Yesterday I took the kids to my mom and dad's to swim for a bit and to leave N there for a 2-night sleepover. She is most assuredly in hog heaven, watching Disney Channel until her eyes pop out (we don't have cable/satellite so she is so deprived) and finagling a visit to the mall to spend at least $20 of her eventual inheritance.
I was already a little "undone" before I ever got to my mom and dad's because of the challenge of wrangling 3 kids and all the frickin shit one must take to the pool with little ones into the car. Plus, I had N's sleepover stuff to get in. Plus, both N and G realized at the last minute that they both needed something in the house, and both things required mommy to get them or look for them or conjure them up from thin air.
Once we got to my parent's home but before getting to the neighborhood pool, I'd had to listen to G and M fight over the toy cars. M is no longer the baby who just lets his brother do whatever he wants. He now shows his frustration and dismay in the form of very loud porcine squealing which takes only 15.6 seconds to make one's brain bleed.
After the fighting, I had to wrestle both of the boys into their swim diapers and trunks, holler at N at least 3 times to stop watching Phineas & Ferb and put on her swimsuit, and then attempt to cover their bodies adequately with sunscreen. Oh yes, and dress and lotion myself up.
My parents live one block from the pool, so we walk there, but due to the heat and having to walk and just being a general turd at that moment, G threw a big honkin' fit in the middle of the sidewalk.
Suffice it to say, I was DONE.
My mom seems to think that part of my problem with the kids is my problem, i.e., the OCD and anxiety and mood issues. And perhaps she is right. Perhaps because I have such a terrible time controlling my own moods I am extremely susceptible to coming unglued by the inconsistencies and wildness of my children's moods. Perhaps that is why age 3 is such a challenge for me.
But I think that maybe it is just really, really hard to be in the midst of emotional chaos and fighting all the time. And that is what it is like when you are with your children day in and day out all year long. You never get a reprieve unless they are sleeping. Even though the windows of fighting or tantrums might be only 5-10 minutes long a handful of times a day, they wear me out.
Couple with that the endless giving that goes on all day long. Getting someone dressed. Getting someone breakfast. Getting someone's diaper changed. Getting someone a drink. Getting someone's shoes on. Getting someone into the car. Getting glue to fix someone's broken toy. Getting a toy out that someone can't get out himself. Getting someone down for a nap.
Add to that all the regular work that goes along with maintaining a home and you have one tired, potentially agitated person.
There are plenty of non-medicated, non-mood-disordered people who cannot tolerate the idea or the act of being with their kids daily because it can be such an emotional/psychological drain.