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The day started as any other, the kids waking her up for the day before her alarm even has a chance to go off. Then it was on to clean clothes and breakfast, then meds for her oldest. All of this was the easiest part of her day. It was routine. Sadly, the attitude from her son was also becoming routine.
By the time 9 AM rolls around his attitude is completely different than his normal cheery self. Demands, insults, and mocking tones took over her typically sweet and joking child. This is exhausting. "I'm watching cartoons," his voice sounded demeaning.
Looking up from feeding her toddler, she shook her head, "No TV in the morning. You know my rules. It makes you cranky when you watch TV all day."
Cue the yelling and accusations, "I want to watch cartoons! You don't let me do anything! You're being so mean to me!" Yep. That was her. She was the mean mommy.
To her son she was a mean mommy. All because she tried to set boundaries, had rules, made him wear clean clothes, and didn't let him eat all the junk food he wanted. "I never said you couldn't do anything. You have toys and books. You can either play or read, it's your choice." This response gave her a whine in return, "I don't want to. I'm bored!"
She let out a sigh as she let the toddler out of her chair to play, "James, please. The TV doesn't need to be on all the time. You're only bored because you're rejecting the two options I gave you. So again, you can either go play with your toys, or you can go read." He crossed his arms in a huff and went to his room after arguing for almost an hour.
By noon she was mentally exhausted. She caved into letting her son have TV time a half hour early just so the yelling would stop. He yelled at her so much that even her one year old daughter started yelling. Once the yelling ceased and cartoons was on the TV the house was quiet. Save for the occasional yell of joy from her toddler and her blowing raspberries for fun.
Once it was naptime, she retreated to her room with her daughter and left her son to watch TV with their grandmother. She wouldn't be able to do this once they were out on their own again, but for now, she needed it.
She laid there wondering how different her life would be if she didn't have her son so early and had both of her kids with her husband. Guilt instantly filled her after the thought passed. She loved her son to the point of insanity because she knew she would protect him at all costs. But most days were so hard and exhausting that she felt that she was failing as a parent.
He would yell frequently at the smallest things that happened to him. He argued on the slightest whim. And he would even slam doors unnecessarily when frustrated. But he was the most caring person she knew. And this was because she's seen him on his good days, too. Not just his bad days. Though lately his bad days have been piling up with him only being able to stay during the weekend while he stayed with his dad and step mom during the week.
The end of the day was approaching. His outbursts had calmed down, the yelling finally stopped earlier that afternoon, and he was all hugs and sound effects. When her husband was getting ready to leave for work for the night he peeked into her room. "Mom?"
She looked up from her book, "Yes Bug?"
"I'm sorry." She couldn't help but to smile and reach out to him for a hug. "Thank you. Tomorrow can be better. I love you."