I’m sat with thick tears streaming down my face as I type this.
Those ugly tears you get when you’re overwhelmed, exhausted and on the verge of screaming at the top of your lungs.
I’m 38 weeks pregnant, and for the 6th day in a row I have been left in sole responsibility of my two year old. My two year old who went to sleep an angel, but has woken a mean, sadistic, tantruming mess of a child. A pretty common affair to be honest…
I’ve just put on the TV for him as, quite frankly, I just can’t cope with any more upsets today! They’ve come one after another over RIDICULOUS things such as which Robot Pants to wear, not wanting to go in the garden, wanting to go in the garden, not wanting to go back into the house after multiple warnings to stop screaming because he’ll wake the neighbours, mauling the cat, the cat viciously mauling him back, emptying my jar of bath salts, emptying the laundry basket all over the floor while I take a minute to apply face-cream (make-up has been abandoned completely).
It’s the weekend, I should have support from my husband. But he’s been so “stressed” recently, that he’s taken the morning off being a father and a husband, and has gone to “scream into his helmet” on a motorbike ride as he so eloquently put it.
I’m alone, once again. I need his support, but quite frankly don’t want him to come home until – as I text to him – “you’ve got whatever it is that’s been upsetting you about our life out of your system so you can come home and be patient with Zachy”.
My patience has GONE too and I need some space. I need to REST. I’m utterly exhausted physically and emotionally.
The frustrations had boiled over finally this morning when, trying to pack a few last little things in my hospital bag for baby’s delivery, Zachy climbed on the bed and started throwing the suitcase’s contents. His unborn sister’s little clothes savagely grabbed and sprawled out everywhere. Something horribly distressing to watch when I’m already so worried about her birth and general wellbeing.
I SCREAMED at him. I mean really really screamed. Scary screaming. Red in the face screaming. Screaming, demanding to know from him “WHY!!?” Screaming to myself, asking “WHY CAN’T I DO ANYTHING” Asking “WHY DOES EVERYTHING I DO HAVE TO BE SO HARD?!?”
I screamed at him more. Picked up some of his Duplo (which he apparently has absolutely no interest in playing with when he can happily destroy all my possessions), and threw them out the room and asked him how it feels when I throw his stuff??! It wasn’t dignified and it wasn’t pretty. He was screaming in upset too because I was so mad.
But this is the ugly rage that parenting can bring. The rage that I frankly didn’t know I had in me until my beloved baby became a challenging toddler. The rage which boils out when I’m just completely at the end of my tether and need some support!
The rage was towards my toddler, and towards my husband too, as I pick up a message replying “Thanks, we’re just at the half way point having tea and chocolate” (aka, “I won’t be home for at least another 3 hours”!!!!!)
I took some deep breaths and we went downstairs. I tried to hang the laundry and tidy the kitchen while Zachy trailed me like a sad puppy. But tidying just made me madder. There were teabags and vegetable peelings in the sink, placed there by my husband seemingly incapable of just PUTTING THEM IN THE BIN. And despite having takeaway last night, the kitchen was an utter state again – HOW?!
Thoughts started whirling around my head. Thoughts like “How and when did my life become reduced to cleaning and re-cleaning the kitchen, being mad at my husband, angry with my toddler, and forever pissed off with the cat?!”
These spiraled into darker thoughts of “Why does it have to be me that sacrifices my body to make children. Children that come out and drive you wild?!” “Me that quits my career to take care of these children?”, “Me that lives on peanuts and pocket-money from my husband because I have no income of my own?” Demeaning.
Yet, “Why is it me, because of all of this, that feels I have no right to complain, because I’m the one at home?!”
Because that is the dream, right? Because it’s “so relaxing”, right?
It’s NOT! It’s bloody stressful and downright horrible sometimes on days like this when my sanity is being chipped away.
But no. It’s my husband who carries all the stress. Because he works. Because he is the breadwinner. Because he has an important job which keeps us living abroad, away from the support of our family in the first place. Because we’re lucky enough that “I don’t have to work” and can stay home and raise the kiddies. Because this is just how it’s meant to be…our family jigsaw.
But here’s the truth. Sometimes, I would 100% rather be sat in an office, drinking a cup of tea and chatting to adults, rather than stumbling through a day of tantrums, power struggles, threats and bribery with my toddler (despite how similar to the corporate world that actually sounds…) Sometimes I am so so resentful of the biological clock and the fact that it’s me putting everything on hold – why did I have to be born female?! That despite the fact that it’s ME who has two University degrees, it’s my husband on the six-figure salary, and it’s something I’ll never be able to match, no matter how many degrees I have under my belt.
That being a mother doesn’t always make me happy, and it makes me feel utterly utterly awful, because all I ever wanted was these children. That my children deserve a better, more patient Mummy that can deal with the meltdowns with calmness. That my husband deserves a better wife who can be more sympathetic to the stresses of his job. Who has the dinner on the table and an already bathed, happy child and clean house when he walks through the door.
That sometimes I just feel like digging a hole and sitting there for a few hours to block it all out. That sometimes I’d just love to pack my suitcase and run! And that I worry that my husband wants to do exactly the same thing. Because sometimes it’s just all too much – marriage, parenthood, work, life, living abroad.
I know deep down I’m just having a bad day. One of “those days”. Those days, which despite how happy and content I usually feel, bring up all the darkest thoughts and the ugliest side of myself. That at 38 weeks pregnant, I’m just really bloody tired and hormonal. That, like my husband, I just need a break and to go and metaphorically “scream into my helmet” for a bit.
That I love my son beyond life itself and despite my fantasies would not really swap my days with him in exchange for anything, let alone the cold corporate world (I mean, they don’t get to paint or play with bubbles in the park do they?) That, yes, I’m right down in the trenches of raw parenthood right now, but the “days are long and the years are short” so I should enjoy them while they last.
But it’s hard to be a Mum, because the sacrifices of parenthood are hard. So so hard! Hardest for women for sure. It’s a physical, emotional, psychological and financial battering we take. It can seem unfair and unjust. Because no matter how much we try and force it, parenthood is not equal. Not at all. And due to certain physical factors such as breasts and a uterus, it never will be…
So, despite it all, I try to remember that these sacrifices are temporary too. And in the grand scheme of things I have absolutely no ground to complain – I really don’t know hardship and I appreciate that.
But the world can feel small when your daily tribe consists of you, your husband and your toddler. So I try to remember that, yes, my husband does deserve a break. He does work really bloody hard. And I pray he comes home in a better mood than he’s been these last few weeks…because we’re about to add another child into the mix any day now!! It’s only going to get more intense…
So I’m just going to let the tears flow for a bit longer to get them all out. I’m going to apologise and cuddle my son (despite the fact he has just smushed a Babybel cheese into the sofa!) and I’m going to go and make us some nice lunch and hope he doesn’t destroy another section of the house while I do so…
And I’m going to hope that tomorrow will be a better day, because it’s not healthy to feel like this…but sometimes it’s necessary.
Mummies can, and should, and do throw tantrums too!
(Cherish the fun times. Let go of the bad…)