I need a f***ing break.
I am writing this knowing that Mr C is taking both kids to GG’s (Great Grandma in case you were wondering!) tomorrow for the day. I love going there, GG and Auntie Claire are fantastic and I always really enjoy our visits (especially dinner!) but when I was unwell during the week Mr C suggested that I might want to stay home. As much as I am gutted to be missing a visit and I am actually feeling tons better, I just know that I need the day to myself.
When I was in my teens and very early twenties, although I wanted children I didn’t really think I was cut out for parenthood. Not that I thought I wouldn’t cope, just I didn’t think I had the temperament for it. Of course, most of us are more hot-headed and rash in our youths, something which seems to mellow with age, but I have just never really been great with empathy or patience, and have always found clingy, needy people disgustingly annoying. I sound like an awful person!! And I suppose there are parts of me that really are awful, but I have also learned from being a parent that for every part of me that is awful, there is greatness to balance it out. I am driven and determined, I am selfless beyond measure when it comes to the people I love (sometimes to my own detriment), and I make a mean cup of microwaved coffee!
Before Mr C and the kids, I had lived on my own completely for 8 years. As someone who has always loved their own company, I sometimes find it difficult these days not to miss the solitude of that. There are evenings that just the thought of having a conversation with anyone feels so mentally draining and I kind of dread it. I feel like it takes a lot out of me mentally sometimes to simply engage in basic human interaction, and silence and my own thoughts are a far preferable option.
I am lucky enough to know that Mr C knows me exceptionally well and won’t take any offence (I hope!) from this. It’s not the thought of interacting with anyone in particular which is the problem, it’s human interaction in general.
I know that I need a break when these feelings start creeping into the daytimes too. Somehow interaction with children comes so much easier to me (maybe I’m just really simple!), so when I start to feel even that becoming difficult I know, for the sake of my children and parenting I need to give myself a break.
As Amelia hands me the fourth apple pip she has deliberately fished out of her apple declaring “I don’t want this one either” my brain begins to feel that familiar itchy feeling and I hear the words “Just put it in the bin, I’m not your slave” spew from my mouth. Not ok. I call her name and she shouts “What?” from the other room for the fiftieth time of the time despite me reminding her every time to say pardon, I hear myself
“What is wrong with you that this is not sinking in?”
Not ok. She’s not even three yet (end of March), and I know from experience that she will get it eventually; one day something will just click and we will never look back.
As I hand Amelia the Kindle and tell her sweetly that she can sit beside me in the bed and watch her programme (while Wills is napping) and I feel myself drifting off, snapped awake by the sound of my son laughing as he wakes up. What is wrong with me? It’s 4pm, I’ve slept in the middle of the day while my kid watches crap TV, and I’m not even sick. This shit is only acceptable when there’s a valid reason; child-induced sleep deprivation, being ill, etc.
I know that I need a break when I feel myself just going through the motions of every day, not even really registering what is going on around me. I feel my routines slip, I stumble through the days blindly finding no motivation or pleasure, and completing at best only the very basic of parenting tasks. I know that I need a break when I am displaying none of the qualities desirable in a half-decent parent.
In short, I become that shit 20-year-old who cannot register even the slightest feeling of empathy for others, finds malaise at every turn, is impeccably in tune with her personal angst, and spends most of her life hiding behind a book (phone these days because, back then they were nowhere near as entertaining), rolling her eyes and mumbling “whatever”.
Tomorrow I will have my day (still totally gutted to be missing dinner) and I know that a day alone, no TV, no kids, no-one will allow me to recharge the brain cells, reflect a little,sort out the itchy feeling going on up there, tidy up my thoughts, and hell maybe I’ll even get some sleep! The day will do its thing and return me to the nearly-thirty-mum-of-two that I know I am, can, and should be. And in fact, just writing this down has already proven more than mildly cathartic.