I may come across as manic. But let me assure you it is just motherhood that is doing this to me. I might have flown off the handle. I might have been crying in the grocery store. I might have run off, leaving my cart full of groceries all alone in the aisle. It can all be explained away by motherhood.
For example, I enter the grocery store with three kids yet I’m in high spirits because I am making contact with grown-ups for the first time in 12 hours. My hair is washed. My clothes are clean. Things are going so well.
I try a sample from the sample corner. I taste a new wine they are offering. And then all of the sudden the kids with walking abilities are out of sight. In a panic I spin around looking for them. I know the longer it takes to locate them the more fatal this trip grows.
Will bottles of wine roll off the display and crash in violet explosions against the floor? Will an unknowing stranger try to abduct them? Will they be reprimanded by other workers (or worse, customers) for running in the store? Is my motherhood being judged and found wanting?
See what just happened there? What started as a joyful reprieve from kid-only confinement quickly transformed into an overwhelming experience that took a huge hit to my identity.
As mothers, so much of our identity is wrapped up in the uncontrollable actions of our kids. We find positive identity in motherhood when the kid spontaneously shares, or helps another kid, or reads quietly alone. We find positive identity when our kid is potty-trained, or dresses nice, or says thank you. Our identity takes a hit when the kid hits another, or forgets homework, or shouts an expletive at a park.
Which is why I can go from fully at peace in motherhood to screaming, running from it, in the matter of seconds. Because that’s all it takes to send countless red wine bottles rolling off the display and crashing onto the floor.