The Day I Lost My Chill

By Kate Kole

36 weeks + 6 days pregnant. That’s when I officially lost my chill.

It wasn’t as if things started off in an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day kind of way. In fact, if you’d seen me just an hour earlier you might have assumed that I had it all together.

My son was extra snuggly at story time, resting his sweet blonde head on my belly as we listened to the librarian read books about the color green. We sang The Wheels on the Bus on the car ride home and happily ate our post outing snacks side by side.

And then, call it the effects of third trimester insomnia, or hormones, or needing the sun to come out, or a personality prone to impatience when it feels like a million things are happening at once, but I had a total ‘let’s shake the Coca Cola bottle and watch it explode!’ moment.

We needed nap time and we needed it now. Myself included. Except, I was the only one who’d seemed to get the memo. My toddler panted as he crazily climbed from the floor, to the couch, to the light switch, rapidly flicking it on and off. It appeared that after opting to skip the song and dance portion of story time, he was now ready to “shake the sillies out” at home. Our dogs followed suit, playing tug-o-war with stuffed animals not belonging to them and whipping throw pillows from side to side.

“Girls,” I said, sternly, as I held onto my son so he wouldn’t fall off the side of the couch. No response.

“Girls,” I said again, this time more loudly. No one else in the room seemed to notice my frustration mounting.

My higher self tried to step in. “You’re not a mom who yells,” she whispered. And, “What if the neighbors hear?” her sweet, socially conscious voice offered.

My only (il)logical response in that moment? “Well then, maybe they’ll offer up a prayer for me.”

“Girls! Out! Now. Now. Now.” I screamed, my arms flailing in the air.

Eventually they exited the room. My son ran a few extra laps and then quickly settled as I lifted him in my arms. His gas tank was also on empty.

Once I’d placed him in his crib, I quietly closed his door and joined my dogs on the carpet. Their tails wagged as I rubbed their bellies and offered my apologies.

I thought back to something I’d seen on Instagram earlier that day, posing the philosophical question of what kind of mom I’d want my kids to remember me as. In that moment, I would have answered: joyful, present, encouraging. I’d still say those things. But this time, I’d add: real, forgiving, and full of grace. The same way I think of my own mom, who loves us more than anything and still mentioned wanting to run away on more than one occasion when we were growing up.

I adore my dogs but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like I might go crazy if they bark one more time at the noise they thought they heard outside. My husband is my favorite person in the world and still there are nights that I feel like we’re disconnected and I’m made invisible by his answering work emails. My kid is the light of my life and yet I have mornings where the noise on the monitor comes earlier than I’d like and I hear a heavy sigh escape me, knowing I won’t have any “me time” to start my day.

I hope my kids always remember this version of me. The one who tried her best and was still imperfect. Because maybe then they’ll know that they have permission to be human, full of favor and flaw, too.