Wednesday, 13 March 2013

No more "please rescue me"

The reality of life with two kids has well and truly dawned on me. I am back at work two days a week and with a baby still waking and the other normal stuff like laundry, cooking, more laundry, keeping everyone happy and healthy etc. things are feeling pretty overwhelming. Today I remembered the overwhelming sense of responsibility for Ella that I felt when we first brought her home. And I realised that a lot of my depression at that time was due to feeling that I just couldn't do it. I couldn't be everything she needed and do everything that needed doing. And so I thought she would be better off without me.

And so now I find myself feeling the same at times. Not so much that they would be better off without me. but that there is only one Mum and its me and even when I would love someone to come and rescue me from the sense of responsibility and burden I feel at times, it ain't going to happen.

Now don't get me wrong. I love my kids. But being a Mum is tough. And I am not going to lie about that just because you somehow aren't supposed to say that it isn't much fun at times. But if I am honest, what makes it tough, apart from all the usual realities like lack of sleep, loss of time for me and hubby, kids being sick or issues with behaviour. Oh the list could go on and on...
is having unrealistic expectations of myself and my underlying fear that somehow I am going to hurt my kids  in some awful way.

And so I keep thinking I need rescuing because the pressure I put on myself is so huge. And when I am able to step back and get some perspective, I realise I am doing a pretty good job. But it is so easy when I wake up feeling bleary and tired from an interrupted night, to feel incapable of looking after my kids. And not just surviving through the day, but giving them childhoods which build them up and prepare them for life.

I hope that this is just a part of growing up. You know, putting your money where your mouth is, as it were. I chose to have kids, I love them. Now this is the time where the rubber meets the road. I have to get on and do it. Not worry about doing it "wrong" or over analyse it all. Just do it.

I keep repeating to myself "I am the Mummy and I decide how we are doing it" when I have those times of doubt and confusion and just don't know what to do or keep second guessing myself. Often I am having to filter what I have read, or heard, or the way people I know approach a parenting issue. We are all bombarded with so much advice and research and dire warnings about what we should and shouldn't do as parents, and I think especially as mothers.

I have always been so influenced by others and struggle to accept that there is not one right way to live and do things. Blame my perfectionist tendencies and Christian upbringing maybe. Ironically there is actually very little in the Bible about the details of raising kids. That explains why "Christian" parenting reflects exactly the same continuum as we see generally in Western society.

Having two kids to juggle and their needs as well as my hubby's and my own, has really solidified the fact that I need to stop considering anyone else except those who live under our roof, and that compromise is a given. Things can't stay the way they were with once child and I can't do things the same way. I thought I had made all my parenting decisions up to the age of three. Turns out I haven't. George is so different from Ella, our lives are different and we are different. So I have to choose again. And no one is turning up at the door to tell me what to do and give me a gold star for doing it "right". So that is up to me, both the decisions and the gold star.

I know deep down that this is something I have needed to truly learn for years and this may be the way I learn it. But it is hard and painful and quite scary. And at about 3pm when I am hanging on for hubby to walk in the door and rescue me, I am learning that it doesn't actually work that way. I am still Mum and I am still in charge and if I don't cook dinner, or do the dishes or whatever really needs doing, then it probably won't happen. Until tomorrow, when I still have to do it. And if hubby and I don't decide to deal with Ella taking over an hour to get to sleep each night, then no-one else is going to.

So I am hardening up I guess, in a growing up kind of way. Hopefully love and grace can be the path I follow as I build up my Mum muscles.

1 comment:

  1. Jacquie Bates9:52 pm

    "So that is up to me, both the decisions and the gold star."
    Love it, so true. Admittedly Matt and I are champion at awarding ourselves parenting gold stars, claiming 'nurture'; and then finding out it was 'nature' and nature has moved on... Stupid child development stages.