anatomy of a bad morning

so. ramona & i are just having one of those days. this is jared’s third day back at school, & it’s one of his longer days, when i am on baby duty for eight hours straight while he’s up at school. it looked like jared was going to be able to get her down for an early nap before he left, but she woke up as he was moving her into the bedroom. so i asked him to put her in the stroller instead, thinking that we’d take the opportunity to go to baby storytime at the library while it was still reasonably cool out, & maybe some playground/walking around downtown time after if she was still resisting her nap. i had this whole lovely vision of kicking back at the library sipping my coffee while ramona was entertained (& tuckered out) by the story librarian & all the other babies. maybe we could even take care of a few errands downtown before heading home for a baby nap & some quality mommy alone time.

there was just one fly in the ointment: the travel mug lid was not with the travel mug. well, there was another fly in the ointment too: no matter where i needed to be, in any room in the house, jared was standing there first. sometimes this happens, because we have a pretty small house. i’ll be racing around trying to get something done & somehow, jared will magically intuit where i need to be next & he’ll just go stand there. at one point, i actually had to leap over the bouncy chair to get something i needed. sure, i could ask him to please move, but i would have had to do like a dozen times in a row, & you just never know with jared if he’s going to be all, “oh, sure, sorry,” or if he’s going to be all, “jeez, i’m so SORRY for taking up SPACE in my own HOME.” & i just didn’t want to deal with the possibility of Defensive Jared when i was focused on trying to get out of the house.

i tore the pantry apart but the travel mug lid was nowhere to be found. finally i decided to just go without & drink my coffee later. but then i changed my mind & tore the pantry apart one more time. still no lid. i REALLY wanted to drink my coffee. so i decided to take a risk & bring the travel mug without a lid. after all, the library was right across the street. how difficult could it be to get a stroller & a lidless mug across the street? as i was racing out the door, jared pulled the other travel mug, still dirty from the last time he used, out of his bag & was like, “use this!” right. i was already late for story time. i didn’t have time to stop & wash his mug too.

& that made me think about this habit jared has that i really hate. we’ve been living together now for five years & i have tried to break him of this habit innumerable times, but it’s just not happening. so i’ve given up. but it still annoys the shit out of me. he takes dishes up to school (travel mug, tupperware for lunch, etc) & then he just leaves them in his bag rather than putting them in the kitchen to be washed. or, god forbid, washing them himself at school or when he gets home. it’s of a piece with the other Jared Habit that really bothers me: no job can ever actually be completed in one sitting. he makes fun of me sometimes for being obsessively completionist. “can’t you just do the rest of it later?” might as well be his personal motto. i like to just finish things while i’m thinking of them, when possible. jared, however, has no qualms about only washing half a sinkful of dishes, or only washing one of ramona’s bottles when all three are dirty, or just washing the laundry that is already in the hamper rather than getting the rest of the laundry together first, etc etc. it drives me insane, because it feels like he’s trying to “help,” but he’s just leaving half-tasks for me to finish instead. but it’s another one of those things that we’ve gone around & around & around about, & nothing has changed. so we can just fight about it for the next fifty years or i can accept that jared is just never going to finish a household chore.

anyway, i was like, “i don’t have time. ‘bye.” i got halfway across the library & then sloshed coffee all over my arm & down my outfit. i completely lost my temper & whipped the coffee down the street one way & my purse the other way & then collapsed into sobs. all i wanted to do was take ramona to the library & drink my coffee & have a halfways decent stay-at-home mom morning, & instead, i was standing on a street corner, crying my eyes out, covered in coffee.

