Mummy confession time. Have you ever been tempted to go to the toilet and lock the door just to get just five minutes of peace? Have you ever stuck on the TV for fifteen minutes so you can finish your cup of tea or make a phone call?
|One way of getting some time alone|
I have a terrible confession to make. When I was at my most run-down (not long after I had my fourth baby), I dreamt of getting sick or having an injury and having to go to hospital, so I could sleep, have food brought to my bed and have my friends visit me. I feel sick to my stomach reading that back. What a terribly dark place I must’ve been in to have that as my fantasy. I was in hospital for a few days last week for a nasty eye infection and it was far from pleasant. I must’ve been out of my mind. But sleep deprivation and my child workload, meant that things seemed so much worse than they actually were.
I’m not totally comfortable blogging about my blackness, but as a mother I’ve had my moments and I know every mother has felt that at some point (hopefully not as dark as I’ve described).
I feel ridiculously guilty. There are probably hundreds of thousands of couples out there desperately trying for a child (I know a few). There are plenty of people struggling daily with sick children, desperately praying for them to get better. There are those that are stricken with grief wondering how on earth they will put their lives back together after losing their beloved child. And here I am. I have four perfectly healthy children that I had no trouble conceiving (perhaps a little too easy!) and I’m counting down the minutes to bedtime so I can have some time to myself.
A Harvard study published last year showed that solitude helps us empathise with others. And in turn, having empathy increases our happiness. It makes sense. So in order to nurture our relationships with others (including our children), we need to spend some time alone. It’s not rocket science. Any mother can tell you, a decent break makes her a more patient and loving mother.
This is probably the most difficult thing I’ve written truth be told. I’m coming out. Sometimes I don’t like being a mum and that makes me feel sick with guilt. There, I said it. I’m selfish. I’m ungrateful. I’m an undeserving mother.
Fortunately, those dark thoughts and feelings never last long. All I need is for my daughter to say ‘I love you’ or for my baby boy to nestle his head into my neck and every negative thought or word dissolves into nothing. I love and adore my children more than anything on earth, yet occasionally, I find myself craving silence and complete peace.
|Time to appreciate the details.|
I’ve promised myself I will never, ever let myself get that low again. I will ask friends and relations to take over when I start feeling desperate. And if nobody is available, I will hire somebody. Because I am a much better mother when I have some time to myself. That’s an investment I can justify; a new dress, I cannot. Doesn’t every carer need respite from time to time? It’s just that in the midst of everyday life you forget. They’re my children and it’s my job to look after them, I say in my head. I’ve heard working mothers say that they’re a better mother because they have a purpose outside the home and I completely understand that (I gaze longingly at the computer itching to write daily). They are more tolerant and less fractious because they are also interacting with adults through their work. It makes perfect sense. But its taken rock bottom to make me realize to take a big, deep breath from time to time.
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed when I realize that my youngest child will not be at school for another 4 years. That’s a lot of time at home. A lot. And although those years will go quickly and I should be appreciating this precious time, it is difficult not to panic a little sometimes. Some days I feel like a hamster on a wheel.
It’s school holidays, so the feeling is exacerbated of course. I have four children to amuse all day. By 10am this morning, we had played outside, baked pancakes, played Uno, I’d changed 3 nappies and watched Playschool. By midday, I had put them all in the car after they raided the pantry for the third time and started bickering. We drove to a pet store so my eldest daughter could buy a fish with her pocket money. We bought lunch and came home. We ate and my son then refused to sleep and so I gave him some quiet time in front of ‘Postman Pat’ whilst my other children played and my baby slept. Peace…..
for five minutes. Whilst I ate my lunch and sat at the computer, my son went out to the balcony and peed and smeared poo everywhere. The little blighter had even managed to throw some over the balcony! I then spent 20 minutes cleaning it all up, followed by feeding my children and playing with the baby. I vacuumed; I tidied. It’s now 5pm. I have to get dinner ready and feed and bath them followed by stories and bedtime. Hopefully my husband will get home before that happens. After which, I’ll try and write coherent sentences for my blog and a writing competition I’d love to enter but just haven’t found time to sit and write (unless I stop sleeping).
|No photos please. It's my time.|
I promise I’m not pity-hunting or lamenting my terrible life. I am a very lucky lady. I don’t need to work (but I will); I have a lovely house, a thoughtful, gentle husband and beautiful, healthy kids. I guess some days just tire you out and the thought of doing it all again tomorrow is far from appealing. That’s the downfall of domesticity I guess. Perhaps it’s the downfall of any job. I’m confident there’s a career woman out there dreading dropping her baby off at daycare tomorrow before she hits the grindstone.
Right now, I have a hungry baby on my lap and the microwave is beeping…my signal to move my bottom and get things done and once my cherubs are all tucked up in bed, I can rest for a while. But it’s my date with my husband in two nights that will keep me going.
So my confession: I don’t like being a mum sometimes. But I love my children dearly, so tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all again.