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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

Poor Mama

Jenifer DeMattia

I’ve been very tired recently. My six-month-old is teething and is up on and off throughout the night. He takes small catnaps throughout the day and it’s very difficult to accomplish anything. I have as a result found my self very irritable. I woke up late this morning and was scrambling to get my 3-year-old to school. He crawled into our bed around midnight last night crying from a nightmare he had. “Poor mama”, he kept repeating. Uh oh. Whatever happened, it doesn’t sound good for me. In our king size bed he was stuck to me like glue. It was difficult nursing the baby when he kept elbowing him in the head. So this morning when my husband was complaining about the pile of laundry on the floor and the amount of my hair that was stuck to his clothes, I lost it.

I felt pretty done with him. On my drive I was thinking about all the nasty things I could do to get back at him. I could make him do his own laundry as punishment. I could pick him up a new lint roller for all my hair. Screw him. I’d like to see him keep up with all the laundry and take care of two kids all day, one of which won’t sleep. Ever. Then after dropping off my son at school my phone rang. “Happy Anniversary”, said my mother. Oh shit. Today my husband and I have been married for 8 years. The last thing I said to him was “I expect all the laundry will be put away by the time I get home”. The last thing he said to me was “Thanks for the new sweater made out of your hair. Love it!” We were being passive aggressive, no doubt. We always wish we could remember the snarky comments we say to each other because after we’re done arguing, we often go back and compliment each other on creativity. We both think we are hysterical. The problem is that in the midst of all the hilarity, most often someone’s feelings get hurt. Someone that you love.

I wished my husband a happy anniversary. He was quick to think the same thing I did. “Damn, we blew it.” But all is not lost; it never is, so we decided to go to our favorite restaurant. I would put some makeup on, nice outfit. I could even dress the boys up. We started to get ready, and then suddenly we decided to step out of the made-for-TV-movie we were apparently in and get real about our situation. I was coming down the stairs and he was coming around the corner to go up the stairs at the very same moment to tell each other that we did not feel like being banned from our favorite restaurant just yet. A screaming baby and antsy toddler would perhaps be a little much. We would like to attempt to make it to our 9-year wedding anniversary.

So we ordered in. We are both stressed. You want to make enough money, spend enough time, keep it all clean, and just generally keep it all together. And then now I find myself reflecting on the day. What did I do? I took my son to school. My son who is now after months and months of trying, going to school in his big boy underwear. A triumphant accomplishment. Then my friend watched him so I could check on my grandmother in the nursing home. I was able to spend spent time with my grandmother, precious time. Then I came home and built a badass train track city complete with ten bridges and a tunnel with my son while the baby napped. The baby who is exhausted from the agony of his teeth coming in. He is growing right on track, completely healthy and even smiles through his pain and all I have to do is cross my eyes and shake my head back and forth. And then I thought of what my son was saying over and over again at midnight last night.

Poor mama. Nahh. Not this mama.

8 years

8 years