This is my post to submit to The Mother Experiment: Me and YOU Monday: Dec 19-25
Last week I set myself a goal of not stressing. I knew that not stressing entirely was too hard so I specified not stressing when things don’t go as I planned. I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I would have plenty of opportunity to practice because as a mum things very rarely turn out as I had planned.
I often wonder why I even bother planning anything at all. There are days when I can’t even go to the toilet without being interupted. If I want to do something after the kids are asleep they will stay up late. If I want to make myself a sandwich and eat it too, forget it. If I want to feed William before we leave he won’t be interested but if I plan to get somewhere early he will need a feed. If I time a car trip just right there’ll be traffic, roadworks, and slow cars in my way. Yet if I want a slow leisurely drive to let the kids sleep on the way there’ll be smooth sailing except for the noisy idiot up tailgating. Sometimes I cannot win.
I still plan because I have to. When I don’t plan chaos reigns, things are forgotten and I try to rush out the door realising there’s no clean socks or bottles or dummies and failing to realise that the nappy bag is out of wipes.
Plans change beyond my control all the time. Rain happens. Accidents happen. Sickness happens. People decide they don’t feel like doing what we had organised. People invite extra people. People don’t turn up. Alexis changes her sleep requirements. Nappies need changing.
I need to be organised and have goals for what I want done but I need to be ok to let go when plans change. I cannot justify throwing my hands in the air and dropping the bundle when something doesn’t go the way I wanted it to. Yet sometimes I do. It’s juvenile and stupid and irritating but sometimes I can not help it.
This week I wanted to not spaz out when my plans changed. I tried hard not to. I was aware of it. Sometimes I did ok. We were at the beach last weekend and we planned not to leave til Tuesday night but as Alexis was sunburned and Corey was feeling sick and I was tired and William’s skin was drying out we decided to drive home during the heat of the day instead of trying to contain the kids in the unit. I was ok with the change and the kids slept the whole trip home. Of course when we got home the kids were wide awake and we were wiped out. Corey took Alexis to buy some supplies and fetch dinner while I napped, it was great.
Some plans I wasn’t so keen to let go. I had planned to be fully unpacked by Friday so we could relax this weekend. The kids haven’t adjusted very well after our mini holiday, so I’ve had my hands full with them so I’m still not fully unpacked and actually the house is trashed more than ever before. It hurts me and I feel like I failed but it isn’t the end of the world. I can cut myself a bit of slack because things have been so full on.
We had a Christmas party Wednesday morning and two Christmas parties on Saturday. Yes, two! I was freaking out about juggling them both on Saturday but doing ok until I realised at one party there would be more people than I had thought, including someone who bullied me in highschool. It threw me.
Highschool was a long time ago and I forgave this person years ago so I’m not sure why it bothered me at all, I figured it was probably because I was looking forward to a quiet, relaxed, small gathering but instead then anticipated total awkwardness. For small groups I will feed bub then and there but with bigger groups I’m worried about making people uncomfortable. Plus I’ve just realised I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of ‘exposing myself’ (flabby tummy and saggy boobs) to the one who’d helped destroy my confidence as a teenager. Even though this person and I are fine now I guess some wounds go deeper than I realised. Anyway, I didn’t want to be left out because I had to go away to feed, so I was upset. We went, it turned out ok, in fact we even had a lot of fun at times. Although I hated sitting inside feeding the baby while hearing everyone else outside laughing and having dessert, at least I was able to watch Alexis open her presents and eat the meal with everyone first.
The kids did really well at both parties even though we were out til way past their bedtime but Sunday morning they both woke up early (and throughout the night as well) even though they had been up very late so they were grizzly clingy little bubs. I myself had a killer headache. So our plans for Sunday kinda flew out the window.
Initially I had hoped to either go to church or clean the house. I really wanted to do both but thought I was being flexible when I thought I’d skip church to fix the house up a bit while Corey got some play time with the kids. But I needed a sleep. Corey took Alexis shopping. I thought he was going to the servo to buy milk, he was going to the shopping center to try to find a Christmas present for me (great communication there hey). The plan was to feed William, pop him down for a nap and have a nap myself. But William had a tummy ache and needed to be held. The whole entire time until church usually finishes. If we had been there I would have enjoyed nice long William cuddles while listening to the sermon instead of sitting at home with my phone flat and nextdoor bashing some metal together. I was desperately waiting for Corey to come home and he was deliberately keeping Alexis away so I could sleep.
