Do you ever feel like you are stuck in some crazy loop, repeating the same day over and over and over. Like no matter how many times you do the washing the laundry baskets will always be full? That no matter how often you clear the table/bench/vanity they will always be covered in food/dishes/toiletries?
And that’s just the house. What about kids? The constant snacks, the same 100 inane questions over and over? The same tantrum over sandwiches that need to be cut into
squares… triangles… squares? The “I lost my shoes”, “my sister is being bossy”, “my brother looked at me”, and “Why do we have to get dressed every day?”.
As Mum to 3 young children I felt stuck in that loop. It felt like it would never end and it feels like its been this way forever. When people would say “Cherish these years they don’t last” I wanted to scream. When they said “oh you think this is hard wait until they are teenagers” I wanted to cry. When they said “You are doing a great job” I refused to believe them, how could I? I felt I was a failure, a fraud, putting on a brave face in public while in private I broke down in tears, shouted at my kids and hid from my friends.
Over the years it did get easier, and then harder and then easier again! My ability to adapt and cope did grow and my love and compassion grew too, not just for the kids but for myself. By having 3 babies in 4 years I never allowed myself to get out of the baby/toddler stage and those years are a challenge to the majority of parents. I pushed myself every day to be ‘perfect’ in those early years. Perfection is exhausting! It is not asking for help, or accepting help that is offered. It is pretending to have it all together when you feel like it is all falling apart. It is putting the kids wants ahead of your needs because that’s what a “Good Mum” does. It is trying to be Super mum and wife and friend and never really connecting with what you need anymore. It is no wonder I crashed only a 20 months into my parenting journey and onto my 3rd pregnancy already! It has been a steep climb up from that crash!
I look back on all I have learnt, in the past 4 years and how far I have come from that Mama striving for perfection and burning out more each day. I can see the path I took into anxiety and depression and how that manifested as anger and resentment feeling unappreciated and like a failure, and how that cycle continued until I hit the point of change being more than a want, but a necessity. I am glad I found the help I needed at that time and have worked myself into a much better place now, but I still have good days and bad days and I still feel stuck on repeat, in a loop that never ends my own little groundhog day!
I am not going to tell you to cherish these moments, or that it will be gone in the blink of an eye, I am going to tell you he most important lesson I have learnt. You have to put on your own oxygen mask first! When we love ourselves we make time for ourselves and these small pockets of time help get us through those tough days. We allow our own needs to be a priority and that is okay. I refuse to feel guilty for wanting (and enjoying) the quiet hour after they are all asleep. It is okay for me to want adult time with other adults and not love every second with the kids, sometimes they
suck want to do thinks I do not enjoy. When we do this we find small ways to brighten each day, to appreciate the peace and to manage the constant repetition of life with kids.
My Little Hulk has just turned 4, and while he still has a lot of growing and learning to do it is the first time I won’t have a toddler in the house in 6 years. Baloo and Princess Pea are now both at school and I can see how much they are growing up. Baloo gets more in control of his reactions and has less meltdown moments and Princess Pea develops more independence. Until then I need to remain myself how fast they grow, that it won’t last forever, and that I am lucky enough to spend my days with them, even if
everyday some days I count the minutes until bedtime.
Make time for you today Mama (or Daddy) and allow yourself to enjoy it, guilt free! What is something you love to do for you?