I pride myself on taking the high road.
Particularly, when it comes to my kids.
I bite my tongue and pick my battles more often than not.
But this morning was a whirlwind of converging shit storm factors that led my 4-year old and I into a raging battle of the wills.
To be fair, I will preface my commentary by admitting that I had no business getting up at 4:30am to take a boot camp class. It's a fucking miracle that I didn't kill myself or the girl standing next to me. Every time I looked at myself in the mirror, my mouth was as wide as the room yawning.
So when she came bounding out of her bedroom wrapped up in a kitty blanket demanding chocolate milk, I will admit that my patience was at an all-time low.
Kindly stirring the syrup into the milk, I asked her to get dressed for school. Returning in a summer get-up (which is probably again my fault for not cleaning out her closet), I told her to look outside at the rain and reminded that she needed something warmer to which she shrieked, "I'll wear what I want. It's my school."
Fine, 'freeze' was my first thought.
And somewhere between her bitchy response and my internal one, we found ourselves screaming at the top of our lungs about striped tights, yogurt or bananas for breakfast, brushing teeth with the paste that she says tastes horrible and getting out the door without 50 billion stuffed animal friends.
I drop kicked her ass out of the car and cheered the whole way home.
Until pick up, when she shouted to her friends, "Goodbye Suckers! My mom's here." Standing mortified, she barreled out of the joint and ran directly into the parking lot, nearly getting hit by a mini-van, while all of the mothers dutifully holding their children's hands nearly had a heart attack.
Screaming again in the car, I howled, "Do you want to be squished like a squirrel? You can't run away from mama...you're turning 5 in a few short weeks. You know better."
To which she replied, "Can we swing through Starbucks and grab a vanilla bean frapuccino before ballet?"
With a primal squeal, I glared, "Are you kidding me? Absolutely not. I'm not rewarding poor behavior."
Two minutes later, she started to cry and said, "Why do you always get everything YOU want?"
And that is where my story officially begins, the moment that I lost it.
I'll paraphrase because I'm fairly certain that I blacked out and was replaced by my inner wounded child or a demonic presence....
"Everything I want?!!! I absolutely do NOT get everything I want. Not even remotely. Do you know what it means to be an adult? To have to make choices that have real consequences and to sacrifice for the greater good of the family...to have to decide how to be a good steward of your time and money and energy all the while second guessing whether you could have done it differently or better while being mindful that you're not getting any younger and that the clock is ticking."
Approaching a stop light, I looked in the rear view mirror at a little girl with tears in her eyes.
Epic motherhood fail.
Pulling into the driveway, I turned around and said, "I know you think it's easy to be a mommy and that I tell you things to do all of the time and get to have dessert when I want and tell you that you can't. But the truth is that sometimes, well a lot of times, it's just as hard to be your mommy as you feel like it is to be the kid. Maybe we should say that we're sorry to each other and try again?"
She smiled, gave me a hug, hopped inside, changed into her ballet leotard and from her room screamed, "Can we still go to Starbucks?"
Ah, the joys.