Not a book review sadly, I wish it was all cheerful and fluffy!
We have a favourite book in our house. Well, we have a few firm favourites but this is one I never get (that!), tired of. It’s called Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and it involves a poor lost monkey seeking the assistance of a butterfly to help find it’s mum. Like I said, this is one we read a lot but there is one line that has been standing out and has been particularly poignant for me recently; the monkey, after the butterfly takes it to about the fifth wrong animal, turns to the butterfly and says; ‘why do you keep on getting it wrong?’
This line has been striking a long, loud chord with me in recent weeks. It’s exactly how I feel. I am starting to think that everyone was handed out a manual when their child was born that I somehow missed. I often feel that I am just treading water parenting, just keeping all of our heads just above water. Apparently I don’t give that impression so maybe a swan is a better analogy, gliding serenely on the surface but beneath the water, legs are frantically whirring.
I’m trying to see if there is a particular reason. I can’t pin point one so I suppose it’s a culmination of things. I’ve written before about my daughter’s reluctance when it comes to school. Apparently she is very happy once there but getting her there has been hell. It’s even come close to me thinking that I’d have to resort to physically bundling her under one arm and carrying her there. It was all she’d talk about. Weekends were spent telling me she wasn’t going back, evenings how she wasn’t going in the morning and mornings shouting from her bed that she wasn’t going, refusing to wash, dress and don’t get me started on hair brushing!!!
I couldn’t understand it, no-one else seemed to have these problems, I felt like the crazy one, resorting to shouting our way through the gates, stressed, often tearful and most of all, feeling horrendous that I have to do this. I have no option. No matter how upset she is, how angry, how tearful, it is my responsibility to get her there. Luckily her school are great and her teacher is working hard to help us work through it. Using various charts, rewards etc, it seems to gradually be getting better.
Although, this weekend has been a slight nightmare, she earned all her ‘through the school gates’ stars this week and so she could chose a present. We went off into town, just us girls, special treat, and she chose a locking, secret drawer, princess mirror thing, it was in the TK Maxx clearance section and so I got a bargain. Or so I thought. Turns out the all important key was missing. Marvellous!! Cue much trauma and discussion and looking for the right size things to put in the ‘lost the key’ hole. I’ve messaged them on twitter in the hope that they can send us out a new key but explaining to a five year old why it isn’t sorted instantly has been impossible! The idea of returning it was off the chart traumatic so had to be swiftly passed over! It has actually added so much stress to the weekend that it’s a bit laughable!
Small boy has also been going through a ‘phase’ for the last few weeks. Is absolute sod a phase?? He has been a nightmare. Screaming at me when I refuse him (another!) biscuit, full of rage, trashing the house, breaking things, hitting me, angry, rude, very unhelpful and soooo emotional! Any time I say that dirty word, (No in case you were worrying!!), he has a melt down to end all melt downs.
So when I’ve had a very reluctant daughter and toddler in total meltdown because I’ve stopped him jumping in a massive puddle or……evil mum alert, made him get dressed to do the school run, it has felt so hard getting us anywhere, let alone on time!! Especially when everyone around me seems so breezy. I was thinking about the right word and breezy seems to cover it. I feels as though I exude stress, like I have fluorescent purple waves coming off me and alerting the whole world to my ineptitude at this mothering business.
Throughout all this, I try and keep on keeping on, playdates, (usually awful as my children are tired, grumpy, stroppy etc), trips out, helping in school, trying to keep my blog and books going and working. It’s just not happening.
So I’ve decided, I need to take a massive chill pill. I am working hard with big girl and her teacher and fingers crossed that will sort out that stress, if small boy wants to stay in his pjs, I shall just swoosh a wet wipe over him and he can take his clothes to nursery or wherever we are going that day. I’m also going to put him in an extra two hours a week so I can keep on top of work as I’m making silly mistakes and just need a little bit more time.
I feel like the pressure is on big time, so much homework to do, fun weekends to plan, birthday presents to buy, diaries to keep up to date. Last week, I missed my own dentist appointment and then turned up two weeks early for my childrens’. Two weeks. Two weeks!!!! It was so stressful getting them there as they were so reluctant and now I have to do it all over again in two weeks time. What a …….ahem!
So please tell me, did you all get a manual? Is there something I don’t know?
Or, more importantly, does anyone else feel as if they are always a few steps behind themselves? Scrabbling to find something for the themed show and tell a few minutes before you need to leave? Looking round at other people’s children and wondering what their secret is, why are their children playing nicely, how come they get to sit and drink a cup of tea in peace, not needing to intervene, no crying child attached to their leg, or stubbornly refusing to play at all.
This post is written at the end of a slightly grueling day involving a lovely party at a trampoline park, where yet again, I had to spend the whole time in the presence of my children, not stood in the viewing gallery enjoying a peaceful cuppa with everyone else, instead, forced to sort out tears, tantrums and just watching enthusiastically and celebrating every bounce!!
Ironically, I’m fully aware that the point when they don’t need me at all will be a very sad day for me. Sometimes you just can’t win as a parent!!
So I’m allowing myself this one self indulgent moan. It’s Sunday night. Tomorrow is Monday and I am going to launch into it optimistically and hopefully in a different mind set.
That or I shall just make sure we have more wine in for next week!!!!