It’s actually kind of remarkable how one weekend can go so spectacularly wrong that by Sunday night you honestly believe you’ve bottomed out.

(But you know what?  You’d be wrong.  Because you throw on slippers Monday morning only to find Bear sobbing on the bed because of something T-man said to her.  But I guess that’s a different post…)

Friday brought bottomless drama from my own life, drama that makes my bones weary, a weariness that makes me want to crawl under a blanket and hibernate, leaving the kids to forage for frozen pizza and pop tarts.  (Just kidding.  We don’t keep pop tarts in the house.)  But instead I put on my big girl pants, sucked it up, and plowed through.

I tried approaching Saturday with a brand new attitude.  Bear was at a sleepover and BrightSide was out of town, so T-man and I had a fun breakfast at the local doughnut shop (mmmmm….doughnuts) and then came home, planning to head back out for frozen yogurt later on.  He ended up opting out of that for more play time with his friends.  That should be a good thing, right?  Sunshine.  Fresh air.  Exercise as they ran around playing Nerf wars.

Only not so much.  Because just as they were supposed to wrap things up everything went to hell in a hand basket.

Nerf wars.  The bane of my existence.

It looks like it's all fun and games...and then you throw three competitive boys into the mix and KABOOM.
It looks like it’s all fun and games…and then you throw three competitive boys into the mix and KABOOM.

So even though I’m supposed to be across the neighborhood picking up Bear, instead I found myself texting “crisis here, will be there asap” and dealing with the boys.  Except the boys in question had taken off.  Not to be deterred, I popped T-man in the car and went to search them out.  Because I’m starting to tire a bit of kids thinking they can avoid consequences by simply running away.

I ended up mediating this problem with the dad of one of the boys and let me tell you, that guy is awesome at talking through a problem.  He and BrightSide take a very similar approach, actually, but even so…mediating with boys feels a lot like running in quicksand.  You exert all this time and energy only to find you’ve barely moved an inch.

Their stories directly conflicted with one another, with each kid digging in and refusing to budge on their version.  Then the staring contest began — each boy eyeballing the other, chins jutted out, determined to prove their truthfulness by sheer force of will.  Exhausting.

We somehow staggered through the remainder of the day, but Sunday morning brought another hiccup and apparently that was my breaking point.

I’ve found that one of the extreme challenges to having kids is that I can’t have an actual meltdown in front of them.  Stubbed my toe or got mauled by the dog’s nails?  That crying they understand.  But simply bursting into tears for no reason they can see tends to freak them out.  I was already struggling to hold it together and felt my composure slipping, so when I saw the panic in my kids’ eyes and heard their frantic, “What’s wrong, mom?!” I felt even worse.  You see the cycle starting, right?

Sobbing in the ladies’ room is highly underrated.  It may puff your eyes, ruin your makeup, and make your nose run, but at least when you emerge you’ve usually subdued the waterworks.  And that alone makes the kids feel a whole lot better.