You're not wrong.
My brain just isn't working lately. There's a very good reason for this. I have been more stressed at work this week than in all of my career.
I love my job and because I work in a state facility, it's often not really a high-stress kind of job. But, somehow this week I was completely bogged down and overwhelmed and couldn't seem to catch my breath. I never feel that way at work. I consider myself one of the lucky ones who was spared from last year's onslaught of lay offs. But, this week has been different.
The stress of it all finally came to a head on Thursday and after sitting in some heinous traffic, I came home and could not do much more than space out and sit in front of the TV. As toddlers often do, The Incredible Hulk had other plans for me. Plans that included using mommy as a jungle gym.
(Have I also mentioned that despite the beauty of this moment and the ease with which we were able to wean - my boobs freaking hurt right now and I'm only just starting to get a little relief.)
I was peeling him away from me and trying to distract him with toys, with food, with sippy cups, with anything that would keep him from touching me while my husband attempted to get the dishes done. I just felt so run down and sore and....well, like crap. Finally, I got him to settle down for a second on my lap, but then something excited him and he stood up like a shot and his tiny, yet hard head just nailed me in the jaw. My teeth gnashed together and sent a shock wave of buzzing, excruciating pain through my entire body. It. Freaking. HURT.
I couldn't take it anymore. The stress of work, the pain of weaning, and the fact that I had perpetually felt like crap for a week just rained down on me. I broke. I just started sobbing. I had this small, selfish thought: I kiss all kinds of boo-boos, make it "all better", do everything I can to keep every ounce of pain away from this little guy, and wouldn't have it any other way - but who takes away Mommy's pain?
My husband came in from the kitchen to see me weeping like a moron and TIH likely looking kind of confused. He asked me what happened and I could barely make it out into words, but something came out like, "I know he didn't do it on purpose,
I've talked about feeling under prepared to be a mother despite really, really wanting to be one and doing everything I possibly could to prepare myself for the task. Most of that under preparedness comes from not feeling like I'm a very nurturing person. My husband has assured me that this is as far from the truth as possible (and given the fact that I chose a helping profession for my career, he's probably right), but I still have this nagging feeling that I'm never going to be nurturing enough for my children.
As I sat there and wept like a moron, I felt two little arms circle around my neck and pull up. I felt a little body mold against mine and a face press against my cheek. And then I felt the best feeling in the whole world - a little pat pat pat on the back of my head. There, there, mommy. Don't cry.
I know I can't and shouldn't depend on my kids to always be able to make my pain go away. That's what they need me for. But, somehow, that little guy knew exactly what his mommy needed in that moment. A little hug and a little pat pat pat to make it all better.
A second later, he pulled himself away from me slightly and surveyed my face with a concerned look. I was still crying (probably more because his sweet little hug touched me so much) and so, he squeezed me in tighter again. Pat pat pat. All better.
Not only did I stop crying, I did actually feel a little bit better.
And, I had a thought - maybe I am nurturing enough for this kid.
I mean, he must have learned that somewhere, right?