A friend of mine has a three-year-old girl and a boy who just turned one. They are bright, delightful children who light up any room they’re in.
This friend of mine is a mature, well-educated woman. She’s an elementary teacher by trade, and an extremely good one at that. She’s also an excellent mom. She’s very active in our young mom’s group, and is the best role model we could hope for.
And Sunday morning, her first words to me when we ran into each other were something like this: “I’m about to lose my mind. Thank God for the church nursery this morning, because if I’d had to struggle with those two for one more minute, it would have been ugly.”
She went on to describe a rough Mom morning – the kind we’ve all had, many times. Fussy baby. Into everything – so much so that Mom couldn’t even get two minutes alone to have a pee. Daughter refusing to wear shoes, sitting on the garage steps and screaming. Fighting children into car seats.
She finished up with this: “This morning made me worried sick for teenage, single moms. If I can’t handle this stuff, they don’t have a chance.”
If there’s a mom out there who hasn’t dealt with this kind of scene, it’s got to be some kind of miracle. Actually, I’ve known moms who talk as if this kind of scene HASN’T happened to them. Know what? They’re lying.
Here’s the thing: I am certain that every single mom in the history of the world has had at least one moment, driven into a blind fury by demon children (picture “Jack-Jack in “The Incredibles”), when she was only moments away from doing something that would end up involving Child Protective Ssrvices, or whatever it’s called where you are.
Most of us manage to step away, to hold it in, to hang on somehow to a tiny edge of sanity. We may not be exactly proud of the way we handle those moments, but we move on without actually scarring our little ones permanently – physically or emotionally.
But there are moms out there who aren’t able to keep it together; who don’t have a background of education, stability, support, or whatever it is that would keep them from doing the wrong thing. Like the teenage, single moms my friend was imagining. And others.
It makes me sad to think about it. I’m not a social worker, and I don’t volunteer for any charities that work to educate parents.
But what I can do is tell the truth about my own experiences with Mom Rage, rather than pretending it never happened to me. Tell about how close I came to totally losing it. Admit that I might not have always handled my own demon children (mostly they were awesome, but every child has an inner demon that comes out right when we least want to see it) the way I would have liked.
Speak the truth.