That’s odd, I don’t remember buying tickets for a guilt trip. Especially one where I’m the pilot.
The husband has returned to working away (bonus: less washing. Non bonus: I’m now the only zoo keeper), the kids have gone back to school and business is booming. Life should be good, right?
Except the kids have 867 extra curricular things to attend per week, youngest daughter hates her new school, and I’m drowning in work. Most nights I’m still working past dinner, then throwing food at the animals until they quieten down.
Mornings are a nightmare in our house, calls of “I’ve got no clean shirts! There’s no bread for lunches! Have you brushed your teeth? (Followed by me checking and being flattened by dog breath)” are rife. Someone’s always shouting, and it’s usually me.
Then I get hit by the guilt. Why weren’t the lunches done last night? Why did I not wash the shirts as soon as they got home? Why am I so fucking useless? Oh god, they’ll end up failing their exams, unable to look after themselves or form healthy relationships, and appear on Big Brother or Geordie bloody Shore. This is all before I’ve even managed to get into the office, then the cycle starts again. There aren’t any balls in the air by 10.30, I’m tripping over them all on my way to the printer.
Can we really have it all? Can I be gainfully employed and a mother of four? Are my children suffering because of me? The anxiety of trying to be a perfect parent is very real, and bloody awful.
Last week something snapped, and I ended up sat on the floor of my office with my head on my knees trying to breathe. I couldn’t go on like this anymore.
I took some time out to make a cup of tea, and read some messages. Amongst one lot, a friend recommended the Headspace app for meditation. I duly downloaded and took ten minutes to follow the first recording, chuckling to myself that this was it, I’d finally had the breakdown I’d been promising myself. Ten minutes later, I was calm. Yes I still had the workload, yes I still had a bunch of kids with their hectic schedules and yes, I was still fatter than I wanted to be. The difference was, that none of these things were in themselves an issue, and certainly not anything to panic about.
I made lists (bloody love lists, me) and prioritised my jobs and appointments. Looking at them in black and white really helped me to see where time could be made, and which things could actually be scrapped.
I also made the time to plan something for the family, a holiday for next year. It’s still over 10 months away but picturing the Tuscan sunshine, ice creams and fun in the pool are also a powerfully calming image for when things get a little tough. (I’d definitely recommend Tots to Travel for all those looking for a holiday with the offspring, the villas are beautiful and the customer service team were so helpful.)
I’ll probably still drop the ball, more than once a day no doubt, but I’m trying not to stress about it too much. Shit happens, and the perfect mum doesn’t exist. It’s time to stop trying to live up to unrealistic self expectations and just be there, trying your best, because most of the time, your best IS good enough
Should probably buy some more shirts though