Do you ever, after a hard days parenting, once the kids are all in bed, think about all the things you are going to differently tomorrow?
I do. Every single night once the house is quiet, I sit, I sigh and reflect on my most recent crappy, lazy parenting. I wallow for a bit in my own self-pity, and then I read sad stories that make me realise how important my role is and how lucky I am to have this very important role.
I then get filled with hope of the ‘new parent’ I am going to be in the morning. I write a healthy eating menu, plan activities that I fully intend on doing and write positive affirmations on parenting – you know to chant when my patience is wearing thin…
…And then I stay up till midnight just for that precious me-time.
I stay up late watching unrealistic crime shows that are going to get me all angsty. It also means I will hardly sleep coz every noise will be the faceless serial killer coming to get me.
If it’s not a crime show then its crappy reality shows or Facebook scrolls that don’t just numb any normal brain activity I have but also kills off my remaining few brain cells I think I have. As well as reminding how fat I am, how bad a parent I am, how unsuccessful I am and how shit I am at taking photos.
I do, eventually, take my sorry arse off to bed, hit the pillow only to be on the verge of deep sleep when my three-year-old screams out. I walk to his room, eyes partially closed too scared to open them all the way just in case I let too much light and awareness in.
I stand next to my ‘theenagers’ bed. He is hardly verbally, so he makes a slurping sound… This is his language for a drink. Yes, all that sleeping he’s doing is making him thirsty, and he wants a drink.
I reach to the spot where his night drink sits. The place where it has sat for the last 6 months. A place that he can quite easily reach for himself if he just made the fucking effort.
I pick up the drink and even go to the trouble of popping the top open and gently tipping it at the right angle for him to be able to lay in his bed and drink without choking. He signals he’s had enough, I roll him back onto his side, he cuddles his ruggy, slight smile on his face which says it all really … yep, she’s still my bitch.
I waddled back to bed like a totally owned zombie and throw myself across it. Any position will do – hubbies away working, this king bed is all fucking mine. Sleep take me now before the serial killer from my crime show comes to life!
Sleep resumes briefly until something intuitively fills me with fear. There’s a presence in the room! Fuck the serial killers here!
I open my eyes, alarmed, only to see my six-year-old staring into my face, stale breath roaring up my nose while trying to become conscious enough to understand his rambling about some dream he’s just had where his arm fell off.
After the 300-hour dream story, I pat him on the head and reassure him that both his arms are still fully intact and that they will not fall off during the night even if the unicorn comes back in its Batman cape to take them and use them as crutches.
We traipse the hallway together, I tuck him back in but not before he needs a drink too and then he smiles that knowing smile, yep she’s still my bitch.
I zombify it back to my bed. Eyes close… Briefly… Then the teeny-tiny-sized-pansy-like bladder of mine fills. Toilet break…
You would think lying horizontally would mean my bladder wouldn’t have an opportunity to fill up at any stage of my broken sleep. You would think that not having had anything to drink since 6pm that my bladder couldn’t find the liquid to fill it. But somehow, masterfully, it does.
Thank you, flea-sized bladder. Thank you.
Sleep finally enters my room, and it is actually me that is in it. I usually see another toilet break before the 4am scream, slurping sound, carefully tilted drink and zombie walk back to bed and then I finally get 2.5 hours of guaranteed uninterrupted sleep. This is my favourite part of my nightly sleeping ritual.
This is my deep sleep. This is my sleep, where I feel safe to fully get comatose. Halle-fucking-lejah!
6:30am arrives, and I don’t wake to birds chirping. I don’t even wake by choice. I wake to the threenager standing by my bed repeating the one word he knows how to say, or in this case, yell, clearly… “Mum. Mum. Mum. Mum. Muum. Muuum. Muuuuuuum. MUM. MUUM. MUUUUUMMMMM.”
Peeling my eyelids away from my eyeballs I smile, rub his back and say “Yep. I’m awake. I’m getting up.”
By 7:30am, I’ve already yelled. More than once.
By 8:30am he’s already made friends with the naughty corner, I’ve dealt with two of his morning shits, the other kids have had a fight about cereal quantities or someone’s loud breathing or stinky morning breath.
By 9:30am I am considering calling an ambulance because it sounds like someone is dying, but it’s merely the whinging the older kids are doing because I asked them to do their chores.
By 10am when they’re finally done killing each other, and their chores are completed, half-arsed, they ask what we are doing today. I have a mini you-don’t-deserve-fun-things-to-happen-today tantrum before pulling my shit together and getting out of the house to do something.. anything!
All my plans and activities, my parent of the year medal from the night before, all out the door!
But it doesn’t stop me always going to bed hopeful. I still see how I can be better. How I can change. How I can be calmer. Be a better parent. I always make an effort, and I always try.
But I am still their bitch and they will always be able to rely on me. But the deal is I will be their bitch if they promise to fucken love me for the rest of their lives. Then one day when I hit old, old age they will be my bitches!
Yep, it’s the cycle of life! I’ll be crying out for sips of water in the middle of the night and shitting my pants for breakfast, and yet they will still love me. Fuss over me. Take care of me.
Or put me in a home.
Either way, I still love the little fuckers.
|| Four & a half years later ||
I wrote this four years ago. Wow, things have really changed! I now sleep right through the night apart from my pea-sized bladder that needs constant emptying, although I have mastered the bathroom trip with eyes closed. Winning!
My eldest moved out and has been successfully adulting for the past four years – including solo travelling the world… WTF! I have anxiety-attacks boarding domestic flights on my own!
My two big boys who used to fight ALOT are now good friends who joke with each other rather than trying to kill each other. They also get up and do their chores without fighting or whinging – for the most part.
My second youngest keeps his dream telling til morning but it still takes 300 hours to tell the story… any story.
My youngest, who was non-verbal, cried a lot and would sleep in 45-minute intervals is now a great sleeper, talks non-stop but still loves to milk any situation with a good old cry.
So, I guess my point in this post today, and my survival guide through this period in your life is that you will get through it! Which is so fucking hard to see when you are fully immersed in it!
I’m not here to say how much you should enjoy it while you can and they grow so fast and embrace it all … blah blah fucking blah…
I won’t tell you that because I know if someone said that to me while I was in the thick of it I would have wanted to punch their positive little face while also feeling completely guilty and utterly shit for not embracing parenting more.
I remember I felt like it would never end. I felt like I would never sleep again and that I would always be a struggling, tired, grumpy mum. That I would always be yelling, feeling frustrated and unappreciated. That they would grow up to hate me and hate each other and become mass murderers coz their mum was not like the other mums… she was grumpy.
But it’s not the case. I love my kids more now than ever. I appreciate our time together. I love all their wacky personalities. I’m so proud of the humans they are growing in to, and I am kind of gobsmacked that, what I thought was a shitty parenting job, was actually an ok parenting job which produced some pretty fucking remarkable human beings.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed. Swamped. Dark. Dreary. Tired. If you are worried, you are fucking up these little humans lives because you yelled this morning or the tooth fairy passed out and forgot to deliver the dollars – then know this. It will end. You are doing your best. Hold on. Rest when you can. Give yourself some credit. Don’t worry about the mess. There is no perfect parent out there period! Be kind to yourself. Survive – day-to-day minute-by-minute if you need to. Seek help when it gets too rough.
It’s going to be ok.
You’ve got this xo