom, with Lizzy banging on the door the entire time saying, "Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom?"

Like so many parts of motherhood, The Mother Rage is one of those things that no one tells you about, but that I'm convinced we all experience.

What's more, The Mother Rage is relentless, starting small and growing into bitter resentment if left unchecked. She takes hold of small things and multiples. Such small things. But when combined, they are enough to drive me to adding chocolate chips to my yogurt at 6:00am. Or to contemplate packing up both children before noon and driving to the liquor store to replenish that tequila that we're out of. Or to send passive aggressive text messages to Justin about leaving the pear cider that I just bought out on the counter, unrefrigerated, and now undrinkable. They are enough to make me write off a day as "bad" at 9am, and to keep looking for reasons that the day sucks until I lay my head down at...well....until I think about laying my head down at 2am.

The Mother Rage is in full force today, but she can be battled. By counting blessings, by trips to Target just because, by recognizing the beauty in the mundane, and by talking about The Mother Rage in the third person.

You're officially on notice, Mother Rage. It's you against me. And I don't like to lose.

{Just a quick postscript--this was mostly meant to be a (sort of) funny post about something that I think most moms experience...how small things can just multiply to create a full on RAGE out of nowhere! Although I was definitely feeling rage-y this morning, I promise I'm okay, and laughing about it now :) }

28 comments:

  1. Aw, hon. Life is tough right now. It just is. I remember these days all too well. Hell, the Mother Rage just hit me the other day. It was all too much. I feel it building. We all do.

    You'll get through it. Believe me when I tell you that things do get more manageable.

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    1. Thanks Molly!

      Really, this was meant to be a (sort-of) funny take on "The Mother Rage"--how in the world do such small things build into such a giant RAGE so quickly?!

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  2. And don't you love when they finally return home and wonder why you're in a pissy mood? I love that it literally starts with "Isaac decided to get a puzzle out and managed to knock all the boxes down . . ." and it just tailspins. Hugs mama.

    If there's anything I've realized this Christmas it's how much I love and wish for an IRL friendship with my blogging friends. Girl, I'd get you that tequila.

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    1. And I'd get you those Claussen pickles ;)

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  3. I have definitely experienced "The Mother Rage" as have most of my friends. Very well put. Hopefully you get enough relief for it to pass. I know when my rage is full, I need just a couple hours "off" and then I'm good again. I usually explode on my husband. I'll say a prayers for your sanity.

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  4. I know how you feel. I recently got this book and it has been awesome, you might like it.
    http://www.hopeforthewearymom.com/get-your-book/

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  5. Totally know how you feel! One that always brings out Mother Rage for me is when you are at home with the kids all day, and the hubby comes home from work and acts like hes just SOOO tired and makes a comment about how he wishes he could just stay home and "do nothing" all day. Um ya right! I just wanna strangle Shane when he compares the two. I only stay home with my daughter once a week and that can be exhausting. Oh and my husband doesn't have as many outside "hobbies" but he has one big one-hunting! So he's gone a lot...this also brings out my Mother Rage sometimes, because there's nothing I have that I really do just for me. Oh and the one about its always right when you sit down to eat, one of the kids is needing something...that made me giggle. Happens every time!

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  6. Ugh, been there all to often. Thanks for the reminder that we are not alone in feeling this way as parents! :)

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  7. We've all been there. I come from a loud family as well and my husband often asks me why I'm yelling at him. I have the same response as your husband:) He also shushes me when I'm on the phone because I apparently talk to loud sometimes. Maybe mine is wife rage coupled with the mother rage!!!

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  8. Um yes. I call this 'losing my s***'

    I dont like it, but I do it too.

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  9. Oh yes, I've been there. I mentioned about the wet diaper saga on Facebook the other day? That was one of those days. I was SO mad. Livid actually. We were headed out the door to run a few errands and it took me twenty minutes to get all of it off the floor. He knew I was pretty upset. We finally got in the car, and on K-love they were playing on song and the lyrics said something like "I'm forgiven!!" and it hit me. I turned to him and forgave him for making a big mess. He said "thanks mom". I've been trying my hardest to handle situations in loving manner (though it pains me sometimes, ha!) so I can teach Cameron to be compassionate toward others. It's an upward battle! Know you aren't alone.

