It turns out that I scream at my kids. I didn’t expect to be a growling, screeching banshee. This all comes as a surprise. But not surprisingly, I feel shameful about it. I doubt confessing to you here in the blogosphere is a sound idea and tomorrow I’ll probably wait for your validation or criticisim eagerly in the comments section. Or I’ll just delete the whole post and show a picture of Eli eating a popsicle whilst pimping his cowlick. Heck, I’ll do that anyway.


Show off! With a cowlick like that how is that I am not filled to the brim with rainbows?

Anyway, right. So here we are in my awkward moment because I don’t want to be the only one yelling. And if I am perhaps you’ll just send the folks with pills and restraints to my front door. I live in Mizugama.

Can I get you a glass of flouridated water or whole milk? Wait! No really. I promise to end with a waltz or a leprechaun or something up-tempo. Just hear me out and judge me as you see fit.

I never intend to raise my voice. It’s not on my agenda. It’s a minute by minute affair in this house. I pat myself on the back for the screams that get averted with reason or hugs or luck or shutting myself in the bathroom. But then on the outside of the bathroom door there is just that one more demand for how much I WANT CRACKERS RIGHT NOW and I detonate. I don’t say much in the way of words. It’s a neanderthal-ish event. Occasionally I bring out my stomping feet for extra flare.

Sometimes the boys cry. Sometimes they laugh. Usually I think it’s just confusing because I’m not always like this or not as often and never at such a remarkable, Andre the Giant-sized volume. I blame the DEPLOYMENT & PCS double-threat-arch-position-combo for dredging up the darkest parts of my soul. It is fair to place blame there although the yelling ain’t the right thing to do. It comes on me like a fever and I don’t have the sleep or the proper amount of vegetables in my system or my Joe to keep me afloat.

Today I watched Eli buckle himself into his car seat. He can do this normally. Today he broke a sweat, thrashed his head from side to side and wailed because it didn’t go smoothly. I thought two things. Firstly, I get it. When you are depleted the littlest things can do you in. Secondly, I am teaching him to react this way. I sweat and thrash and wail too. I beg myself to be better and I apologize to them and explain as best I can that I am out of gas. Like when the bathtub drains and there is no water left. Eli asks me if I am thirsty. Yes, thirsty. And sorry.

It is this state of mind that also causes me to retreat from people who care for me and for whom I care but who are not dealing with deployment or PCS’ing. The concerned looks and inquiries into how things are going get tiresome despite the best of intentions. I find it easiest to stay among my own haggard tribe because the lump some of us probably constitute a whole human. The Frankenstein Tribe ambles along with borrowed limbs and brain cells and a paper thin flask of patience. But we get each other. And with all my poor parenting, I need to feel got.

Tell me I’m not alone.

Also, I leave you with THIS because I promised unicorns and lilacs at the end of this dark alley.


All the posts in Meredith’s “Me & My Big PCS” series: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX

For posterity’s sake we have left this universally euphoric, terrified, confused, “what am I doing?!” series on Okinawa Hai.  However, we have closed comments for future readers.  If there is relevant information for all readers to benefit from, we have taken elements from this series and created new posts, which we’ve linked to from the original text. Thank you for joining us on this ride.


  1. I loved reading your post. Great ending, too. I’m also sorry for not being able to help. I appreciate your honesty.

  2. Mere,
    Your honesty and insight always impress me. This is why being a MOM is the hardest job in the world. I agree that children have a boundless ability for love and forgiveness. Just like Moms have an endless capacity for beating ourselves up over and over and over again for all the things we do to our kids.Better to understand and see that we are all human (and only capable of so much) then to live in denial and pretend to be perfect. I’m sure Eli will really cherish this article once he becomes a dad!

  3. You are human, and sometimes humans lose it. Kids will not be tramatized for life from seeing that sometimes Mom and Dad are human. Don’t beat yourself up…you are doing a lot of things that can frazzle even the most level headed of us all…we as military members, deal iwth a lot more than most out there and sometimes it gets the best of us too. Losing it, is sometimes the healthiest thing we can do….keeping it in will harm us more.

    Hang in there…if worse comes to worse, just remember that it will all get packed and moved and as long as you have your passports, tickets, kids and pets, you will get where you are going even if it is not perfect.

    Hope this helps.

  4. OK so can I just say great post as always you have such a great way with words and I love the picture.

  5. My mother expects a copy of all home video we take to arrive in her mailbox shortly afterwards. Holding my breath until I get word that it is safe in her hands, I fear the documentation of me LOSING IT will end up on U-Tube if it gets “lost” in the mail. We all have our breaking points. Your candor reflects
    any mother’s darkest moments. Thank you for being brave for all of us.

  6. YOU ARE NOT ALONE, you are honest and ALIVE!
    PS: I love the photo, frame that one :o)
    esp. good for when he is 16 and bringing friends over :o)

  7. I get you. You are not alone. I’ve lost it with my 15 year old and had to apologize for it and then gotten in bed and rubbed my feet together and agonized about wounding her spirit. It turns out they are quicker to forgive us than we are to forgive ourselves. It turns out those little ones are resilient and forgiving and something that looms so large and horrible to us like losing our temper and not being perfect is not what they take with them when it’s done because we’ve put so much money in the bank, deposits, with all the love and patience and consideration of their comfort and safety and all the times we listen and read and feed and hug and schlep and love some more, that a withdrawal every now and then is not going to break the bank. The “losing it” is not what’s going to define you as a mother. You are a great mother. Don’t you forget it. Love, Robin

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