The Female Crazy …

I was fifteen years old the first time I called my mother a bitch ($0.25).  My own daughter returned the favor when she was just four.

It happened on a hectic morning after I had told Anna to put her gymnastics leotard on as I was getting into the shower.  It was inside-out, so she took it downstairs to my husband, who didn’t understand why she had brought it downstairs and told her to put it away.  Caught between two mis-communicating parents and too young to articulate to either of us that she was at an impasse, she began to melt down.  Eventually my husband put her in Time Out for not listening and that set in motion a series of events that forever changed the way I view my daughters, myself and women in general.

Believing her Time Out to be a grave injustice, Anna flipped-the-fuck-out ($0.25).  First, she dramatically flung herself onto the floor, limp-limbed and sobbing.  We’re Love & Logic devotees and that rule book states that the next step is to calmly and sympathetically remove the offending child from the situation.  My husband playfully threw her over his shoulder, carried her upstairs, unceremoniously deposited her in her room and shut the door.  In response, she completely lost her shit ($0.25).  She screamed.  She kicked the door.  She threw heavy objects.  She shook with rage.

This cacophony was audible even from the shower, to the point that I turned off the water because it sounded for all the world like somebody was castrating a hyena in the hallway.  I wrapped myself in a towel and ran into the hall, dripping wet with shampoo lather running down my face.

No hyena, just my husband standing at the top of the stairs watching the door to her room vibrate as Anna machine-gunned her heels into it.  Then she began to throw things at her door – anything that wasn’t nailed down – and, when her ammunition exhausted, she put her face against the door and began to scream.

“DADDY!  YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!”

When we didn’t respond, she slapped and kicked the door and screamed:

“MOMMY!  YOU STUPID BITCH ($0.25)!  GET BACK HERE!”

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh …

… Ok, yes, she got that from me.  A rude woman cut in front of me while driving and almost caused me to rear-end her, forcing me to articulate my disapproval of her driving strategy through the medium of losing my fucking ($0.25) mind and emitting an eight second string of gorgeous profanity.  What can I say?  I am an imperfect person.

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Fantastic art compliments of Travis at The Simple Man’s Survival Guide. Check him out on Facebook too!

My husband and I were both taken aback and realized that, at this point, Anna was just in a rage and probably didn’t even remember why.  She had been misunderstood and, adding insult to injury, she then suffered an injustice in the form of a punishment because of it.  Ladies, you and I know that being misunderstood and treated unfairly is more than enough to set even the most rational woman on the warpath.

I’m usually level-headed, calm, and reasonable, but I too am subject to flipping out when I am misunderstood or mistreated which, as a mom, is basically a daily occurrence.

For example, my younger daughter Maggie – the one who whines and cries for sport – will burst into tears because I gave her the orange cup instead of the pink cup, and then stare at me with the surliest expression her face can make just to make sure I know that all the wonderful things I’ve ever done for her have been erased by this one act of tyranny.

Then I’ll walk into the mudroom to find my teenage son’s greasy work shoes on my nice rug again when there is a basket DEDICATED TO ORGANIZING HIS SHOES eight inches away.  He’ll respond with feigned surprise and indignation when I bring this to his attention, making me feel like I’m the one who has done something wrong.

Meanwhile, my toddler doesn’t know to hand me his milk when he’s finished with it so he will just launch it at my face and giggle when he beans me in the eyeball.  This is perhaps the gravest insult because toddlers are like inanimate objects: when they tick you off there’s no way to get revenge.

At this point I am starting to come unglued and my disposition towards these people goes from lovingly stressed to whack-a-mole.  The next asshole ($0.25) to do some stupid bullshit ($0.25) around here is going to get hammered.

Then my phone dings and it’s a text from my husband, an hour after he told me he was leaving:

“Sorry, just now leaving.  Got stuck talking to someone.  Be home in 45 minutes.”

I’m trying like hell to maintain my tenuous grasp on sanity but I can feel The Crazy wash over me.  My heart is racing, my hands are shaking, and I can feel the hormones pumping furiously through my veins.  A full-on mommy-rant would be the next act of this play.  I’d stomp around with flailing limbs as my face gradually turned purple, while my family locked themselves in the panic room and stacked furniture against the door.  I’d rage impotently at them from outside, and they’d feel guilty that their compounding antics are slowly driving me bat-shit-fucking-bananas ($0.50).

And this is exactly where poor Anna’s little mind was that morning as she launched large plastic objects and shouted obscenities through the door.  I knew what she needed, and it was not solitary confinement.  I opened her door, crept to where she was sobbing on the floor and gently placed my hand on her shoulder.  She crawled into my lap and wrapped her arms around my waist as I stroked her hair and shushed her until she calmed down. This was what she needed — to be understood, and comforted.

