Today, I failed at being a mum, on epic levels.
No, this isn’t a light post about #parentfails because my kid went to school with toothpaste all over his tshirt, picking at it like it’s a morning snack. Although, that did happen today.
This is about me, feeling like I actually, genuinely, did a shit job as a mum today.
There are days when things go wrong, and you shake them off and get on with your day.
There are days when the kids are little horrors, and you threaten to send them to boarding school, threaten to take away everything they own, threaten to cancel Easter, but then you get on with your day.
Today was not that day.
Last night, BabyGirl did her usual falling-asleep-on-me at about 9pm. Awesome. I carried her bed, but somewhere between the living room and her bedroom, she woke up. And considered that her sleep for the night. All ten minutes of it.
And so, we were up for the night.
By midnight, I was losing my mind. I was claustrophobic from all the touching and contact from her. I needed five minutes of “me time”. I was nearly in tears, and found myself getting dangerously frustrated with her. So, I took myself to bed (BabyGirl in tow), turned off all the lights, and lay in my bed ignoring her as she played with her farm animals beside me. Eventually, at about 12:30pm, she crawled onto my lap and fell asleep. At about 12:31, Princess came into my room. I literally cried.
By 12:45 I had both of the girls into their own beds, but was too wound up to sleep, so watched an hour of trash tv before eventually nodding off myself. Another long night of kids waking me (“I need your toilet” … “I’m cold” … “I’m hot” .. “My bed fell over” … “I like trains” … ) we fell out of bed about 7:30.
Every morning is a challenge in our house. Getting three kids dressed, lunches made, teeth brushed, it’s all go from start to finish. But today, I was extraordinarily Over It. No patience to spare in the T household, at all. Not one iota.
So, when I asked Princess for the umpteenth time, to please get dressed, and she said “NO!”, and when BoyChild whined to me that he couldn’t find a video on the iPad, and when I made the wrong shaped toast, and when BabyGirl didn’t want to get out of bed, I screamed. I swore. I yelled. I did everything I pride myself in never doing as a mum. And then, I sat on the floor and I sobbed.
But, there was no time for that carry on. So I picked myself up, and dragged the kids out the door and into the car. I think, by this time, the kids had picked up that Mum wasn’t to be messed with today, because they were unusually nice in the car. Which I didn’t like, because I don’t want my kids to be scared of me, and that’s how I felt they were this morning.
When we got out of the car, I picked Princess up, kissed her and whispered in her ear that I loved her. She whispered back, “I know you do mum, put me down”. I did the same to BoyChild (“I like trains, Mum. I like kisses too) and BabyGirl (“Don’t kiss me. Yuk”).
Once the older kids were in class, BabyGirl and I headed back to the car. She sat in her seat and chatted about mountains and cats. I sat in the drivers seat with my head in my hands, and took very deep breaths.
It’s now midday and I feel a bit better. Not great, to be honest. I’m exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I need sleep, and I need a break from the kids.
But, I also feel like this morning was the tipping point. The moment when the slate gets overloaded, and flips over. Resulting in a clear slate on the other side. Shortly I will go for a walk – with any luck, BabyGirl will sleep in the pram, I will put in my headphones and ignore the world. And when the kids get home from school, hopefully the slate will be clear and ready to start afresh.
Why did I write this today? I’ve no idea. I guess I wanted to get it out there – there are days when I love parenting, there are days when things go wrong, and then there are the actual, legitimately horrible days when you actually feel like a failure.
It’s all part and parcel of the job, I guess.