Today I cried.
I cried hard.
I sat at top of the staircase, covered my face, and cried.
When he saw me start to come down the stairs, The Toddler ran behind the recliner to hide.
He knew he wasn’t allowed to have the cereal but there it was spilled all over the kitchen counter I had just finished scrubbing.
He was hiding from me, afraid I would start yelling again.
I wanted to. I would have.
But instead, I cried.
He watched me for a moment, confusion turning into concern.
“Oh Mom,” he said, “please don’t cry.”
But I just sat there. Exhausted, defeated, and broken.
He brought me his ball and his racecar.
He did a silly dance and made a funny face.
He touched my face and put his tiny arms around my shoulders.
“Please, Mom. Don’t cry.”
Today was a bad day.
He wants candy for breakfast.
I want to go back to sleep.
He wants Team Umizoomi NOT Bubble Guppies.
I want to turn the TV off and go back to bed.
He doesn’t want to take a shower.
I want to take a shower by myself.
Instead, I shower with my hands over my ears with The Toddler sitting at my feet. The shower walls amplify his defiant screams and shatter my eardrums.
He wants to get out of the house.
I want to go to bed.
He wants a tennis ball from the grocery store.
I want a bottle of wine.
Wait now he wants the football?? He screams it loud enough for the entire store to hear.
I want to leave him in the parking lot.
The entire day goes on like this. Fight after fight. Argument after argument.
Despite it all, today, I am trying.
I reach out to a friend and tell her how I’m feeling.
I keep my voice level and calm. I talk to The Toddler and listen and try to understand. I give so many hugs and dozens of kisses.
I turn off the screens and turn on music.
I dance around and play on the floor & read books.
But no matter how hard I try and no matter what I do or say or act, it doesn’t stop.
Today, I tried. I really, really tried.
Everything I thought I knew about parenting was exhausted and useless.
Today, I failed.
Today I screamed and cussed and threw things.
Today I popped my kid on the mouth more than once and I put him in timeout.
Today I lashed out at my husband and resented the peaceful relationship he has with our son.
Today, I was mean. I was unkind. I was impatient.
Today, I lost.
I lost the fight with my son. I lost the fight with my husband.
I lost the fight with myself.
Today, I don’t think I can do this anymore.
Today, I don’t want this life.
So yeah, today I cried.
No one tells you about this part.
No one tells you about the anger and the sadness and the isolation and the disdain.
No one tells you that motherhood brings out an unrecognizable version of yourself who you hate and resent.
No one tells you about days like today.
But as I sat on the staircase weeping at the terrible thoughts rattling through my head, that little boy didn’t leave my side.
He had spent the entire day watching me morph into a terrible, ugly monster, just as I’d watched him become one as well.
But at the end of the day, when our scary monster masks melt away, I am still his mama and he is still my child.
Today, I am his mother and tomorrow will be the same.
So tomorrow, I will keep trying.
And you should too.
Keep trying, mama. Keep going.
Today was hard. Tomorrow might be, too. That’s OK.
Some days won’t have a happy ending. Some days there are no resolutions.
You just have to go to bed and wake up ready to try again.
We can do this, mamas. We can do this.
This post originally appeared on Ticking Time Momb