so i went home. & jared was all, “i have a bus to catch,” like somehow i was expecting him to just skip work to stay home & comfort me. trust me, all i wanted in that moment was for him to leave the house. or, preferably, the state. i tore the entire kitchen apart looking for that damn lid one more time & it’s just gone. all i can figure is that maybe it’s under or behind some piece of furniture. or maybe jared left it up at school or something. i looked through his various bags to see if it was in one of them but i didn’t find. i did, however, find some elderly mouldering tupperware, which i threw across the room in a rage (why can’t he put that shit in the kitchen where it belongs?) & it broke. so that was cool. i definitely felt like a really good mom in that moment. i also punched the front door repeatedly & kicked over a chair & probably did some other acting out-type stuff i don’t remember. then i looked for the dirty travel mug jared had offered me, thinking, okay, there’s another baby story time coming up, i can just wash the other mug & still have my nice morning with ramona. just a little bit later than i’d planned. but it was gone. i texted him to ask if he’d seriously taken an empty travel mug up to school. answer: “yes.” cue more crying. i may have actually laid down on the kitchen floor & wailed.

does this sound crazy? yeah, i know. it totally does. it’s a fucking travel mug, woman, pull it together. buy a new one if it’s that important to you, right? but this is my biggest problem as a mom: as long as everything goes relatively smoothly, i can handle it. but as soon as there’s a bump in the road–especially a really inconsequential one that seriously should not be an issue (hello, travel mug lids should get put away with the mugs, is it really that difficult?)–i lose it.

when i was a teenager, i had serious anger management issues. people were scared of me, even though i’m only 5’5″ & weighed maybe 120 pounds back then, soaking wet with rocks in my pockets. i was just rageful & the smallest things could set me off. like someone saying good morning to me before i was ready for human interaction. i’d fly off the fucking handle. as an adult, i’ve really worked on that shit & i thought i had a grip on it. but now that there’s a baby in the mix, it’s all coming back up again. & i don’t know why. ramona sleeps through the night, so i can’t really claim that it’s a sleep deprivation issue (though i did have bad insomnia last night & didn’t sleep very well). ramona is a pretty easy baby–no colic or health problems stressing me out. & jared puts most other dads/partners i hear about to shame. sure, he has annoying habits, but it’s nothing i wasn’t already aware of before ramona was born, & everyone has annoying habits. why, i have an annoying habit of writing overly personal shit on this blog! to say nothing of my occasional descents into being a ragemonster.

but i really want to get this shit under control, for obvious reasons. i don’t want to cry in front of ramona, or throw things, or punch doors, or disparage her father in any way. my dad was a bit of a ragemonster himself (which is probably where i got it), & sometimes he could be scary. (though, he was 6’4″ & throwing his 230 pounds of giant biker dude weight around. he could be petting a kitten & still look scary to a lot of people.)

i wound up going out for coffee, buying myself a cozy new sweater (retail therapy–i had a discount code, don’t worry), & going to the later baby story time. ramona had a grand ol’ time playing with the other babies & passed out as soon as we got home. so now i have a little pocket of time to get my head screwed on straight for the rest of the day.

this shit can be really hard. & not always for the reasons you think it will be.

ETA: jared found the travel mug lid. IN HIS BAG. THAT HE TOOK TO SCHOOL. kudos to him for having the guts to admit it, but i was like, “so now i can kill you in your sleep?” i knew, i just KNEW, that this whole mess could be traced back to his bad habit of leaving dishes in his bag. that guy.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

9 thoughts on “anatomy of a bad morning

  1. I’m sorry about your day. I think we can all relate to little things that are just overwhelming, even though they really have no right to be. Lately I’ve been describing some of my feelings as being like weather — they are just happening to me, regardless of whether they should or shouldn’t, regardless even of what I think about the situation I’m in. And there’s nothing I can do about them (well, there probably is, but there’s nothing easy or obvious to do about them).