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  10. I love this post. I've definitely been there this week. I feel like all I do is follow Olivia around and clean up her mess. Then Tom came home and asked what I did that day. It was a totally innocent question, he really wanted to know, but I though the was commenting on the constant tornado we live in lately. Totally had the Mother Rage.

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  11. This is the best post! Seriously! I can't tell you how often I've felt like this, and have no idea where it came from, only that I'm about to lose it, and I can't stop it. It's so hard to keep your cool sometimes. I love the honestly in what you wrote.

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  12. I seriously think this is my favorite post you have ever written. Girl, I have the mother rage. For real. And sometimes I seriously think "Am I really getting this angry over something so small? Maybe I have an anger problem." But it's not just one thing...it's ALL THE THINGS. Sometimes I can physically feel the mother rage building up and I think I gotta do something quick or I'm gonna blow. Love what Bekah said because that is exactly what I call it too. I have told Chad several times lately: "My shit is lost!!" Ha.

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  13. Girl, RIGHT THERE WITH YOU!! (I'm yelling like Justin, apparently ;)) I got the mother rage big time after Gabriella was born. Jim and I have fought like never before (but we've also reconciled like never before too which is a nice learning experience) so I totally get you. Totally. 100%. 1000%.

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  14. I've so been there! And I feel like I usually visit there at least once a week... or day.

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  15. Ditto to all the above. I have actually thought I was going crazy recently and thought "is there something wrong with me?!" I can feel this 'fire' burning up in my chest when I'm about to lose it... sometimes I can control it and walk away, sometimes I snap and yell. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! And I love it so much that others have stepped up to say "I'm there/have been there too"... it really makes ME feel like I'm not alone as well.

    And ditto to Leah's comment. More than ever, I wish my blogging friends were IRL friends.

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  16. Very well said! I totally felt like you when my boys (now 9 and 11) were small! It's so overwhelming. Once, my hubby came home from work and tried to give me a break by saying, "Go, relax, take a shower." I freaked out on him and said,"Taking a shower is not something fun to do. It is a daily personal hygeine requirement, not a hobby!

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    1. LOL!! I love that you said that! I try so hard to avoid using up nap and bed times by taking a shower because I totally agree! (BTW, I DO shower, just try to do it when my kids are awake instead of "wasting" precious nap times!)

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  17. Well God bless your motherly soul! Thank you for putting this out there, because NO MAN WILL EVER UNDERSTAND!!! THANK YOU for validating this. Even if you put a funny spin on it, it IS there, and while some mothers handle it better than others, it is their, the elephant in the room, that men think we make up. I would love to go to work, and talk to people who can speak full sentences! I eagerly wait for my teen daughter to get home from school at 3:15, so I have someone to talk to. But she is a teen, 16 to be exact, and she lives in her room, away from her crqazy mom and the "annoying babies". Yes, this is my second time around, I have 2 teens and 2 babies, and yes, I am almost clinically insane. SO, God Bless you, and what doesnt kill you, only makes you stronger!

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  18. The Mother Rage eventually turns into The Grandmother Rage...and I speak from personal experience :o)

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  19. Yup. I used to keep and live in a clean house. I'm not a neat freak or type A, but I just feel more zen when, say, the floor isn't knee-deep in toys from the front door to the kitchen, which isn't filled with dirty dishes and covered in kid-crusties. No matter how hard I work the house always looks like a bomb went off. Sometimes I look around and just want to a)run screaming; b)throw it all away; c)write a very pointed, bullet-pointed letter to everyone in my house including my husband while I up-end a bottle of vodka. Rage.

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  20. This is a great post. So true, and so infrequently acknowledged!

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  21. The Mother Rage hit here the other morning when I was dead asleep, Brayden came in, Brandon let him crawl into bed with us, and then proceeded to kick me in the boob. But the next day? I calmly got up with Brayden so he would not disturb Brandon, and Brandon got to sleep until 8:30.

    I totally get Mom rage. and it builds quickly!! I hope you are getting some relief :)

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  22. I'm the mom of four kids five and under. Three bio, one foster/adopt. Our foster daughter joined us when my son was 6 weeks. This is so spot on my life. Luckily I can say that with a smile.

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