domesticity,  Family Matters,  spilling my guts,  Super Dad

In pursuit of passion iced tea.

passion iced tea

Today was a no-nap day. Between the no-napping and the constant chorus of “Why? Why? Why?” and “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” I thought I was losing my mind. I was also trying to get some extra chores done and it seemed like every single member of my household was resistant to me making any progress, even the cats. Sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and leave for a day and see how they fare without me.

So I did. Sort of.

I was arguing with Toby over something or other and he was using his Jedi mind tricks on me where he scrambles my thoughts. No matter how valid my points are (and believe me they are!) I cannot make an argument go further than a sputter with him. I hate it when he does this to me. You don’t even know how many times I’ve wished I had my own personal moderator to plead my case.

I think I’m quite good at debating. I use to argue circles around my ex and I come from a long line of outspoken German-Irish hotheads. I’m not usually one to hold my tongue so this sputtering makes me mighty uncomfortable. I guess I married my match and it is so frustrating.

There I was arguing and losing hopelessly. Bug was interjecting her two cents every other second and the floor was distracting me with the zillion and one threads left on it from my latest fix-the-couch-cushions sewing project. I think the cat even threw in a yowl. I just couldn’t take it anymore so I flipped.

I quietly screamed, “I need a break!” I grabbed my purse and stomped out of the house in a huff.

Now, I don’t usually do this. I used to all the time before Bug was born but now with our new arrangement where I am the primary caregiver for our child, I can’t just up and have a temper tantrum whenever I choose to. I miss those temper tantrums. I miss dropping meaningful expletives and slamming doors. I’m just one pent-up angry misunderstood woman these days and I can’t even blog about my feelings because my whole family reads and I need to keep things upbeat and cheerful or else I get worried phone calls.

So I sat in my car and thought about where I should go. To the movies? To Santa Barbara? Mexico? I didn’t know what to do. I drove around the block and thought in blessed silence. I still didn’t know what to do so I kept on driving. I got as far as the local theatre and checked the movie showing times before the guilt set in.

I could hear Bug’s voice in my head saying, “You don’t need a break from me, do you mommy?” I thought of her crying and missing me. She would be scared and what if Toby didn’t really know how to comfort her? I know he’s a good dad and technically they would be fine for at least a day without me but I just knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a movie while I was worrying about her in the back of my mind.

And what about Toby? What if he had work he was planning on doing? What if my silly outburst put him even more behind schedule than he already is? We’ve been under some financial stress lately (like everyone these days), what if I was compounding our problems?

So I turned around and headed home. Some huff. I didn’t even last fifteen minutes.

When I got home you’ll never guess what I found. The furniture was all rearranged and Toby was on the floor with the vacuum cleaner up-ended. He had replaced the overflowing bag and was extracting five years’ worth of hair from the roller. Not only was he going to vacuum the whole house but he was fixing my poor tired vacuum cleaner too. Bug was nowhere to be found because she was “hiding” from Daddy and the big scary vacuum. Her laughter gave her away though and I found her naked under the covers in her room. Silly kid. She didn’t miss me at all.

I walked back into the living room and sputtered. Tears were leaking out of my eyes. I tried to explain myself to Toby but he cut me short.

“I love you Bren,” he said. “Go get yourself a passion iced tea.”

A passion iced tea? I don’t even like passion iced tea. But I didn’t argue. They only sell passion iced tea at one place that I know of and that place is Starbucks. So I left and went to get myself a passion iced tea. I also got two shots of espresso but Toby doesn’t have to know about that. I figured I was going to need it since today was going to be a very long no-nap day.

I sat in the sun outside Starbucks and drew in my book until my tea was gone. It was nice. I unloaded all my negative thoughts into my book. I drew myself fat. Then I drew myself with really really really long legs as if that would solve all my problems. I drew and drew and drew. And then I missed my family so I went home. Home to a freshly-vacuumed clean house.

If only every no-nap day could end like this.


  • haitian-american family of three

    oh boy, I had that same day last Friday. It so hard to not feel guilty on top of feeling fed up/angry. I went to a coffee shop too and worked online for a hour, it felt like so much longer, and when I got home my girl and her papa were chilling out, totally fine and happy. I guess that mama-instinct is really, really hard to stop, even when we need a break. My kid is a talker too, and sheesh, sometimes I think, wow, will she ever stop talking?!
    Hope your Easter is chill and fun


  • Susie

    Every mother needs a break sometimes. I’m glad Toby rose to the occasion — sometimes all we need is for someone to understand that and give us the opportunity and a little appreciation. I guess Passion Iced tea will forever have a new meaning for you. (And, by the way, where did he pull that one out of? Maybe he just said it because you’re so passionate.)

