Sometimes, in my daily parenting routines of feeding and wiping and cajoling and tickling, I get this weird feeling of being kind of... Above myself, or outside of myself. I am changing the fifth dirty diaper of the day, trying to hold Eli still with a combination of brute force, distracting singing, and random objects offered as chew toys (his current favorite is a baby hairbrush,) and I can almost feel my will power, hovering above me and coaching me through my desire to shout, "Just hold STILL for the love of God!" "Okay, the more frustrated you get, the more agitated HE will get," my mind offers in a reassuring, back patting kind of tone. "You will get through this moment, you really will, so just calm down and try something else." And so I do.
Or perhaps I am in line at the grocery store, and both kids seem to be singing, feeding off of one another in a strange, screamy sort of round, a little tune called "Icepick To The Eardrums." I can feel my face flushing and my pulse quickening as I try to quiet them, but then I will also hear the Inner Voice: "You're the grown up here, so no need to join in the hysterics. It doesn't matter if these strangers think your kids are annoying, or that they're brats, or that you probably don't DISCIPLINE them. YOU know that they're out past their naps, that their diapers are wet, and that they just need to get home, so try to be patient. Gentle tone of voice, now!"
There are days when it would be SUCH relief to just lose it a little bit, to feel free and justified in snapping and slamming and stomping around. I want to let loose with the list of the tedium/insanity I have already patiently put up with today and how I don't need this crap, I'd get more job satisfaction flipping burgers, and hey, YOU KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY! But I almost never do, thanks to my goody-goody inner coach. I am always relieved, once the moment passes, to have heeded her admonishment. But sometimes I just wish she would shut up and let me have my temper tantrum.