Ever the drama queen, I was hoping Kevin would walk in on me Doin’ Work, chunks of hair escaping my ponytail while feeding Ellis and wrangling Micah. Ellis had developed a habit of grabbing spoonfuls of butternut squash soup and splashing it all over his hand-me-down “I Represent Queens” romper I had JUST changed him into.
Of course Micah saw that I was giving Ellis way too much undivided attention. He climbed onto my lap, asking me to blow bubbles with his cheap bubble wand that wouldn’t even yield one measly bubble after my earnest attempts.
It had crept up on me on this Thursday but I was exhausted. Mentally and physically.
I didn’t know things were building up inside me.
I was clock-watching like a mofo but Kevin was still not walking in through the door to grab the baton from me, to grant me my Halleluyer time.
He came home only about 15 minutes later than I had anticipated, but I had been waiting to exhale. When he did walk in, the scene had shifted. It all looked too dang peaceful for me to get the proper pity I was entitled to.
I had wrested Micah off my lap and Ellis was no longer throwing his food around with his forearms bulging like Popeye’s.
I said sarcastically, “Hiiiii Daddy! They’s ALLLLL yours!” sighing dramatically and stomping off into the bedroom we share with Ellis. Tried to lie down and hopefully eke out a good cry before I had to bathe and nurse Ellis. Lately though, I am not able to cry.
I begged myself not to beat myself up for not getting to the gym again or not getting some other stuff done during their naps. I just needed to freaking exhale but I had forgotten how to do that. As I shifted back and forth in bed, I started getting hurt and pissed that Kevin was not asking me what was wrong.
I hollered at him to leave the kids and join me in the room for a moment. I felt an urgent need to remind him that a girl just wants to be asked sometimes, YA HEARD ME? And after six years of marriage, it was damn embarrassing to have to spell it out. Of course he said what I expected, that he was giving me the space and rest that I deserved. Completely understandable and logical. And dude was prolly skurred when he seen the wild look in my eyes.
But I don’t do well with logic.
It is my kryptonite.
It was not premeditated but I ended up beating up a half-bag of Popcorners (Butter) until they became dust all over my bed and floor, under Ellis’ crib, everywhere. Disaster. This was a shameful adult tantrum. I was famished but we had nothing yummy to eat, and dabnabbit, after a really tough day (details of which I didn’t fully get into here), I only wanted something delicious, not the bahb and gheem (rice and roasted seaweed) I had been subsisting off of. Sad fact of adult life: Food does not just appear by sheer magic. And them damn Popcorners tasted like shit. How did I ever think they were bomb?
I WANTED “AMENITIES” as the mean troll on “Princesses: Long Island” shamelessly repeats. Someone to clean the apartment from top-to-bottom like we’ve been meaning to since Micah was in my belly and make wonderful meals so that Kevin and I don’t have to scrounge around to whip up something. Someone to just come in and say, “How can I help you? Go for a swim please and don’t come back until you’ve finished reading that novel you’ve been dying to read.”
Kevin shrieked, “Look at this mess! Jihee-yah! You are something else, you know that! You screaming about how everything is just too much work and how you don’t have a break but then you go all crazy and make more of a mess. You gon’ clean this up? I MEAN, LOOK AT THIS HUGE MESS! I don’t believe you sometimes.”
I started wincing so that I could TRY to summon the tears to flow but they just wouldn’t. I just wanted my body to myself, not as a jungle gym, and only sometimes (please). I just wanted to be able to lie down in a QUIET ROOM without someone needing me all the damn time, even if the someones are my most beloved humans. I wished someone would clean up after MY big messes and wait on ME hand and foot. I wished I could be f*cking ROYAL too! (Obviously Royal Baby frenzy had infiltrated my psyche. So now, it wasn’t just our local librarian losing it yet again, screaming, “I need to apply for a job as the Royal Baby’s librarian! I am not your babysitter! I am not your disciplinarian!” to all the wide-eyed toddlers in her Bootcamp, I mean, Toddler Storytime).
Picking up after toys, diapers, choking hazards, and food over and over and OVER again had landed Mommy in a looney moment.
I got over it by breaking it down to Kevin about how I was feeling when I beat up those Popcorners, and apologizing for my uncute 36 year-old tantrum, especially since he does help me so much and oftentimes picks up the slack, treating me quite Royally, in fact. The meltdown caught me by surprise as I had had a few great weeks of being patient while wrangling the kiddos. (Kevin so graciously cleaned up the mess for me even if he had a pounding headache after a long day at the office and a weird breakout on his eyelids).
I also told him that we need to do a better job of having the apartment stocked with wine to decrease the whine.
The sheer wear and tear had built up without even my being aware of it.
Parenting: Even the most joyous and adorable moments are not without exhausting elements.
For instance, before my Popcorners violence, I had dared to lie down on the job when the boys were playing in the living room. I had lied(?) down on the playmat so that I can still pop up if Ellis took a nosedive from climbing too cockily. Dude began climbing the couch, using my throat as a stepstool while Micah saw that Mommy the Jungle Gym must be signaling that she is ready to be ridden on since she was sprawled out. He would charge from the corner of the room and crash down on my engorged breasts while laughing uncontrollably. OOF! At first I pleaded with him to stop, but ended up turning it into a game where I would growl and halfway sit-up like Pilates whenever he charged towards me.
