I Love My Kids & They Drive Me Crazy
I grew up with a stay-at-home Mum. My husband grew up with a stay-at-home Mum. Bless them. Thus, I just imagined that I would, or rather I should also be a stay-at-home Mum. I did this for a little while, kind of. I sort of was at home and was sort of coaching on the side, from home. I was sort of present and I was sort of distant. I basically had one foot in and one foot out with everything I was doing (including my marriage and that’s a separate blog post). This was because I wasn’t honouring what was real for me inside. I am not fulfilled being a stay-at-home Mum – I’m just not and that’s okay. I have two children just 18 months apart. That means I learned I was pregnant with my second when my son was just 9 months old. I hadn’t even adjusted to becoming a Mum before another one was on the way. Please don’t misunderstand my struggle as a lack of love and gratitude for my children. As cliché as it is, I wouldn’t change anything about my life with them or the journey I’ve taken to get to where I am with them. It’s all been here for my growth and for that, I am truly grateful. I have a way of always seeing the silver lining, I’m grateful for that too. I’ve always been very independent. Since I was 14 I’ve had a job. Since very young, I’ve always been on a mission to live life to the fullest (sometimes to my detriment). Staying at home with young children (still) feels a little like a trap, like some esoteric ideal to keep me small. Trust me I’ve been round and round on the emotional roller coaster to figure this out: guilt, shame, frustration, anger, confusion, lying to myself – you name it, I likely experienced it. And I know I’m not alone.
So last month my daughter turned 3 and mustered up the courage, put the guilt aside and enrolled the kids in care 4 days/week. Things aren't perfect, I still loose my shit every so often, especially on Wednesday’s when I am home with them all day. Amongst the joy and wonder I experience through them I also experience extreme frustration and exhaustion with all of their needs. Laundry, ‘can I have a juice please’, ‘I want some more cereal’, ‘can I have some apple, no skin please’ (yes, my son is usually this polite, my daughter is still learning this valuable skill…sigh), ‘can I watch a cartoon?’, ‘BUT MUM-MUM’ and on and on. My Father often tells me, ‘you only get frustrated when they aren’t doing what YOU want them to.’ He’s right, 100%. I get frustrated when my daughter is screaming and I don’t want her too. I get frustrated when I am asked for a juice or water for the 30th time that day. I get frustrated when I want to sit down and enjoy a cuppa and a fight breaks out or someone throws their toy across the room. You know what else is frustrating? When people ask me ‘how old are your kids? and you say ‘3 & 4’ and their response is ‘oh that’s such a cute age.’ Really????? Do you remember, do you even know how much work it is? Yes, there’s a reason they are that cute at this age and like the pain of childbirth, I think people must forget how utterly draining it is when you have to do practically everything for them.
So what’s the point of this post (I’m actually asking myself)? Am I venting (well, clearly that’s part of it)? Will this actually help someone else reading this? My goal in writing this is to speak to other Mum’s and Dad’s that feel they aren’t living up to their full potential because honestly, right now someone else’s needs are greater than theirs and that’s okay. I want to encourage all of us to be aware of the choice we’re making. Keep taking a stand with power inside you that has access to having it all. We can. We can have it all. It starts first with believing we can. I know I’m on the right path. I know in the 4 days I get to work I am contributing deeply to humanity. I get to help people and thus I help myself. I know on the weekends and the Wednesday’s I’m home with the kids I am contributing to our bond and their lives long term. I know later in life I will not regret having stayed home on Wednesday’s. Next year my son will start kindergarten and that feels crazy! ‘The days are long yet the years go so fast’. So in the mean time, I grow in finding the resonant integration of building my career and being the best Mum I can be to two toddlers. This no small feat and thus the journey will continue.