Every night around 9 pm I want to divorce my husband.
I also want to run away from my children and never return.
The trend is as predictable as the setting sun. It happens after the next day’s lunch boxes have been packed, nighttime snacks prepared, and right when we’re about to sit down and read a story together, and maybe if everyone brushes their teeth and stays on task, watch a 30-minute show.
There it is like clockwork- my hatred swells to the surface. I sense the storm clouds rolling in and the imminent downpour about to begin.
Just like the weather, there’s nothing I can do to stop it.
The way my husband walks, chews, and talks feels like some cruel form of torture for me. He’s suddenly become 1000 times more annoying than at any other point in the day.
The same goes for my kiddos. They turn into disgusting, demanding, loud, and obnoxious little gremlins as darkness falls.
I match their monstrous mannerisms and burp out fury like a fire-breathing dragon. My frustration levels are at a boiling point. There’s no telling the damage I could do if I lose the shreds of self-control I have left.
I know my family isn’t excited about the entrance of my inner raging, restless woman. She is void of any sweetness or smiles and sadly, remorse and regret are her only rewards. My words flow dangerous and hot like lava, full of harsh, snappy, and unapologetic rhetoric I can burn a hole through anyone’s heart right now.
I’ve stopped caring.
I’ve slid headlong into fight or flight mode.
I claw my way through these last few moments of the evening.
Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I don’t even mutter a good night. I make a quiet exit. I’m proud of those performances.
Other times, I leave in a cloud of smoke and flames.
Everyone is happy and no doubt relieved to see me head upstairs.
I collapse into my cocoon of bed linens and while I doze off to dreamland a miracle takes shape.
I wake a new person with seemingly no recollection of what the hubbub was all about from the previous night. It’s in those first minutes of the morning, I question my memory and my sanity.
Until I realize it’s merely the power of sleep.
This woman, I’m learning, needs to take herself to bed. After 9 pm, I’m no longer capable of loving others, myself, my cat, or life. I speed down the negativity spiral. None of my creative pursuits or ideas are safe from my critical, over-analytical, late-night brain. Everything I have done or will ever do with my life feels like a waste of time and effort. My marriage and my kids- all doomed, worst decisions I’ve ever made.
I can stand at a distance now from this part of myself and guide her toward what she most needs and wants, even though she rarely vocalizes it. I show her compassion and coax her up the stairs toward her bed, hoping she’ll take the hint.
I refrain from calling myself ugly, bitchy, or beastly and instead I wrap myself up in a blanket and relax into the truth I know in my heart: it’s okay to be tired, to reach the end of your rope.
You are not a basket case, a terrible mother, a fiery dragon, an insane wife, or any other flavor of crazy. You are a tired human who needs to go pee, drink a glass of water, use her nightly nasal spray and eye drops, and lay down…QUICK!
That. Is. It.
Don’t overthink this, try to diagnose the problem, or get a divorce just yet.
Relinquish yourself to the miracle of sleep every damn night at 9 pm and then rub your eyes at dawn amazed at who you’ve become.