The Guilt – By Nicole Perkins

I yelled at my daughter today. I mean really yelled. We were all tired – still recovering from a weekend away and things have piled up. The laundry – clean, but in a heap, the floors – swept but not mopped, and forget about work – that was just going to have to wait until bedtime.

As I tried to knock out my To-Do list, the natives were getting restless. I was frustrated because I couldn’t clean up behind them fast enough to make any forward progress, and they were frustrated because I wasn’t engaging with them.

Then things went sideways. Right in the middle of vacuuming they started fighting. I asked them to work it out, hold on, maybe straighten up their rooms while I finished, but there would be none of that. I looked at the clock to see if maybe it was naptime which, thank goodness it was, but now they were both crying, screaming at each other and any second it was going to come to blows.

I asked my daughter to go to her room and I would be there after I changed her brother and laid him down, but she just kept crying. I told her that if she didn’t get in her room and stop crying she wouldn’t get a story and still, she just sat there.

So I yelled – loud. I told her to stop crying, get into her room, she lost her story, I couldn’t talk to someone who was crying and I needed her to just do what I told her. So she went screaming into her room where she sobbed herself to sleep. Meanwhile my son, was able to wimper “I top crying mommy,” (he’s still working on his S’s). And then my heart broke. I laid him down, checked on my daughter, told her I loved her and I was sorry for yelling.

After that, deafening silence. They both slept for two hours during which I had plenty of time to feel guilty about my behavior. I know yelling at them to stop yelling is like going to war to bring peace – the end does not always justify the means. I knew I was overwhelmed and tired, clearly they were tired too, yet knowing all this, I still lost my cool. I hate not being perfect for my kids.

We talked about it after, hugged it out and actually had a really great rest of the day once we all got some rest – but I still feel guilty.

Oh yeah, and my husband looked a little put out that the vacuum was still in the middle of the floor when he got home and started winding up the cord with an annoyed look on his face. I just said “Thanks.”