    1. but andrea, you have a great excuse. you’re nine months pregnant! well i remember the absolute impossibility of controlling my emotions while i was pregnant. i thought i’d get a handle on things once ramona was born…& then once i was out of the newborn stage…etc etc. but i still kind of feel that same way. i think the problem is that there’s no way to really get a breather with a baby involved. sure, i can put her somewhere safe & go into a different room & try to pull myself together, but i know she’s in there waiting for me. probably crying. even when jared is taking care of her, i know it has to end eventually & i’ll be called up to the majors, ready or not. & there’s just so much that has to be done during her naps or while she is playing happily by herself (which is a very new development in itself). i have to pump, eat, finish the dishes, do the laundry, brush my teeth, whatever. there’s no unstructured time to just have a minute for myself. even while i write this comment, ramona is next to me, intermittently chewing on her ergo & crying.

  2. I don’t have the stress of a baby or a baby-daddy, and sometimes I still lose my shit. I’m not really rageful, but I get these awful moods where all I want to do is sit and cry and cry and cry. And once I get started I can’t stop. I will sob until I’m heaving and hyperventilating. More than usual, but I think Ryan doesn’t really know what to do about it, so she mostly just does a lot of back patting and hair rubbing.

    1. i used to be a big crier. i guess i still cry when i get mad, which is kind of embarrassing.

      i have been in such a state lately! i don’t know what it is! i really need to get my shit together. i stopped writing in my journal a while ago when i realized it was becoming just a Jared Burn Book, & that wasn’t fair because he is really not a bad dude. i was just focusing on the negative too much. but now i am just thinking negative thoughts all the time instead of writing them down, which isn’t much better. in fact, it’s probably worse.

      but i am really going to try to turn over a new leaf! maybe we should skype more. it’s just so nice to communicate with an adult i am not dating. my only other meaningful adult contact is playgroup, which is only once a week. & involves lots of babies. skype isn’t as good as actually being able to go for coffee or whatever, but it’s not bad!

  3. It’s true, pregnancy hormones are heady stuff. But the plus is that, for now, taking care of the baby and taking care of me are pretty much the same thing. I’m well-fed and, until recently, I was pretty well-rested too. (I don’t sleep that well anymore.) The main thing is feeling too lazy to do things that would probably be good for me. For example, it would probably help this posterior facing baby if I spent more time on the exercise ball. If I continue to feel this tired, I think the first year of baby raising is going to be an immense psychological challenge because I won’t have the option of putting off taking care of the baby. Lucky for me, Jason is able to take the first 8 weeks off and my mom & sister live nearby and are willing (and excited) to help. I don’t think you should beat yourself up for feeling overwhelmed by the constant demands on your time — because then I’ll have to beat MYself up in 6 months when I am similarly at the end of my rope.

    1. pregnancy tiredness is different from new baby tiredness. i was SO LAZY at the end of my pregnancy. i would spend all day laying on the couch watching reruns of “the office,” rousing myself only to throw on a sweater & go to bingo. i was just so tired all the time, & enormous, & it hurt to move because i had SPD & tendonitis in my knee (which both cleared up as soon as i gave birth…well, the knee still twinges sometimes, but ditching the 45 pounds i gained while pregnant really helped lighten the load).

      i think i am already kind of looking back on the newborn stage with rose-tinted glasses (which could help explain my growing desire to have another already), but it wasn’t that bad maybe? i mean, all a newborn really needs is a clean diaper & a full belly. & plenty of snuggles. my best recommendation is to focus on those things & don’t waste one second beating yourself up for being too tired to stimulate him with toys or books or whatever. he won’t be into that stuff right away anyway. now that ramona requires so much supervision, lest she eat a bug or pull my sewing machine down on her head or something, i kind of miss the good ol’ days when i could just stick a bottle in her mouth & zone out on “parks & recreation” for half an hour. even though i know it was probably wicked stressful in its own way. so don’t listen to me!

      every parent loses their shit sometimes. i said when i was pregnant that i wasn’t going to gloss over the hard parts when writing about this stuff, & i guess i’m not. but i swear, mixed in with all this stressful crap, there are sweet baby snuggles & moments of appreciating various things about jared. i just need to focus on that stuff more. but it’s always easier to obsess over the negative, unfortunately.

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