Sometimes, just coping is all you can manage

Those who know me know that I love my kids. I love being a mum. But it doesn’t matter how much you love something; sometimes you’re going to have crap days. It’s ok to have a crap day. Or even a crap week. Heck, sometimes you even get crap months.

Sometimes the only thing going through your mind is the reminder that this is a phase, a stage, it will pass, they will grow up and be reasonable humans one day… Sometimes you’re not enjoying every moment; you’re tapping your foot, sighing, impatient for each moment to be over, to move on to the next moment, a good one.

One day, Evelyn will finish teething. One day, Elspeth will stop testing boundaries and my patience. The day is not today. But that’s ok. Today will pass.

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A change of attitude

Late last year, I blogged about emotional control. I essentially said that we all have a choice in how we react to things, and it really isn’t too difficult to remain calm.

I forgot all about that yesterday. Yesterday, emotion controlled me.

But today I have made a deliberate decision to be calmer, to react better, to be happy and to keep my kids happy. They react to me too, so while I might think my mood depends on them, theirs depends on me just as much!

Elspeth is still dirtying her underpants. But that’s ok. It’s not the end of the world; it’s just dirty underpants.

I’m allowed to not cope

I am World’s Worst Mum today, and I’m okay with that.

Nobody is perfect, and nobody does everything right all the time.

So I’m comfortable with admitting that today, as well as having some wonderful fun with my children (like our Neil Diamond Dance Party in the living room), I’ve also cried and screamed at them. I’ve been angry and frustrated, I’ve struggled with them and with my temper.

I should be quite accustomed to telling somebody the same thing twenty times a day only to have them forget it just as frequently. I am, after all, married. Oh, and I’ve got kids. But today it is getting to me, largely because the thing I have needed to say over and over is, “Do your poo in the toilet, not in your underpants.” I’ve asked her, I’ve told her, I’ve begged her, I’ve bribed her.

Once I got to reward her. I even made up a song, to the tune of ‘Sex on the Beach’:Ellie did poo in the loo, then she got some chocolate! Poo in the loo, it made her mummy happy!

And of course I’m not just saying it over and over, I’m also cleaning the damn underpants over and over. That is a major contributor to the frustration. I don’t know if you’ve had to clean poopy underpants six times in as many hours, but it gets old fast. Worse, perhaps, is the knowledge that if she’s smearing her undies, she almost certainly does need to go properly, but she just won’t!

So yeah. I’m not really coping very well. I am going batshit crazy. But it’s just one day, and tomorrow cannot possibly be worse. Right?

Emotional control

At the age of 28, I still remember being young. Well, ok, I am still young, but I recall being younger, and even sillier.

What I mean to say is, I can remember a time when certain things I know now seemed ridiculous. Life teaches one many things which really only come with time and experience, and I recall enough to know that telling a youngster those things is a waste of time.

One of the things I’m referring to is the ability to control one’s emotions. This is something that even now I struggle with, but I’m beginning to realise it is possible. It is not necessary to give in to anger or fear; reining it in is easier than you might think.

A few times lately I have felt frustration or impatience rising within me, usually related to the behaviour of one or both children. However all it takes to stem that is a quick, deliberate injection of rational thought to the situation.

So I’m bored sitting by Elspeth’s bed for so long waiting for her to sleep? What the hell else would I be doing with that time, I ask myself – and the answer is nothing very interesting or important. Result: instant acceptance of what I’m doing.

So I just had to stop typing this blog post for twenty minutes to play with blocks? Oh no, what a tragedy. The computer isn’t going anywhere. All that I typed was still here when I came back. No big deal.

I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing or what you want, and you can forget that in the big scheme of things it really isn’t that important. Reminding yourself of how unimportant so many things really are is a big part of staying calm when those things are interrupted, stopped, or prevented.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.