Every day at around 4:30p, the resident grouch comes to visit me. Actually, it takes over my body and stays until about 6:30p/7:00p or until the children go to bed. Its visits are pretty consistent these days, especially after a long day of driving (2 kid pick-ups) and time out and about with the kids.
Funny thing is, I'm fine throughout the day. A mostly perfect Zen Mama is who I am. Milk spills, I'm cool. The cheese crackers fall on the ground, I'm fine. The baby is screaming at the top of his lungs while driving back to pick up my oldest from school, I'm good. Even the mini-tantrum that my 5 year old might try to pull after school to get his way. I'm calm as I reach out my hand to take his, and speak soothingly to him about not always getting his way all the time.
Then once I'm home and have sat down for about fifteen minutes the grouch comes to visit. She's cranky and snippish and selfish. She's tired of serving her hungry boys snacks and growls that this is absolutely the last helping of cheese crackers they are going to have before dinner. She's quick to send one son or the other to his bedroom, the second they gripe or complain or scream in protest. She gripes at her husband (via email) when he mentions he has to work later than his usual time (this scenario is pretty much an every day thing this week). She lets the baby cry and fuss just a bit longer than usual because she doesn't feel like picking him up and holding him in the moment. This resident grouch pulls no punches.
I'm not proud of the grouch. I sometimes wish she would just not show up. No visits, please. I want to be peaceful, loving and kind all the time throughout the trials and tribulations of family and life. But, with a consistency that matches the rising of the sun everyday, the grouch comes to visit. The grouch wants nothing to do with anyone in the moment. Sometimes the grouch just wants to curl up in a comforter and sleep. Worst of all, it's not hard to see the grouch. It at times makes itself crystal clear to the husband and kiddos. Not my finest moments, I tell you.
When the husband is finally home and the house is quiet and the older boys have been put to bed, then, only then, does the grouch decide to leave. The zen mother sort of returns. You see, the grouch doesn't really thrive in quiet, calm, non-stimulating places. It rears its ugly head only during times of loudness and stress, after a long day, when the demands from the kids seem to supercede my quota of patience (not that there should be one, ever). Ahhh...
The grouch is kind of hanging around now yet not so grouchy as I write this. As my baby fusses in the other room and my middle son asks me to read him a book, there's a war going on within me: resident grouch vs. zen mother. The grouch is taking a stand - doesn't want to be bothered; needs to not do anything but meet her own needs. Yet the zen mother is pushing back harder. After a few minutes of fighting, zen mother has won this battle as I go to end this post and see to my crying baby.
The resident grouch concedes. For now...