The other day I hit the emotional wall.
And it was mainly to do with my kids. Being school holidays, I hadn’t had a break from them at all, and I was pretty much over it. They were at the stage where they were just picking and picking and picking at each other. Constantly fighting or teasing each other and being deliberately mean for no reason at all.
And it was driving me crazy.
Not to mention one of our kids is extremely challenging and difficult and one of their favourite past times is to torment their siblings or be rude and obnoxious to their mum and dad. 90% of the time ‘everything’ is a problem. It can be hard work as a parent.
I’d been doing pretty well managing them all, and yes, we’d had plenty of fun times over the past couple of weeks, but the last couple of days things had gone down-hill, and I was feeling it.
At lunch time hubby and I were getting some food ready, whilst trying to block out the kids, who were now in the process of drawing ugly pictures of each other on blown up balloons. I just looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and said “I feel emotionally exhausted”. He could see I was starting to struggle. “Go to the room and have a lie down” he said. So, I obeyed orders and off I went. But even though I was lying on my bed reading, I could still hear them arguing.
I knew I was on the brink of exploding. I’d felt that for the last couple of days I was doing a pretty shit job at parenting, was feeling snappy, had low patience and just couldn’t be arsed putting in much effort at all. I was wearing thin. They were wearing me thin. But now I could feel the rage building and I knew that in a minute I was going to march into the lounge, lose my shit at them all and scream something along the lines of “you all suck!!! I can’t stand the lot of you and I’m selling you all, you little shites!!!!”, whilst frothing at the mouth and maybe a bit of uncontrollable shaking too.
Even though it would actually feel quite good to go mental at them and maybe shock them into better behaviour, I knew it wasn’t the best choice. I knew that I just had to get the hell out.
I stomped into the lounge and muttered to hubby “I’m going out for a walk”, put on my shoes and ran out the door.
And I walked and walked and walked. And do you know what I thought when I was walking? I thought “I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK. EVER”. I just wanted to keep on bloody walking. Do a Forrest Gump and walk the whole country for a year, have a group of die hard fans and media that follow me, make me famous and also come up with some really witty logo’s that would make me very rich. I may even grow a beard.
However, when I was walking along the lonely gravel road and the only traffic was one car and a man on a bicycle, I knew that due to the lack of people about, the chances of Forrest Gump fame were very, very limited.
So, I kept on walking. For almost an hour. And when I started marching up a steep hill, grunting and panting in the unrelenting sun, I noticed that my thoughts had changed from “how can I legally sell my children on Trade Me?” to more important things like “I wonder if puff ball skirts will ever come back in and can I still rock one like when I was 15?”. I realised that my anger had dissipated and I had calmed down. And that I had to turn around to go home.
Because that’s what parenting is about isn’t it? Sticking with it. Being there. Getting up each day and facing whatever comes along. Dealing with it. And keeping on going. And going. No matter how hard or hideous it may be. No matter what. And loving them through it all.
So, I walked home, feeling calmer. And a little bit puffed.
Were things better when I got home? Not really. Challenging child started raving on at me about getting to their friends on time. Another child was annoyed because their sibling was hogging Dad’s attention. The chaos was still there.
But I knew I just had to deal with it and get through it. Lovely hubby could see I was still a bit wobbly, so packed them all in the car and took them off for a swim at the school pool, so that I got a bit more time to just chill some more. When they got home we were all a bit happier and calmer, and normal programming resumed.
So, I’m sharing this with you not for sympathy or for help. But to just say that parenting is amazing, but also hard. Really fucken hard. And that’s even without a challenging child.
If you can relate, if you feel like you’re starting to build to the point of losing it – just try to make sure that you can escape for a while. Even if it’s sitting the kids all in front of a screen whilst you scream into your pillow or dance wildly about in your bedroom to hard core cheesy 80’s music – just do it. Find some space, find a way to release it, get all that shit out, then dust yourself off and carry on.
Because at the end of the day - that’s parenting.