I wasn’t sure whether I should publish this on my blog. I wrote most of it earlier today, just for myself really, because when I’m emotional, I write. I wrote it mostly to get what I was thinking out of my mind, but it struck me that I won’t be the only mum feeling like this right now, so I thought I’d share it here in the hope it might make someone else feel less alone.
I’m having one of those days when I am struggling to keep on top of it all. In fact, it’s not just been one of days or even weeks; it’s been one of those months. Nothing truly awful has happened. Everyone is okay. I’m okay. It’s just all the little things have culminated in me feeling like I’m failing miserably as a mother/wife/professionally.
I hope that doesn’t sound overly dramatic. I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not saying I have it any worse than anyone else. I know those close to me will tell me I’m not failing; that I’m a good mum, a good friend, a good journalist, and yes, for the most part I do my best. I’m just sharing that I’m having a crap week in the hope it will resonate with anyone else having a crap week so that they know they are not alone.
A few people have called me Supermum in the last couple of weeks. It’s a nice compliment – they think I’m successfully juggling all the elements of my life. But the truth is, I’m winging it like everyone else and wondering how on earth I’m supposed to do it all. People don’t really talk about the daily crap. You look at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and it seems like life is dandy for everyone. But everyone has crap days; those times when everything is rubbish and you just feel like screaming out loud.
Yesterday my baby had a sickness bug. It was an inset day from school for my older two and instead of doing all the fun things we had planned, we stayed home, me covered in puke on more than one occasion, trying to keep up with all the washing and disinfecting of surfaces, while cuddling the baby who cried every time I tried to put him down. The other two spent most of the afternoon winding each other up and fighting. I dropped a plate on the kitchen floor. Little Man O wouldn’t eat his tea.
The previous day, we were last through the gates at school drop off as Baby Boy I had an explosive nappy just as we were about to leave the house and needed to be hosed down in the shower. Already running late, the other two refused to put their shoes and coats on or to get into the car. I had kept my cool all morning but it suddenly got too much. I shouted at them. Loudly. I immediately felt like the worst mum ever because they are such amazing little people. Little Man O fell over in the school yard as we waved goodbye to Little Miss E and was inconsolable as his trousers were wet and dirty. We got caught in a rainstorm on the way to toddler group and I wasn’t wearing a coat with a hood and didn’t have an umbrella. We got home and the breakfast stuff was still all out as we’d left in such a rush. I spent ten minutes trying to get Baby Boy I’s porridge off the table (the joys of baby-led weaning). Dried porridge is like superglue. Then after lunch there was the mad dash to take Little Man O to preschool. I had a million urgent things I planned to do while he was there and Baby Boy I had his daily nap. Except Baby only slept for 10 minutes and spent the rest of the time wanting cuddles (in hindsight because he was coming down with something). So I stayed up until midnight trying to get it all done when I’d been hoping for an early night as a teething baby has left me pretty shattered.
Like I said, nothing big, nothing terrible. Just normal, everyday crap. The last few days have also seen me drop my brand new Thermos cup – bought so I can have a drink on the go, as like most mums I never get to have a hot drink when it’s hot – on the pavement, spilling my drink and breaking the cup. We also had 12 days without hot water as something in our boiler broke and it took a while for the new part to come in. That wasn’t how we had planned to spend our Christmas money. Water is leaking into my car. I think it’s going to be expensive to fix. Someone without kids took the last parent and baby parking space, meaning I had to park in a narrow space that meant struggling to get the car seat out. A 15-minute journey took me almost an hour due to the horrendous weather and rush hour traffic. It meant I was late despite giving myself plenty of time to get there. I realised as tea was almost ready that I’d forgotten to put the dishwasher on and there was no clean cutlery. I have bad eczema on my hands and even when I use rubber gloves, washing dishes makes it worse. I got juice from a satsuma in one of the eczema cuts and it was so painful it made me want to cry.
The fact that I can’t keep up with the housework is getting me down. I tried to sweep and mop the kitchen floor while Baby slept. I was interrupted every thirty seconds by my other two kids needing the toilet, telling tales, asking me to get something. When the kitchen was finally clean, every single toy was all over the floor in the other room and someone had drawn on the table. I felt massively guilty for putting the housework ahead of my kids, wishing I’d been playing with them instead. I feel bad for moaning about all this stuff when Cardiff Daddy is at work all day and misses his children as much as they miss him. I feel bad for moaning because he is very supportive and does a lot around the house and with the children, but as the primary carer, most of it falls on me.
I made myself a hot chocolate with a dash of Baileys in it tonight, as I needed something to lift my mood. It was delicious but after I’d finished it, I was immediately annoyed at myself because I’ve been so good this month at eating super-healthy and trying to shift those last few pounds of baby weight. Little Miss E has asked me twice this week when my tummy will be small again. I don’t want her getting any body hang-ups so I tell her with a big smile on my face it took a long time for baby I to grow inside my tummy so it takes a long time for my tummy to go back to normal, especially as my body is still making milk for him. Inwardly I want to cry though.
After dropping my big two to school and playgroup this morning, I sat in the car and burst into tears. Baby I was asleep so he didn’t know. It felt so good.
I could feel the tears brewing again when I took Baby Boy I for a rushed trip into town because I genuinely don’t have any warm clothes. I have one thick jumper and when that’s in the wash I’m constantly cold, especially with all the school and nursery drop offs I need to do every day. It felt like nothing fitted. Shop changing rooms, with those massive all-angle mirrors and bright lights, always make me feel a bit rubbish, as do the glamorous shop assistants who wear more make-up to work than I do on a big night out. As I browsed the gorgeous clothes, I immediately put back a handful of things because they were made from delicate, light material and I know they’re just not practical when you have children. I look so mumsy and I wonder how that happened.
Like I say, nothing terrible has happened this week. Everyone is okay and for that I’m so grateful. Any one of these things on its own wouldn’t be an issue. I know some of them sound laughable. But when you are tired and have had no child-free time for weeks, sometimes everything can seem a bit suffocating.
You may can look like the most in-control, organised, efficient and laid back mum. But we all have rubbish days. It just seems self-indulgent or ungrateful to moan about it because there’s always someone having a much worse time than you. I’m as guilty as anyone for replying ‘fine’ when people ask how I am. I’m as guilty as anyone for not really talking about the crap days. For uploading cute pics of my kids onto Facebook rather than updating my nearest and dearest with updates about them arguing over a toy or shouting and screaming because I won’t let them have any chocolate/watch any more TV/whatever.
I was thinking what I would like someone to say to me right now. And it’s this. “It’s okay. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed. You are allowed to feel pissed off that you can’t keep on top of the housework or your professional work. You are allowed to wish for a moment where no one is demanding anything from you. It doesn’t make you a bad mum. It makes you human. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your children or that you don’t want what’s best for them. It just means that sometimes you have your own needs that are different to those of everyone in your house. It just means that, as the saying goes, everything does come at once. And everything is worse when you are tired. But you are a strong person with a big heart. You can cope with this and you will be absolutely fine.” So, for anyone else feeling bad for having a bad day when nothing truly bad has happened: I get it. I sympathise and I am sending you a great big hug.
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