All of this made me realize that as a stickler for accuracy, I needed to be more accurate in my rants. It’s not, “I ain’t got time for (insert some home/child-rearing chore that needs to get done).”
It is more accurately, “I ain’t got nothin’ left in me to give of myself even a little bit more.” It is not a time thang. I have TIME to cut up the fruit at night so the next morning is less chaotic. I have TIME to do another load of dishes by hand. I have TIME to go to the basement of our building and do loads of laundry. I have TIME to pack the diaper bag for the pool the night before. I have TIME to refill the sippy cups. So yeah, I have plenty of TIME at night to get shit done, definitely a few hours after my good sleepers konk out.
It’s an energy thang. It’s a sanity thang.
If I give of myself any more at night after being a human jungle gym, chauffeur, stroller reconfigurer, (lazy) cook, consoler, cheerleader, storyteller, teacher, snack dispenser, drink refiller, sippy cup retriever, shit-collector, potty coach, butt-wiper, nose-blower, sunscreen applier, teeth-brusher, clothes-changer, pool floatation device, bubble-maker, guardian, adorer, I fear I will truly be walking down Queens Blvd rapping to myself and laughing maniacally as I spit my own rhymes.
That is why, late at night, I am on the Internet reading articles I wanted to read earlier, wasting time on Facebook or typing up posts like this. I have to allow myself these guilty pleasures instead of thinking, “Well I SHOULD be….” Even bad tv ain’t doing it for me any more. I itch to write more and more.
And this is all to set the stage for my next post. Working title (subject to change): Yup, That Really Happened.
Poor behbeh. But just gotta say, not only do I understand you because I went through that several times, i want you to release yourself from believing that you HAVE to play so actively with your kids ALL the time when they’re awake. I’m telling you, the kids have to know that you’re human and can’t/won’t stomach certain things… like the stomach/ boob pounce. I know you’re working on the discipline thing but it’s time to work on the “I got lasers coming out of my eyeballs look” and the long talk that comes after the look, explaining why x,y,z behavior ain’t gon’ work. You don’t have to be as mean a** mom like me, but a little laser might do you good. 😉
Thanks for being so honest. I often find myself wishing I had a wife too instead of just being one.
Jihee, you da BOMB, both for this post and for the awesome mommy you are. Next time you need some royal time, give me a call, I live in your hood now. 🙂
Thanks for reading and commenting. My craving to write has swelled to epic proportions lately. Dunno if I need to keep it to “kitchen table talk” as Wendy Williams would say but I ended up writing and sharing some of my low moments last night as the work week came to a close. It was the only thing I wanted to do after their bedtime.
Sonia! Not “poor behbeh” though. I realized that because I wrote this past midnight on a Friday night when I am extra fried, I was inaccurate about the stomach / boob pounce. I had tried to discipline him about other things throughout the week but the stomach / boob pounce I morphed it into a game of Sleeping Bear, where as he ran towards me I would GROWL and get up halfway like a sit-up. THAT’S why he was laughing uncontrollably.
Yes, I have this compulsion to engage them lots when they are awake because I think I feel like if I passively turn on the TV for more than one or two Doras, why am I an at-home mama? A nanny would do the same?
But yeah, as the kids are getting older, I am realizing that I have to allow myself to phone it in sometimes, for the sake of preserving energy and sanity. It is so hard because I always judge myself. Bye for now. Micah has cooked me some breakfast from his little kitchen. He said he made me blueberry waffles but between you and me, looks like a bowl of air.
I need to create a profile for my blog. I didn’t think about it when I started this back in 2011 but if I am serious about writing and sharing even more, I need to be able to describe myself in the third person. What kind of blog is this? I am going through all my identities so see what this blog is about: “korean-american mama, lapsed lawyer turned stay-at-home mama, cali transplant in NYC, mama to two boys, only gal among Kim men?” Frankly those all sound a dime a dozen. Got thoughts? THANKS.
How about a revamping like…CaliYorker or Lawyer2Mama or LadyoftheHouse or KAmericanMama
btw, this post led to my first experience receiving some hurtful feedback. everyone has a right to their opinions, including not liking what i have to say, but to try to CENSOR me in 2013 – to tell me NOT to write in a public forum because other ppl have real problems / have it much worse? thought i was over it but hurt and rattled the very next day.
I hear you :). Especially loved the part about the librarian, now I remember why I don’t take the kids to the library more than twice a year. I walk out pissed off every time!
I can only imagine how tiring it must be to raise two energetic boys.. And I think everyone has the right to share their experiences.. If someone doesn’t like what you have to say, they don’t have to read it.. You aren’t broadcasting it into their head or anything. 😉 Besides, if we declined to write about difficult times because “others have it worse,” then should we decline to write positive things because “others have it better?” Whatever we experience, is real.. And there’s nothing wrong with an honest expression of life experiences..
Aww, Gilbert Gong from VNHS! thanks for the support. extra special to me to hear from a guy as I never imagined that men would be interested in my musings and stories! thanks for taking the time to read and comment! really means a lot to me.