Somehow it has all fallen apart. There are tears, stomping feet, slamming doors. The noise has risen to such a decibel that you are certain the neighbors are also experiencing the drama in your house. Someone in your family just threw a major temper tantrum, and guess what? It wasn’t your two-year old. It was you. Good job, mom.
You want the truth about the emotional rollercoaster of motherhood? I think you can handle it.
When you become a mom, most likely you realize that there will be emotional outbursts. You are vaguely aware of colicky babies, the terrible twos, sibling rivalry and any number of moody minefields that surely will detonate at some point. What you may not realize, though, is how often you will be the one struggling to control BIG FEELINGS.
I once read that raising kids is like having part of your heart exit your body and walk around outside of you. You ache with tender affection as you watch them sleep. You experience sheer terror as they dart obliviously into the street. And you simmer furiously as they look you in the eye and deliberately disobey you.
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Sometimes you handle these days with calm confidence, the purposeful and competent captain of your family ship. Sometimes you mess the whole thing up. The situation can quickly devolve to the lowest common denominator, and there you are, ramping things up instead of calmly bringing them down. You remember wistfully how you once seemed completely capable in other arenas – work, study, relationships. You consider the possibility that you are just a big fat poser who has tricked everyone your entire life into believing that you are normal and proficient, when in fact you are a person who may be brought to her knees by someone barely out of Pull-ups.
But don’t worry. A bad day does not a bad mother make. Parenting teaches quite a few life lessons, some brutally, and one of the most important is forgiveness – for you and for the rest of your family. Other lessons include humility, remorse, resilience, and the soothing power of chocolate.
And here’s some great news: the really amazing, significant, and impactful feelings that come with motherhood are also super BIG. That goes for tenderness, affection, joy, pride, and of course, love.
The most important truth is: you never knew how much love your heart could hold –until it beat for your babes.
Want to get a better handle on big feelings? Check out Tracy Curtis' essay about mommy angst in the midst of meltdowns, The New York Post's take on the impulse to tame emotional women, and everyone’s favorite Super Bowl commercial, just in case you need a good cry today.
Bess Kercher, M.A. explores the reality of motherhood at www.MomsCharlotte in her blog "A Few Good Moms...Can You Handle the Truth?" Bess lives in Charlotte with her husband and two sons. You can read more of her writing at www.maemucho.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.