  • lisa

    i love that you drew your negative thoughts.
    i’ve never heard of anyone doing that before but i bet that’s such a release just to get them out of your brain.


  • BeachMama

    Aww, Toby, you are a good man.

    Brenda, we all have days like that and it is so nice to hear you were faced with love and support on you return. Glad you enjoyed your Passion Iced Tea and drawing, even five minutes like that can be such a release.

  • Stephanie

    “I can’t even blog about my feelings because my whole family reads and I need to keep things upbeat and cheerful or else I get worried phone calls.”
    I can completely relate to that!!! You start blogging as an outlet, and then find yourself often needing to censor yourself! Something’s wrong with that picture.

    Thank you for your honesty.
    And I’d also be interested to know where Toby got the idea that you should have a passion iced tea :)

  • Alex

    I also draw when I am mad. I draw and write. Well if it makes you feel better I have to confess you are my idol. I always look at your blog and it makes me want to be a better mom!

    As for your dilemma…I have two blogs. haha My own uncesored crazy blog and my family blog. I love it! I post the same things only my friends/secret one, has more crazy ;D

  • Kate

    So glad you were able to escape with “permission” and get all your frustration out. And what is it about coming home to a vaccumed home that makes it better? Seriously, I have the same reaction.

  • Manda

    Wow. Toby should teach a CLASS on how to make your frustrated wife feel better. Emptying the vacuum bag? VACUUMING THE WHOLE HOUSE? Without being ASKED? Demanding that you go to Starbucks ALONE while he watches the kid? GIVE THE MAN A MEDAL! THAT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (and just for the record if my husband ever cleans anything without being asked and gets prideful about it I’m all “Why do you think you deserve a medal for that? I do that every day!” Sigh. No wonder he doesn’t help more … DUH)

  • Meg

    That’s a very sweet story. It actually made me tear up. I think I need someone to fix my vacuum and tell me to go get a Passion Iced Tea too.

  • Molly

    I stopped blogging (temporarily) because there was so much I couldn’t talk about, that it seemed pointless. Whenever I wrote about anything negative or even vaguely controversial, I would get all kinds of fallout for it.

  • Amanda

    Last week I twittered that the next time I heard the word “mommy” I was gonna sell my kids up the river (or some such thing) and Dave called me right away and insisted on making me dinner that night.

    It was exactly what I needed. Glad to know they hear us when we need them to.

  • Ninabi

    I think we all need to get away.

    In Feb I pitched a fit over being the maid to screaming parrots and barfing cats and having to repaint the entire interior of the house.

    I really hollered, too. Threatened to leave via air to stay in St. Louis for a good long while. See how you like that, husband ‘o mine.

    He was scared. I calmed down. A day later the phone rang and my sister said my mom was sick in St. Louis.

    Then I felt really weird for saying “I just want to leave and go to St. Louis!!!!” because, well, then I did.

    But it worked out. My mom got better and I was happy to help her. Her cat makes
    colorful barfs and I cleaned up in the midwest, too.

  • Sonja von Franck

    Great honest post. I love the idea that you can censor yourself but still remain true to life. Way to work it out Brenda and Toby!

  • Jessica

    I think (myself included) we tend to forget that besides being a mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter, employee, etc, etc, we are still people with our own needs, wants and feelings. Good for you–everyone can use a little more “me” time on a regular basis and I bet Bug and Toby would do great with a little 1:1 time too…can you at least schedule a Passion Ice Tea hour or 2 once a week or something? That totally made me giggle, I guarantee that my husband has no clue that Passion Ice Tea even exists…

  • Gayle

    When I have times like this I always think of the old “Calgon, take me away!” commercials! (You are probably too young to remember them!) That is so sweet that Toby vacuumed.

  • Uncle George

    Brenda, when life gets to me I take long, long, long walks. Do you know how I met my best buddy Glen? On a long, long, long walk. It drives me nuts that I can’t do it now until I heal from this bugger of a hernia. Toby and BB will give you some time, try it. It really works.

    Yes, readers. My brother is one heckuva guy. He loves his wife and child more than can be expressed in words.

  • mamalang

    I’ve struggled with what to do with my free time and that guilt. It’s hard. But it sounds like you all handled it well in the end.

    And teaching Bug that sometimes you need a break is okay. Of course you don’t want to do it in a hurtful way, but if we don’t teach our children that putting yourself in time out is okay, how do they learn to do it for themselves. A very wise person pointed that out to me, and I’ve been trying to be better about it myself.

  • nik

    While I’m not (exactly) rejoicing in your bad day, I’m relieved to know it’s not just me. I, too, had a melt-down this week, and also a sweet hubby to (shockingly!) fix it with one sweet gesture.

    I’ll cheers your iced tea!