"Mommy I don't want it!" she screamed.
The only thing that came to mind was the infamous scene in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast screams, "Well go ahead and STARRRVVVEEEE!"
"Give me paper," I reached to the back seat as she handed me the entire side of hash browns. The same hash browns she asked for, for breakfast. The same morning I had to deal with her deciding she wanted to go to her cousins house instead of church. The same morning I had to make three trips up and down my apartment steps in the freezing rain because I forgot my cellular phone, her cough medicine, the trash.
It was only 9 am. I was about to lose my temper and the Holy Spirit said don't.
That didn't mean I didn't want to scream at her that rainy Sunday morning in the car. "Dallas, you're working my nerves! Dallas, Ughhhh! Dallas, OK, well you're not eating and I don't care!" I wanted to pop her. I wanted to let all my frustration out in any way I could that morning. However, after her outburst, I said and did nothing.
An article I just read the day before came to mind – 20 minutes can change your parenting game. I thought back to the article. I couldn’t run away and leave Dallas with someone, but I could just break away mentally for 20 minutes.
I tried to pretend she didn’t exist for the next ten minutes of the ride until we got to church. (Since I didn’t have 20 minutes.)
But every two minutes I heard a whine, or a “mommy you hurt my feelings”, or a “mommy”.
Still no answer from me.
“Mommy, I’m hungry,” said the sad voice from the backseat. I leaned over and retrieved the hash browns from the cup holder. I handed them to her, still no word. The next sound was a crunch.
Several emotions went through my soul in that 20 minutes of a roller coaster. Relief, sadness, anger, annoyance, self pity, doubt, frustration, guilt.
Guilt is real. Mommy guilt at it’s finest. “How can you ignore your child Amber? What kind of mom are you? She said you hurt her feelings? She’s just a child. You can’t handle her? Were you really going to deprive her of food?”
I mean, in the big scope of things, the enemy was trying to frustrate me. I knew it… through the rain, the sequence of frustrating events that morning, the cries of my daughter – the enemy knew what pushes my buttons.
But I wasn’t going to let him win. “Devil, you are a liar.”
After the ten minutes of emotional back and forth in my head, we arrived a church, still with the subtle silence in the car that was occasionally broken by smacking.
I looked back. She looked content. She looked at me, “Mommy, are we at church?”
“Yes we are,” I responded.
Even though I felt guilty, I felt it was battle I defeated that morning. I come a long way from the outburst I used to shout in frustration: Dallas hush! Dallas be quiet! Ugh, Dallas!
Fact of the matter is – I am a human being with real emotions, flesh, and breaking points. I stand as a representative of a large population of moms - sometimes we get breaks as our children goes off to visitation, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, we don’t get physical breaks from our children, so we ourselves have to make ourselves, healthily, break away. Fact of the matter is – it’s ok.
For me, I think my guilt stems from an internal worry. Psst…. I don’t want her to think I am a bad mom. From articles, to real life conversations, moms around the globe have confirmed – The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you are one – Jodi Picoult.
Guilt – 0. Mom – 1.