Nothing can completely explain what it feels like to loose your mommy marbles. And, to the outside observer or after the fact, it doesn't really seem like you should have lost it, considering what happened. But let's start with some exposition.
It's Friday. It's the fifth day in a row that I've been all by myself all day long; in survival mode. Thursday, we went to the zoo in the morning. We went with Lillian's preschool which was better and worse than just going by ourselves. Better because Lillian had kids to talk to and run around with. Worse because Lillian is the pokiest child in the universe and the other kids were constantly moving on and Lillian was constantly lagging behind, meaning I was constantly nagging, pulling, pushing, yelling, and urging her to hurry up. We went during Nora's naptime, so all of us were completely worn out and I, for one, was especially looking forward to a nap. The kids fell asleep in the car and decided that that 30 minutes was all they needed.
Day 1: no nap.
Friday morning, I cleaned and tried to organize the office/sewing room/spare bedroom. After a while, the children made it abundantly clear that cleaning and organizing weren't actually that fun and we went to the park. I packed a snack and we hung out at the park for almost 2 hours. We came home and I put Nora down and She Was Out. Sah-weet. I thought she'd be down for at least 2 hours, maybe 3. Lillian elected to eat lunch before napping, so 20 minutes after I put Nora down, Lillian got into her bed. FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER, Nora starts screaming. Lillian pops out of her room to inform me that Nora is awake.
I try to shush Nora and let her cry herself back to sleep, which is incompatible with Lillian sleeping, as their rooms are right next to each other. So, I offer my own bed for Lillian to sleep in. This is a super special treat which Never Happens (mostly I was thinking about how my room is on the other side of the house and our door is really thick).
Now we're in medias res. Keep in mind, I was counting on at least an hour of ME time. And that promise has been fully and cruelly revoked. Stolen. I'm starting to crack. Nora's been screaming for 20 minutes, and it's not likely she'll go back to sleep. I get her out of her crib and set her up downstairs with some toys. While she's playing, I can hear Lillian making noise upstairs. I don't care, as long as she's quiet.
Day 2: no nap.
After a bit, I hear her come out of my room, so I go upstairs to tell her to lay back down and I find this:
I had already taken off her diaper in preparation for getting in the tub, but rest assured, the lotion was all over her legs and feet as well. And my bed.
I begin to purposefully slow my breathing so I don't do anything rash.
As it has already been firmly established, Lillian hates taking baths. This did not help her case against being strangled.
The moment comes when it's actually time to wash Lillian. She's hunkered over on the other side of the tub pretending her astronauts are mermaids, or something. I say, "Lillian, get over here and sit on your bottom so I can wash you."
Wait for it.
She lays down on her stomach, flashes me a mischievous grin and says in her pert little voice, "like this?!"
I start seeing red. "Get over here and sit on your bottom."
"Liiiiiiike this?!" and she pops up, grinning, onto all fours.
I really have to force my hands to hold onto the rim of the bathtub so they don't fly involuntarily to her neck. "Get. Over. Here."
I can't believe how mad I was. Furious. Bitter. Seething. Frustrated. Exhausted.
I eventually did get the kids to sleep, mostly by forcing them to stay in their rooms until they fell asleep, which was for all of our own goods.
Before you have kids, you think motherhood is hard like swimming in the ocean is hard. You understand that there are tides and currents and it's salty and there's jellyfish. You get it, it's hard. But when you're swimming, and you step off a sandbar into a hole, causing you to lose your balance at the precise time a wave strikes you in the face and you tumble head over heels until you're pretty sure that up is up, but it is, in fact, down and you are running out of air and you get your feet under you and push your head clear of the water and right as you start to take that gasping breath, another wave comes and hits you right in the face, it's awful.
And other times, it really is fun to swim in the ocean of motherhood... just watch out for the sandbars.