The Freight of a Thought Train

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We’re talking, kissing, and I let out that brief sigh that lets him know to ask what’s wrong.

Without pause to ponder, I tell the truth: “I can’t stop thinking about what an awful mother I was today.”

Noodly Appendages
source: Minivan Ninja

He wants me to think only of us and right now, but a woman’s mind doesn’t work like that, does it? I always recall Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti—my thoughts twirling and spinning and twisting and running together. He’s sitting in one compartment, ready for the … well, syrup, the sweet times of marriage, and I am play-by-playing every minute of the day and getting farther and farther away.

I’m having a more and more difficult time keeping my cool with a 3-year-old on the loose. If just once she would agree to anything I offered. Not ask for things she doesn’t want. Stop fake crying 60% of the day.

I’m waiting desperately for a turnaround. I know yelling doesn’t help, but I do it. I know spanking has no effect on this will-of-steel, but sometimes I do it anyway. I know what she wants is my attention and yet one more whine of “I just need you, Mommy” is enough to topple me over into near-hysteria. I might run out of the room, lock myself in the bathroom, start singing an aria just to drown out the noise.

We have days that are so good it feels like water, a fresh stream through the hard rock my heart is. I feel relief, prayers of friends, smile big, tousle hair.

And then there are times like now, when she doesn’t hear what I say and screams the same thing at me forty-three times in a row while the fake wails continue and she clings to my arm and my ears hurt.

I know … it could be worse.

I know … I should be thankful.

I know, I know, I know.

But it’s still hard.

So dear, this is what I’m thinking that I can’t put into words in a five-second span. My thoughts don’t end, they pulse like the heart and course throughout the body. What I mean when you say, “Think about this” and I say, “I can’t.”

10 thoughts on “The Freight of a Thought Train

  1. Oh, sweet friend, I feel that I am in no shape to offer much comfort right now, drained to the core as I am. HOWEVER, please let me whisper just this… your heart? Is not, now or ever, a “hard rock”. It is alive with compassion, love, and desire. Were it not, the pain that comes from this dance of motherhood wouldn’t hurt you. Sending you hugs… and understanding.

  2. Hoping over from twitter and had to comment. Oh, how I have been there. You will survive and so will she. And my hardheaded, strong-willed, eldest-and-all-that-comes-with-that-child miraculously is coming out of this challenging stage. He just turned six, and his compliance is amazing (most of the time). Hugs and prayers.

  3. I just wanted to say you’re not alone. We have all been there. I imagine the only reason there aren’t more comments acknowledging it is that everyone is afraid to admit it — to the world and to themselves.

    You are brave. And you are *not* a bad mother. You’re only human, just like all of us. Unfortunately, we don’t surrender our flaws and become perfect people the day we become mothers. Wouldn’t this be so much easier if we did?

    Hang in there. This too shall pass.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your honesty with all of us. We’ve all been there, as moms and wives. Sometimes the only thing we can focus on is our own thoughts. We can’t just be there when we want to be because our mind isn’t ready to let go of the day just because the lights went out. Hang in there, and remember that we are all offering prayers everyday for our sisters in faith and love.

  5. On this morning when I was too tired to even dress to take Anthony to school and he looks at me and says “are you wearing that to take me to school?” implying that my houseshoes are not cool, I have shed a tear upon reading this, and I can’t say why in this short space. Thankful for a reminder that we are all struggling to get through some of these days.

  6. You are so not alone, I was right there with you last night, sitting in a pizza place across from my hubby, tears rolling down my face as I talked about how much it hurts when my child chooses comfort from Papa over mama, yet at the same time having days when he is so trying that no matter how much I love him, I don’t like him…. makes me feel like a terrible mother… When we got home I crawled into bed only to leave and go wake up that little boy just so I could rock him back to sleep….

    Motherhood I have come to decide, is a study of contradiction. 🙂

  7. I have so much empathy for you right now. We’re going through the same thing with our just-turned-3-year-old. It was like he had his birthday and all of a sudden a switch flipped in his head. He went from relatively sweet and compliant to a whining, tantrum-throwing mess. Some days I just want to leave him on the floor screaming and go find a quiet place to rest.

    Hubby and I are expecting our second little boy in a couple of months, and the poor child’s room isn’t ready, and he doesn’t even have a name. Every time we start to talk about him, we always wind up drifting back to something to do with our oldest.

    I’ll pray for your family, as I have been for mine. Best wishes.

  8. Hang in there, momma! I can’t imagine how difficult it must be with two kids because I certainly find it difficult with only my one! I think we sometimes just have to realize that they won’t remember every mistake we make as a mom. As long as we realize that each day is a new beginning and that God gives us grace and patience for each day. Thank you for being honest — I learn from people way more that way 🙂

  9. My first born is a girl with a will of steel also. We had a hard time with her as a toddler. But reading “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Ted Tripp really helped us solidify our approach to handling her bad behavior.

  10. Such a true statement about how difficult it can be to turn your attention to your partner and focus. I can definitely identify with that feeling.

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