Water and oil plus flame is akin to fatigue and illness plus children.

Today was a new one for me. I had to leave a room because I —momentarily— couldn’t stand my child’s whining voice. It made me feel like an asshole, and typing it for the world to read surely solidifies that assholitude, but wow. I just had a to get away.

Today was, indeed a tough one, and they were both at daycare for most of the morning. So how does that work?

It’s all about the whine. My three year old started whining when I told him we needed to have breakfast. He started yelling, and by yelling I mean a dog-fetal-positioning banshee scream that loosened backsplash tiles. He was yelling because his brother was looking at him. Then because his brother was too close —five feet away, strapped into a high chair. Then because he didn’t want his brother to eat. Then five minutes before we needed to get dressed to leave he decided he wanted pancakes and eggs instead of the peanut butter and bananas sandwich he had asked for thirty minutes earlier. There was no time, and I told him so. Well, that was the end of the universe. Which then made his little brother join…I guess just because, why not. Right?

So this continued in the confines of the car on the way to daycare. Lovely.

He apparently had a great day at daycare. When I’m not actually in the room. His whining began again in the hall on the way to the car, continued inside the car, then finally spilled out into the house while I tried to put our youngest down for a nap.

I am coming off a bout of the stomach flu. I am in the middle of a cold. I am tired. He apparently has a map of each of my buttons with the launch codes and keys.

I was reading the Joel Stein editorial in the September 24th issue of Time. It’s entitle “Mother’s Liquid Helper.” Before becoming a parent, I remember thinking how quaint it was, the stories of nap-time/bed-time cocktail guzzling mothers from the 50s and 60s, the Valium poppers, mother’s little helper. Well, Stein’s article hit me a little hard. I realized that nearly every night of a full day with the kids, once they’re down I’m all about a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. Sometimes a little Maker’s Mark.

I had a friend who once overheard that I have horrible problems getting back to sleep when I get up to comfort one of my kids in the middle of the night. He turned to me and said, “Boxed wine.”

I said, “What?”

He said, “Boxed wine. It kept me sane and kept my marriage together until my kids were at least five. Drink a glass before you go to bed. Trust me.”

Stein’s article mentions two Facebook groups: Moms Who Need Wine, with a following of over 640,000, and the other group —the one I would have joined today— OMG I So Need a Glass of Wine or I’m Going to Sell My Kids, which, oddly, only sports 127,000 members.

Feel free to judge me. I won’t know unless you post a comment. And, although there might have been a time that cared, I don’t any more.

I have come to understand childrearing as a high stress business where the customer always seems to have the upper hand and is always particularly discerning about the product you are providing.

So, if a little snoot at the end of the relaxes the neurons and rejiggles the jelly, I’m all for it.

And, perhaps the reason for today’s hellbath of personal irritability is that, due to the past days of illness, I have not allowed for the soothing snoot. Perhaps the equation should read:

Fatigue × Children ÷ Snoot = AOK