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I have just removed myself from parenting duty.  I am too cranky to be a very nice or decent mom.  My patience level has been surpassed.

My ability to be patient is like a barrel.  As long as the barrel does not reach the top, I am fine.  But once that barrel starts to overflow, all of my patience runs out.   Out goes the patience, in comes the crankiness.

Perhaps in defiance of how tired I felt this morning, I decided to be ultra-productive today.  All told, I expect I spent at least four or five hours in the kitchen today, possibly more.  I am happy that we had delicious food – bacon and eggs for breakfast; a pureed cauliflower/vegetable soup for lunch (topped with cheese – yum), and a marinated pork roast with roasted veggies, sauteed red cabbage and green beans for dinner.

It can be one of those funny things after cooking a lot – I simultaneously reap pleasure from watching my family enjoy my food, all the while lamenting the fact that with their voracious appetites, my efforts will have short-lived benefits.  Left-overs seem to be non-existent in my house, no matter how much food I make.

Because of this, I decided that if I was going to spend time in the kitchen, I’d like to make more meals than what we’d be able to eat in one day.  And so, in the midst of preparing our meals for the day, I also made a beef stew, a shepherd’s pie, and gluten-free banana bread. It was a constant stream of chopping, stirring, co-ordinating, and washing  (all made more difficult by having no hot water… despite having a technician at the house the day before…  argh)

The downfall to this is that by the time 7pm rolled around, despite my belly being full, my patience barrel was overflowing.  I snapped at Audra.  I snapped at Ethan.  I was cranky to Dean.  (Dean sometimes laughs at me when I announce when I’m cranky.  He says I don’t act cranky, but then again, he can’t hear the thoughts going through my head. Fortunately, I keep most of those to myself.)

Perhaps it was a poor judgement call to not plan for a little more rest time.  I know that a part of this is being annoyed at myself for trying to do too much.  When I get like this I just need to have a little time when I am not needed by anyone.  PLEASE just let me sit, read a few pages from my book, go on the computer, or do something without someone needing me.  Even a few minutes to pretend that I’ve been leisurely all day can help me re-calibrate.

So now the kids are in bed, and I can let my cranky thoughts peter out.   So many times people (particularly in my practice) say they can’t picture me losing my calm or being cranky.  So here’s my admission: by the end of tonight, I was quite simply a Cranky Mama.

After writing this, I headed in to give Audra another hug. “Why did you come back in, Mommy?”  she asked sleepily. “Because I wanted to give you another kiss” I answered. “Oh, mommy, you’re the best” she said with a smile, cuddling back into her cozy bed.  Saying a second good night to Ethan, I apologized for being cranky “You were cranky??” he asked, sounding astonished.  “You didn’t seem like it to me” he said, giving me a big hug. And by the time I walked back out of their rooms, the cloud of crankiness around me was lifting.  

Despite this, I know my crankiness was not only in my mind tonight.  My behaviour was certainly not exemplary.  But I do realize that when I’m cranky, the person who feels it most is me.  I guess I can live with that.