You know those days when the kids climb the walls, upend the house and generally wreak havoc and destruction; and that’s only in the few hours between day-care pick up and bedtime? Well, this evening I offloaded all my built up stress on my husband and his reaction?
“Well I’m sorry babe, but the kids are your job and if you can’t cope put them in day-care and get a job”. “I’ve had a hard day too, you know”.
Gah! Firstly, the kids are my life not my “job”. Yes, I stay home and don’t go “out” to work but I am parenting 3 kids aged 3 ½, 2 and 9 months, as well as establishing my own business from home. Yes, I send the older two to day-care a few days a week but that is only part-time. I barely register what day of the week it is let alone get an opportunity to catch-up once I realise it is actually a whole day later in the week than I thought it was. All I am after is the occasional bout of empathy/sympathy.
I can count on one hand the number of times I felt stressed enough to actually need to offload on my husband.
I get that his job is tough. I get that he is pulled in more directions that you could draw arrows on a compass. I get that he is solely responsible financially for our family which makes his job all the more important and stressful.
But dammit, I get stressed too.
What weighs heaviest on my shoulders are the nagging thoughts of self doubt regarding how I interact with my kids when they’re intent on running circles round me.
I began my parenting journey with the ideal never to smack, only to yell if they kids’ lives were in danger and to count to 10 each time I got stressed or felt overly challenged. I can’t say I have managed to adhere to all of that but the counting does help, most of the time. But some days I look around and the house looks like we’ve been robbed! The saying a cluttered house is a cluttered mind rings true. I feel so very frustrated when I just can’t finish anything.
Tonight is one example: 3 yr old in the bath, 2 yr old dressed but still in bathroom, me upstairs trying to finish the baby’s bedtime wind down feed (in the dark and relative quiet).
Next thing I hear is giggling, throwing of bath toys followed by a thud and howling screams. 2 yr old has slipped in the bath water (result of flying bath toys) and fallen over on the tiles. 2 yr old is now wailing “Mummy” all the way up the stairs and is hysterical wanting needing my attention. No blood so I prioritize baby and try to finish her feed but alas 2 yr old has got her volume stuck on loud. So I put baby in cot – 2 secs of settling (normally 3 – 5 mins) and whisk 2 yr old downstairs for proper assessment – all the while baby is wailing upstairs in confusion as to why she has been unceremoniously abandoned.
My anxiety levels had already risen to unusual proportions during the moments between the thud and the arrival of my 2 yr old at the top of the stairs so when presented with a swimming pool for a bathroom and evidence of wanton sticky plaster destruction (Barbie plasters are not cheap!) not to mention the threat of a concussed 2 yr old, I felt well beyond calm. So my coping mechanism was to dress the remaining wet child, brush both kids’ teeth (baby still screaming) and put them straight to bed. All the while voicing my frustration and upset at the ‘naughtiness’.
One final check to make sure 2 yr old does not have concussion, kisses all round, lights out and goodnights said I head for the kitchen as dinner needs cooking.
Hubby comes home and I offload… Well, you know the rest except for the fact that baby has woken twice screaming since being put to bed so it looks like a rough night ahead. Gah!