First and foremost, we are fine. The gale force winds and torrential rains that have been broadcast on a loop during Tropical “Storm” Bill hit my home yesterday, and they knocked almost a dozen blooms off of my crepe myrtle out front.
It’s still raining today, but not at a pace that’s even close to a normal Texas thunderstorm. So all is copacetic down here. Yet the media outlets continue to cry “Wolf”
Blitzer, and rile up the masses simply to sell time to their advertisers. The phrase of the day yesterday was, “we’re not out of the woods yet!” despite all meteorological evidence to the contrary. Their pleading for viewership was almost pathetic.
Anyway, on to my real topic.
Daphne had a particularly surly Saturday. It was one of those days where she required constant carrying, burping, feeding, bouncing, shuffling, etc. And none of it made her content. It simply served to quiet her for a few minutes while she worked out whatever the new sensation was, then she’d go right back to being Corporal Fustous Von Fussington.
Jen took all of this on the chin, knowing that I’d freaked out over this very same problem 48 hours prior and that I desperately needed to decompress after a stressful week of work. But, by early Sunday morning, she’d had it.
Fortunately, I was well-rested by this point and ready for a bit of baby babble bottle battle. So I stepped in and sent Jen to bed for a couple hours, and Daphne and I spent the morning together wiggling and cooing and discussing the finer merits of the original Modern Masters vs. Modern Masters 2015. (There’s no comparison by the way. This new set couldn’t hold a Candelabra of Tawnos to the original.) Anyway, Jen got some rest and had a chance to recharge, and dad got some solid weekend time with his daughter.
All good things.
But during this time something occurred to me about the difference between a father getting fed up with their kid, and a mother doing so. Socially, it’s completely acceptable for a father to become irritated and hand off their kid with disgust, but this is a luxury that moms aren’t really permitted. They can’t have those completely irrational moments where they still love their child, but hate what the little tyrant is doing in that moment. And they’re certainly not supposed to to abscond from their child while he/she is fussy, just for some personal rest/recharge time.
No, moms are supposed to be unconditionally loving and supportive. Able to weather all bouts of screaming and crying. Full stop. And if there’s a crack in that armor and frustration does begin to percolate out, it’s somehow a shortcoming and a signal of a potentially “bad parent.”
That’s an entirely unfair and inequitable attitude.
First, both moms and dads are going to flip out on occasion, and it’s their God-given right as parents to do so. The hope here is that the other parent can step in and quickly pick up the slack for the one who’s foaming at the mouth and ready to burn the house down. Just as Jen did for me on Thursday and I did for her on Sunday.
But more importantly, repressing that frustration is a recipe for future disaster. Not to go full psychobabble here, but you can’t bottle up that stuff forever. It WILL breach eventually, in an entirely random and violent manner. And it’s likely to be much, much worse than if you’d simply gotten angry in the moment, worked through it (either by yelling or sleeping or both), and made your way out the other side.
Moms, just like dads, are not some inexhaustible nurture font, nor are they immune to becoming fed up with a problematic child.
These facts do not make them bad mothers.
It makes them humans.
And humans make the best moms in all of recorded history.