I look back on some of my worst moments and wish I understood then what I needed when I was spiraling out of control.  I have said terrible things to the people I love, and screamed and ranted like a contemptible twat.  Something takes over (I blame my endocrine system) and you say and do things that you would never normally say or do … like throw shit ($0.25) at the door and call your mother a stupid bitch ($0.25).

I need a little bit of comfort, a lot of understanding and, because I’m a mom, a modicum of validation goes a long way when I feel The Crazy sneaking up on me.  Most of the time I can comfort myself, and talk myself past whatever nonsense is about to set me off.  But sometimes we all need somebody else to understand our point of view, legitimize our struggles and give us a hug.

Total owed to the swear jar for this post: $2.25

28 thoughts on “The Female Crazy …

  1. You’re right – comfort and validation go a long way at a “female crazy” time. If only more people KNEW this! It’s like talking a suicidal person off the ledge. You don’t yell at them – you gently tell them whatever it is they effing need to hear: the meatloaf was fantastic, you look beautiful today, no those jeans do not make you look fat, you work so hard, why don’t you go take a nap? Lol. But seriously. Loved this!

  2. OH MY GOODNESS!!! This sounds EXACTLY like me! It’s like you are in my head and speaking from my brain! And yes, a hug is all you need sometimes.

  3. I’ve been there. I have gone from lovey-dovey, farting rainbows mom to psychotic Incredible Hulk mom in seconds. I think we consume ourselves with what everyone else needs we forget about ourselves. I like how you handled your daughter. You’re a good mom.

    • I KNOW! If you lived closer then I could just skip down the street and you could explain, in person, how to do *everything in the world*. I’d be your most annoying friend. Maybe I am anyway? 🙂

  4. I feel like i should have my husband read this so that when *I* flip out he knows what to do. I love how you handled your daughter’s episode, and you were able to keep your cool after she called you a bitch and able to respond in a way that she needed. Great post, I’m definitely going to be bookmarking this for myself for later!

    • Thanks Bev! I’ve actually gone to my husband and told him “Honey, I’m coming unglued. I need to …” leave for a little while, hire a housekeeper to help me this week, take a friggin’ shower, etc. If you feel it coming on, tell someone!

    • You know … I swear around my kids all the time. I am neither proud nor bragging, just being honest. 🙂 None of them cuss. Ok, a couple of weeks ago Anna told me the baby “crapped” and that one kind of hurt. But I told her not to say it anymore and she hasn’t. I don’t know what the takeaway is but what I do know is holding your tongue around your kids won’t make them saints. There are plenty of people out there perfectly willing to educate your children on all the gross ways of the world. And if you’re lacking in people, well there’s the media, prime-time television, books, magazines, the Internet and movies. *steps off soabox*

    • Thanks for your comment! It’s true about not being heard. My biggest trigger is any type of customer service. If I call in and I have a problem and they basically disregard me or tell me there’s nothing they can do … well, I just can’t accept that and things usually escalate pretty quickly. I once told a CSR for Abercrombie to “go fuck his sister”. Not one of my prouder moments but I was pregnant and they were trying to screw me over for a very over-priced shirt (for my son). My husband grabbed the phone from me, quickly hung it up and looked at me as though he was ready to drive me to the crazy hospital. Yeah, customer service phone calls suck a big fat one.

  5. Have we talked about how much I love your swear jar concept yet? I totally hear the clink of change every time you swear. Genius and hilarious concept. The female crazy is a burden weer must all suffer. SIGH!

    • That is terrific! Thank you! I’m surprised by how many people are into the swear jar thing and that is hilarious that you can hear the quarters “clink” in the jar as you’re reading. Thanks for that feedback. The Female Crazy is very real for ALL women. If we’d only acknowledge it we could “cure” it, right?!

  6. I think we can all relate to those losing our shit moments and with an almost 2 year old, I now need to be much more careful too. So far the worst copycat moment was calling our cat an idiot for trying to get out the door (indoor cat). It was kinda cute and thankfully immediately forgotten, for now. Love your swear jar theme 🙂

  7. Have our daughters met?? This is an EXACT play-by-play of my own 4 yr old’s thrice-weekly meltdowns, save for the swearing, but I’m sure that’s coming soon too!

  8. Great post and so true! I’m not a mum myself but when my youngest brother who was 4 at the time first said “fuck” while we were all eating dinner in the kitchen, my parents and all of us older siblings (the other five misfits) all turned and just stared at him in shock while he through his tantrum! After a moment of awkward silence we all couldn’t help but burst into laughter while my mum ran over and comforted him while trying not to laugh herself! Only my mum could calm him down but it definitely made us all think of the times we had sworn without knowing it in front of him!!

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