Wednesday 8 October 2014

Being a stay at home parent is HARD.

I've been a stay at home Mum for over 5 years now and do you know what? It's hard.  Bloody hard.  Being a parent is hard full stop, but there's another element to being a stay at home parent.  Somehow, it's like you loose your identity.  You are Mum (or Dad) and that's about it.  Teachers will refer to you as Mum.  The dentist will refer to you as Mum.  Strangers in the street will refer to you as Mum.  Your own bloody Mum will refer to you as Mum.



Please, don't get me wrong, I love being Mum to my boys (or Mama as they call me).  It truly is the best and most rewarding thing I've ever done.  I don't regret it.  I'm just finding it hard.

I've always found being a Mum hard.  Having PND after having Ethan was the first hurdle.  Beyond that, I've always been an anxious person and so I find the day to day life of looking after first one and now two boys stressful.

Sometimes I think to myself, just what is it exactly that I'm finding stressful?  I don't get paid for what I do, I don't have a boss or have get a report in on time.  But when I evaluate each moment of the day, I find that it is full of stress.  Full of worry.  And I never go home from the job.  I can't even pee in peace.  Weekends, whilst being lovely family time, are no break.  My kids are my colleagues and they are always there.  They even come on bloody holiday with me - the cheek!!

Every day my head is reeling, I'm obsessing over somehow finding the "perfect" way to make my day with the boys somehow run like clockwork.  In my head life is a puzzle and I just need to find the right formula to achieve perfection.  But these are children I'm dealing with, little people.  They aren't going to conform!  It's like every day I get up and set myself up for failure and at the end of the day go to bed with my head held low, shameful after my day of underachievement.

Logically I know that trying to achieve perfection is ridiculous, especially when it comes to looking after children!  My day is boringly predictable yet at the same time impossible to predict.  What time will Felix nap?  Will he eat his food today or chuck it on the floor?  Will Ethan be happy when I pick him up from school?  Will anyone sleep through the night?

It's all so mundane.

That sounds contrite... Again, let me reiterate.  I love my children.  I love being able to bring them up but my God, I truly never realized how hard it was going to be.  I've dedicated my life to them and I still don't feel it's enough.  That I'm enough.

My husband says to me I need to relax more.  Do less.  Even the blog.  I love this blog.  I am amazed that people read and comment.  It's a lifeline for me.. but at times, it's also a bind.  I feel pressure to publish posts, to have something to say.  I know that in order to be able to cope with the days looking after the boys I need to have downtime in the evening where I do nothing much beyond vegging in front of the TV or reading a book.. but the trouble is the voice in my head.

It says:

"If ALL you do is look after kids and watch TV, who are you?  What is your worth?  What defines you?  You really are JUST Mum".

I spend much of my day fantasising about the future.  Or the past.  I sometimes even fantasise about the terrible job I had before I had Ethan.  The mind numbingly boring, tedious and pretty much pointless admin role I held.  God, that job used to drive me to distraction, it was so boring... but oh!  The thought of just being able to complete a task without interruption.  Or complete something full stop.  Or not have to do something at 1am because it was the only quiet time available.

What's the answer?  I don't know.  Maybe I'm not cut out for this stay at home Mum malarky.  But I just don't know what else I'd do!  What job could I get that would fit around school hours and pay enough to cover childcare costs?  Truthfully, I don't so much want to go back to work, I want to enjoy what I'm doing.  I want it to be as fulfilling as we're told it will be.  I'd like to have the time to dedicate to my blog, to see if I could really make it go places.  To make some money out of doing something I love would be amazing!

I know that lack of sleep and anxiety feed off each other and that as my boys aren't the best sleepers, I'm very susceptible to low mood due to sleep deprivation.  I'm going back to the Drs next week.  It might be time to go back on the pills.

That's another thing.  When I admit to myself that I'm not coping, that maybe I need something else to help me through these tough toddler days, my head very helpfully holds a Stones gig in my head, the opening song being Mothers Little Helper:

"Kids are different today", I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day"

Helpful, hey?  Honestly, I'm my own worst enemy.


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