I ran away from my son this morning. It’s really quite awful in hindsight, but I just HAD to get away!
The night had gone badly – it was the third night in a row of my son randomly waking, crying, moaning, and generally freaking me out when he turns to some invisible figure asking to be picked up (resulting in us sleeping with the light on for the odd hour or so!)
The morning started badly too. I was cranky from lack of sleep, clammy from the sudden summer that has descended on the UK, and frustrated with the state of the house. I prepared a healthy breakfast for my son (which he normally LOVES), but today his yoghurt got thrown over my yoga mat with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends driven through it. The rest of the breakfast, obviously, did not get eaten either.
Messy house, clammy mother, toddler covered in yoghurt = blood starting to boil.
Our shower was a forced one, and my son seemed to retaliate by throwing his precious Beatrix Potter books all over the bedroom floor, before lobbing the iPad at me when I apparently put on the wrong cartoon.
I know, it maybe doesn’t sound too much to handle – and it’s normally not – but god, my cup was already full and was suddenly and overwhelmingly overflowing. I was going to shout, scream, cry, pull my hair out, any number of things if I didn’t GET. THE. HELL. OUT!
I text my Mum, who was meant to be starting work for the day, but thankfully said she’d pop over for 20 minutes to see him (love her!) And that was it – shorts on, trainers on, “see ya, baby” – and I was off, running down the street away from my son.
I ran and ran and didn’t stop – it felt so good to get air in and frustration out. The sun was shining and I felt…free.
When I arrived home 15 minutes later I just felt so much better. I locked eyes with my beautiful boy through the living room window, and he was so delightedly happy when I walked through the door that the inevitable wave of guilt came over me. But screw you guilt, I know how to handle you now, and I can truly say that that short run did me the world of good.
The frustration and feeling that I needed to scream had gone, and was replaced by a gush of love for my little boy and a positive feeling that I was going to make the day a good one with him.
The alarming thing is that it’s not like me to get so irate – in fact I’m usually pretty chilled. However, I am definitely coming to understand that I am going through a bit of a life shock. I recently left my full-time job to become a freelancer, but decided to spend a few weeks at home in the UK before properly starting up. My husband is still in Dubai, and though I am very much enjoying time with my son, it is truthfully a bit of a shock to the system with my husband (the magic toddler whisperer) over 7,000 miles away, and me suddenly tackling bath times, mealtimes, naptimes and bedtimes all alone (in addition to my general appearance and domestic cleanliness).
My parents have been fab, but the transition has just been intense to say the least. In honesty I’ve felt a bit crap and confused about it since all I wanted when I was working full time was more time with the little guy…but now I have it, all I want to do is run away – literally.
I have no right to moan, I completely understand that, but the main thing I have come to realize through all of this is that it’s incredibly hard to be a parent, FULL STOP. It’s hard to be a fulltime working parent, it’s hard to be a stay-at-home parent, and gosh, it’s definitely hard to be a single parent. Whatever you do, you will always come second and that is a given.
I think finding the balance has become the holy grail of parenting…and life in general. I am skeptical as to whether it actually really exists – but this I do know: it is important to have a break for yourself sometimes. Your sanity and general wellbeing is important too. So be it a 15 minute sprint around the block, a cup of tea in peace, a drive out alone in the car, or even scrolling through Facebook from the safety of a closet…for god’s sake get some space when you’re on the verge of cracking.
I know I have definitely been a better parent today because of it!
P.s. I have recently started vlogging – check out the video version of the blog post!