Monday, March 16, 2015

Emotions and Stuff

"Jesus fucking Christ!  You scared the shit out of me!  You may not EVER scream like your head is stuck in the tunnel unless it is ACTUALLY STUCK IN A TUNNEL!  I was so scared--SO SCARED!"  

Tears and all, this is what I screamed at my child and his friend at another friend's birthday party at the community center, where there were 20 or so children and half as many parents.  Mind you, the friends at the party are all in my son's class.  Where I am referred to as "Ms. Keating" and I teach cooking and tutor kids in reading and spelling several times a month.  I interact with these parents sometimes.  I'm not proud.

I had bolted across the floor, heart pounding, expecting to find my eight year-old with his head or finger stuck or being cut off.  He was screaming that horrible, shrill, "I'm hurt and it won't stop hurting me" scream and I reacted like any sane mother would: I quickly climbed up into the play structure and crawled into the tiny tunnel, expecting to find a severed finger.  

Instead I found two screaming and laughing seven and eight year-olds who had absolutely no idea what I had just imagined.  And I lost it.  

And then I apologized for yelling.  I explained that I was scared.  I hugged them, I told them everything was ok, and I exited the play structure to face the parental group.  All of whom were either hustling their kids into coats and shoes and making quick exits or deliberately looking away from me--anywhere but at the mom who lost her shit in front of everyone.

It was close to pick-up time anyway, so people were getting ready to leave.  The mother of the birthday boy (a good friend) was so sweet and assured me that it was fine, that everyone does it.  The mother of the seven year-old who took my yelling along with my own boy assured me that it was fine, and even told her child to apologize to me for scaring me half to death.  The other three parents left quickly, probably because that's what they were already doing, but it felt like they were judging me; that they never lose their shit and yell at their own kids.  I felt terrible and ashamed.  I felt like I wasn't a good enough mom.

I am emotional.  I am quick to react, I cry at the drop of a hat, I imagine the worst.  I speak before thinking, especially when adrenaline is racing through my body, like when I am stuck in a big group of people and I am practically giddy with emotion already and then I have to have conversations and interact with people...I say stupid, sometimes embarrassing things.  And then I spend the next few days reflecting on my conversations, thinking that the people--who witnessed whatever gem popped out of my mouth--hate me, or at the very least were offended.  I have talked it through with my close friends and my husband, who all assured me that while I probably shouldn't have screamed obscenities, it was OK.  I am not a horrible person, and if anyone did happen to judge me, they just don't know me, and it's OK.  They all assured me that they lose their cool sometimes too; it's human nature.  And the fact that the kids saw me lose my cool is OK--a good thing, even.  They saw a human being having human emotions and that was a good thing.

So yes, I overreacted.  Yes, I had an emotional outburst.  To all the parents at the party, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry I showed your children a side of me that they didn't need to see.  I'm sorry I yelled.  I'm sorry I swore (oops--I told you I tend to not think before I speak.)  But I hope that if you ever lose your cool (as I'm sure you do, just probably not in front of lots of people, ahem) your children understand that you are human.  I know my children do.

I am a good enough mom.  


Tana said...

"it felt like they were judging me" -- I'm glad you admitted that this was your feeling, and not a fact, because you really can't know what they were thinking. Occupy Jessiehood! You are an absolutely awesome mom. And a human one. And hey, even if you don't feel like it *all* the time, in *my* more positive moods, I like to quote Gene Simmons: "Life's too short to have anything but delusional notions about yourself."

Leigh Walter said...

I love you. I love that you swear like a sailor. I love that you are irrational sometimes. I love that you shout before you think. I love that you say sorry to your children. I love that you feel everything so intensely. I love that you wrote this today xxx

Nexxxus Ramblings said...

I love that you are human. It makes me feel more human. I have done this before in front of my son and his other middle school friends. I apologized but still felt horrible about it. Now I look back and kind of giggle about it.

Anonymous said...

We've all been there. I'm sure they don't think it's that big of a deal. If they do, well it's their problem :)~Rebekah M

Jessie Keating said...

Yes Tana, I have no clue what they were actually thinking. Trying this new thing called "perspective" and "grace." It's hard.

Leigh, you're my favorite. For reals.

I hope that someday my children don't need therapy, but I suppose they probably will.