It’s Okay to Lose Your Sh#t

(for Donna)

It is well documented that I lose my shi#t on a regular basis. So much so, I now get weekly messages from fellow sh#t-losers. Thank you, by the way, your solidarity is much appreciated, particularly when I find myself once again locked in the bathroom eating chocolate or sitting on the stoep out of pure desperation and tiredness. Talking myself down from collapsing in the living room and banging my head on the floor repeatedly like Zoe when she doesn’t get her way (this often seems tempting).

Oh, how we chuckle about the shit that got real (and then got lost) during the day. The on-the-floor toddler tantrums because the Macbook is not a toy, the fourth pajama change due to the latest night nappy not working, the plate of supper on the floor, the general madness and testing rainy-day dramas. It is all rather amusing.

Except when it’s not.

Sometimes, it’s not funny at all. Some days, I don’t feel the urge to poke my own eyes out, or shout, or drink some gin. I don’t feel the urge to do any of those things because some days I actually feel quite desperate. There are days I truly don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what to do…

I have two children who push me to my absolute limit. And I don’t always cope all that well. I joke all the time that I’m ‘not cut out’ for motherhood but there are days when I seriously worry that this is true.

I have plodded through life being relatively good at stuff. I was good at school (sports excluded). I enjoy studying and will doing my next degree in 2018. I went into a job I loved and did well at it. Then I had kids and MAN ALIVE I’m not sailing through this one. I’m definitely not top of the class. I am THAT mama that forgets things and never send the forms back on time.

Sometimes, when I’m losing my temper in the car because I can in all honesty not listen to the theme song of Moana one more time, or lying to the toddler that it’s going to rain because I can’t face another trip to the sodding park where they took the one swing off, or wishing the hours until bedtime would just DIE, I panic that there’s something wrong with me.

Why don’t I enjoy being at home? Why do I find it so bloody hard?

And then I start wondering … do other mums feel like this? Do other mums struggle? Do other mums find the simultaneous toddler and pre-schooler crying so draining that they get in the shower and join in with the crying. So that everyone is crying in the bathroom at the same time. Fuck knows what my neighbours must think. In those moments of doubt, a dark cloud descends, pushes down on my shoulders and I panic. I’m so crap at being a parent. I can’t do it.

And then, I snap myself out of it. Because that moment in the shower, and the white lies about the weather, and the wanting to kill someone in the car … well, those things are not the measure of a mom. All too often on those dark days I am measuring myself against mums in parenting magazines. Mums on twitter who #lovelife. I will always fail against those mums. And then I think what a bloody stupid measurement.

The only measure I need is my children. How are they doing?

They are doing great. We bake almost every weekend and we play outside. We read stories and we watch Disney movies. We daydream on the carpet and build blanket fords. They fall asleep in my arms most nights and drink tea under the trees. We sit outside every full moon and marvel at the night sky. We play with the dogs together and count the Jakaranda trees on our way to school.

So, if a measure of a mom is how well her kids are doing, how happy they are, how loved they feel; well then I’m doing just fine.

Maybe it’s okay to have days when you’re not fine at all. When you’re not coping. When you want to divorce your children because they have self-activated arsehole mode again. Wobbly days.

Granted some of my wobbles are a darn sight wobblier than I’d like, and if I could eliminate all wobbliness (my thighs included) I would.

But parenting wobbles don’t make you a bad parent. They make you a real person.

And we are real.

And I just want to say that you are great.

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