So I got disappointed that I had missed church for nothing. My little world caved in. By the time they got home I was in a bit of a state. Apart from feeling like I “should” go to church and feeling guilty for saying it was all too hard to go, I actually do *shock* enjoy going to our church. I hate missing out on things and I hate being left behind. I hate having to choose which things to miss out on. It is part of being a parent, learning to put your kids needs ahead of your own, but it does not come easily. I think this is my main issue.
So I’ve discovered I desperately cling to plans because I try to maintain some level of control over my own life. I try to plan everything out so that I don’t miss out on too much, so I can avoid the heartache and feeling lonely and overlooked and hard done by. I try to have everything planned out because otherwise I would never leave the house.
Yes I don’t like going out because it’s so much effort. So much effort to get ready, so much effort to get there, so much effort to unpack from afterwards, and while I’m there I’m not enjoying myself because I’m preoccupied. I’m preoccupied making sure Alexis doesn’t hurt herself or break anything, I’m copping tanties from her for trying to keep her safe or change her nappy, I’m preoccupied either feeding or worrying about feeding, I’m preoccupied trying to stop the kids getting sunburned, stung, pricked on a spikey plant, inhaling smoke… I’m worried about what I can eat without it upsetting William through my milk (I try to avoid sausages, chocolate, onion, egg, too much dairy and too much sugar… at this time of year it’s really hard… After Christmas I’m going to examine my diet carefully to find out exactly what he’s allergic to but for now I have enough to worry about). I’m preoccupied trying to remember not to ramble on about me and the kids because nobody cares…
We do go out, because humans need social contact, the kids need a change of scenery, somethings you can’t get out of, and because I need time out from being at home. At home I am painfully aware of how much work I should be doing. When we are out at least I’m not worried about dishes and washing. Of course when I go out for the sole purpose of avoiding housework it always is there to hit me in the face when I get home…
I’m quite worked up lately. It’s hard to relax. I’m failing at everything housework-related, I haven’t wrapped presents or posted the ones I needed to post weeks ago. William has had a tummy ache because I ate a few chocolate almonds on the last few weekends and now because I’m on antibiotics to clear a little bit of bacteria in my throat although I don’t need them I need to know I’m well enough to see a certain someone who can’t get sick (it’s complicated). He hasn’t been sleeping well, Alexis has been waking at least once a night and being full on all day… I’m exhausted. Yet when the kids finally do sleep I can’t switch my brain off.
To top it all off I have a review due on Wednesday, and I’m mad at myself for accepting it when I didn’t have time to do what I had to do around the house. I’m mad at myself for being mad at myself because it isn’t the time to be mopey and feeling inadequate. It’s nearly Christmas, I’m supposed to be organised, energetic and efficient, whilst still happy, fun, joyful. Without caffeine (coffee REALLY upsets William, I know that for sure). Who decided this!!?? How can I be all these things while being woken three or four times a night?
I think this time of year has too much pressure. So my goal is to aim lower. To refuse to let the epic to do list rattle me. To feed in public if I need to and whoever is offended by it can get stuffed. To realise when I’m getting overwhelmed and allow myself to calm down.
My biggest priority is to enjoy Christmas day without angst. I want my kids to have a fun time and not to learn to dread special occasions due to mummy going psycho.
I already know that Christmas day is at my parents house and that is awesome because I already know it’s the one place I can truly relax. Almost. Their house is baby-proofed, as much as it could possibly be. It is set up so that wherever they are there is somewhere for me to sit comfortably and feed while still being part of what’s happening. I know that mum will have treats for me to eat that aren’t chocolate. I know that mum will have plenty of food. I know that dad will have the pool clean enough for William to be able to swim in and the grass nice for Alexis to play on. They are the most organised, thoughtful people I know.
I know that mum and dad and Amanda and Jason and Corey and I can manage three kids. So when my brain tries to tell me I’ll have to worry about the Christmas tree and trying to stop Alexis annoying Isabella and trying to stop Alexis pushing (pulling really) the cats too far, I’m going to tell it to shut up. Yeah I will have to tackle a bit of stuff like this but I won’t be doing it alone.
All that my mum wants for Christmas is for everyone to be happy. That’s all she asks for every single year. Now I’m a mum I get it. I want my family to be happy, because that makes me happy. That’s all a mother ever truly wants for Christmas, isn’t it? So I’m going to do my part to make it happen, for her.
If you can pray like you’ve never prayed before for me to somehow get enough sleep on Christmas Eve then that’d be tops! 😉 That’s unlikely to happen due to Corey’s nemesis, three little words “some assembly required”. So hopefully I can be happy even if I am fighting the eyelids.
So my goal is, no matter what happens throughout the week, to put it all behind me on Christmas day and have one day of being relaxed and happy.
It’s not that hard. Really. Is it?