I always wished I would be the kind of sweet, patient mother one sees on a sitcom circa 1950-1980. You know, the ones who always look nice and sit on their children's perfectly-made beds while they dispense advice in a calm, rational manner. The ones who offer up a plate of freshly-baked cookies and a glass of cold milk when their child suffers one of the many indignities of childhood. The mom who wears stylish dresses, nipped in "just-so" at the waist, always looks refreshed, never gets her feathers ruffled, and can bake or sew anything in a flash.
BUT, guess what? That didn't happen. Oh, I do try to dispense good advice, and heal my children's hurts, and keep a nice home, and bake delicious and nutritious meals. In fact, every morning I wake up with grandiose thoughts about the things I will do, the fun we will have, the crafts I will make, the things I will bake........but who are we kidding? It's just not in my genes to be that serene mom who always has it under control.
Don't get me wrong. I can control a dicey situation with the best of them. I can juggle many responsibilities and wear many hats. But the thing is, when things get really tense.......sometimes I just freak out. As in I go completely nuts, bat-shit crazy freaking out and lose my mind (temporarily). Thankfully, that doesn't happen often, but my daily mini freak outs are a testament to my personality, which bears little resemblance to the serene, "Leave it to Beaver" momma.
Here are some examples of my freak outs:
1. When Jeff comes in and has ruined YET ANOTHER shirt because he came home from work and started working on his truck and now another decent t-shirt is stained or greasy or has paint on it. OMG! WHY can't he just designate some of his lame-ass race t-shirts from years' past to work on the truck? Recently I had a FIT when he came in with a hole in a t-shirt I had just bought him. I freaked out so much that he actually went out and bought a patch and "fixed" the shirt, good as new. And then he designated some of his lame-ass old race t-shirts as garage work shirts. YES!
2. When I see a cheese-stick wrapper on the floor and decide to leave it there until someone picks it up and four days later it's still there, only this time it's covered in dog hair and I finally FLIP MY SHIT and go on a rampage about the house, and how dirty it is, and how the kids are PIGS and how can they live in an environment such as this and finally they all get really, really quiet and start cleaning stuff up. And all is well for a few hours until someone leaves a dish in the family room where they are not supposed to eat anyway and I just pour myself a drink.
3. Here I almost typed something about my annoying dog, but I didn't want to hear the shit from people who think I'm a dog-hater because I have an old, annoying and horrible dog who makes my life a living hell. So, I'm going to leave that part out.
4. When my son comes in and reads my email/facebook over my shoulder I LOSE IT! Especially when he says "Wait, what? Who said that? What happened?" This one usually ends in my screaming "GO AWAY! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO READ OVER MY SHOULDER???" And then he sulks away, all wounded, like he didn't know or something. Whatever!
5. When the kids are goofing around and someone gets too rough and someone else gets hurt. For real. I freak out - for one, because now there's an emergency to deal with, and two, why do they always take it so far and three, it's all fun and games till someone gets hurt. Seriously.
6. When my husband: a. brings home a squash he found in the parking lot of Fred Meyer and actually thinks it's ok to eat, b. thinks a bottle of ketchup that has turned a strange brownish color and is two years past its expiration date is ok to eat, c. scoffs at me because I throw away the yogurt that's a month past its expiration date and smells funny, and he think it's ok to eat. Can you see the pattern here? I once cleaned out the garage pantry when Jeff was out of town, because I knew everything I threw away, he would either argue with me over, or fish out of the garbage when I wasn't looking and either eat it himself, or include it in a recipe without my knowledge. True story. Just because HIS stomach is iron-clad doesn't mean mine is. He thinks expiration dates are the manufacturer's way to getting you to buy more product. I think it's an FDA regulation designed to keep us from throwing up on a regular basis. Sigh.
7. When we're leaving on a trip and it's the night before and no one has packed and everyone still has to do their laundry. And each of the kids comes to me asking for a "packing list", even though I've written enough of those for them to have memorized the content, and even though I taught all of them to go "head to toe" to remember everything needed, and I KNOW at least one of them will either: a. forget a toothbrush, b. forget contacts/glasses, c. forget important medications or d. attempt to bring aboard an airplane a 10-ounce container of face lotion. GAH! So, I run around, making sure everyone has everything possible, planning for every emergency, and hastily pack my own bag in the wee hours or the morning of the trip, and inevitably forget something important. Or end up packing so many extra clothes and items I don't need that my suitcase no longer fits in the overhead.
And the number one, biggest time I have a freak out is:
8. When we're having a party/get together/people over for dinner (especially those who have never been to my house and will inevitably ask for "the tour", which means every nook and cranny has to be clean and that's not a job for the faint of heart!) and it's two hours before "showtime" and the kids are still sitting in front of the TV eating chocolate chips out of a bowl, and when I politely ask (ok, scream) for them to HELP ME, they lift their heads long enough to cast a glance about the room and say "It looks ok to me." Meanwhile, dog-hair tumbleweeds roll down the hallway, there is a pink ring in the toilet, the sink is piled high with dishes, nothing has been dusted since the last time we had company, their rooms are carpeted with dirty clothes, and there are still party decorations up from the last birthday (which, I'm sorry to say, was four months previous). That is the time I have my all-time, biggest freak out, and start barking orders like a drill sergeant (I just had to look that word up - why the HELL is it spelled with an "e" when it's clearly an "a" sound? I am a spelling nazi - which is another time I lose my shit, but that's another blog post). I'm screaming like a shrew, and five minutes before guests arrive, I throw on something decent and plaster a smile on my face like I didn't just spend the last hour with my imaginary whip, ordering my minions around. But seriously, can't they just HELP a little?
The good news is that, in the end, I sit patiently on their beds at night, listen to their hopes and dreams, and serve them fresh cookies and milk before they slip into slumber. KIDDING!
But I do listen to them. In the car, on the way to an appointment. And I do help them when they suffer the painful lessons of growing up. As in, "Forget those bitches, let's go to Starbucks!" My waist is not willowy, hence I don't wear those stylish dresses a la June Cleaver, but my jewelry always matches my top. I can serve up company with Southern grace, even though I have a bit of a temper and use the "F" word a little too much. So, I freak out a little. It's just how I roll.