I hate the mirror ...

Douglas with his first design… and I’m not talking about the one hanging over my bathroom sink, though I don’t often love what I see there either.  I’m referring to that thing that happens when your mood, no matter what it is, is reflected by your kids.  It’s like taking a bad mood and amping it up x10, because that’s what seems to happen.  It’s not just a reflection, it’s an explosion! I get frustrated and speak sharply, or yell, and they start fighting with each other, whining, and talking back.  And then there’s the real wince when I hear my own tone, that harsh and nasty tone, coming right out of my son’s mouth.  I hate it when that happens!

I haven’t been in the best frame of mind lately.  I struggle with some anger issues that seem to crop up randomly, though I pretty well know the main sources of them (yes, crap from my past) they still manage to trip me up.  I wish I could say I’ve moved beyond it all, but I can’t honestly … there are some things I still have to come to terms with.  On the days where something or someone pushes that button, it can get pretty messy awfully fast. 

Saturday the boys had a one-time silk screening class, where they could make their own design and then screen some t-shirts and cards.  I’d bartered some web design for it, and we were all looking forward to it.  Fynn had agreed to make a design that his cousins might like to wear so we’d have some Christmas presents put together, and and Douglas was going to make me a Worlds Meanest Mom t-shirt.  Yes, that needs some explaining too.  (This could get long, but I’ll try to curb the details.)  There’s been a rash of You’re the meanest mom! commentary lately from both boys, thanks to the loss of some privileges due to bad behavior.   Rather than get too upset over it, I finally asked for a t-shirt with the phrase on it, figuring it would defuse things a bit and I’d get a kick out of it.  Strange perhaps, but worked for me.

So Douglas came to class with his idea, and Fynn with this drawing …

Nothing Man, by Fynn… which I figured made a fine t-shirt gift.  Upon arrival (after staying up really late the night before with a friend and losing a lot of sleep) the fun began.  Fynn rapidly abandoned his Nothing Man idea, and wanted to know if he could draw something else.  After some resistance on my part to the idea of drawing an army tank for his cousins, I gave in and said whatever, and he tackled it with gusto.  Douglas on the other hand starting his drawing of World’s Meanest Mom, but soon decided that between the news that he had to cut the design out by hand, and (I think) the slightly odd reaction to his choice by the other moms in the room, that he needed to do something else also. 

Thus began the fun.  Tired boy, crowded room, time pressure, and not being able to think of ideas in the midst of it all.  He started a meltdown, and Fynn was in the middle of needing printing help, running around with fingers full of silkscreen ink.  Not a good scenario.  I put Fynn off, pulled Douglas aside to the quieter end of the room, and tried to help him come up with some quick ideas.  However, my frustration with the last-minute changes, trying to help two kids at once, and the overall chaos wasn’t invisible.  I wasn’t the most patient and soothing presence, I was more like a hot fan on a hot day … not quite what you’re looking for, good intentions aside. 

I gave him a few ideas, and reluctantly agree to the design of a tommy gun, despite the fact that I don’t really like my kids going around with guns on their shirts.  Just not my thing.  He started a much-too complicated design, and got frustrated while cutting it out and things slid further down the slope.  My frustration pushed him over the edge, and we were at the implosion point when the teacher came and offered to help him finalize his design.  Thank God!  They figured it out, and she got him rolling and the tommy-gun t-shirt assembly line was in full swing when I finished up with Fynn. 

D’s finished shirtIt feels like such a trap, that mirror.  There’s no crawling in a corner or stepping out for a latte or a quick run to work out my mood.  It’s just my mood, looking back at me in the eyes and attitudes of my kids.  Instead of making me snap out of it, it often sends it spiraling the other direction, and yes there are slammed doors and angry words sometimes.  If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy … oh how I hate the truth of that statement!  I spiraled into the pit of depression in the afternoon, but managed to get up and get going today and had a much better day.  I even had 3 hours to myself in the afternoon, which was both enjoyable and productive, vastly improving my mood. 

You ever hate the mirror?