Sometimes I'm not the best mom.
Sometimes I'm running late for this thing or that, sometimes I have to bring work home night after night, weekend after weekend, and sometimes I have to deal with jerks. All of these things collectively build until the relentless barrage of a five-year-old's questions can irritate me.
In this case I usually close my eyes, take a deep breath, and say:
"Cracky, can you give me a minute? I'm a little stressed out."
Which usually leads to him asking me:
"Mom, why are you stretched out?"
So then I tell him, and then he asks me if it will help if he gives me a hug when we get home.
If only all relationships could be this easy. I know it's an oversimplification to suggest that the relationship skills you use on your child and your child employs on you could be applied to other adults, but damn. If only we could do that.
Instead of snapping at each other, it would probably help if we thought about other adults just as we do five-year-olds. We know we can't snap at a five-year-old because they won't understand why we're yelling at them. They'll think they did something wrong.
That's why I explain to the kid that Mama's stressed out. He asks why, I explain the root cause of my stress, and then he hugs me.
I think this could totally work with other adults. Hell, if I snap at a grown-up, I'm sure they wonder what the hell they did to piss me off. Either that or they think I'm a bitch.
Who would ever think that?
Anyway, if only I could picture adults like over-sized kids. I'm sure I'd communicate much better with them. I certainly don't expect my little boy to be a mind-reader, why should I expect anyone to do so regardless of age?
I also think Cracky's misunderstanding of the word "stressed out" for "stretched out" is pretty apt too. I know when I'm stressed, I do feel as though I were stretched thin, like a bow ready to snap.