So this morning Master Nearly-5 had his first “I don’t want to go to kinder”, “I can’t put on my velcro shoes today“, “I don’t want that breakfast”, “I’m about to explode” meltdown. Set off by Miss 6 Months giggling at him crying, Master Nearly-5 was hysterical. “Tell her to stop laughing at me, it’s not funny!!!!’ he screamed as he tried to get ready. I must admit after an hour of tears, repeated outfit changes thanks to giving birth to a reflux-laden baby, spilling the milk and literally crying over it, and falling over in the driveway in full view of the neighbours, I had had just about enough!
Pushing my patience, testing how far the boundaries stretch. Using the waterworks as a tool of his sneaky trade. Master Nearly-5 is going through a phase which requires me to be super on-the-ball and strategic about my choice of words and actions.
After sorting through the drama that was the first waking hours this morning, the Master was settled with his kinder friends and playing happily. So where was this boy as I stood crying over milk this morning? Ah, that’s right. I’m Evil Mum apparently, the Mum that yells, that punishes and makes rules instead of strawberry cupcakes. And the Kinder Teachers aren’t like Evil Mum, so best behaviour is part of the show.
It took all my energy, just to get out the door this morning. After what has seemed like weeks of grappling with this child I love so much, I let out a sigh of relief. It took all my patience and skills just to get him out of our house today. I did it!
For those who don’t know, Master Nearly-5 is completely healthy, physically and mentally. No underlying concerns. But WOW, he hasn’t been the easiest child to nurture of late.
As all the mums (and moms) would know, when you fall pregnant and give birth, a lot of your parenting dreams can fall by the wayside. Not everything turns out as you planned. And there’s little you can do but just accept what you can and use the supports around you.
Your friendships turn into play dates. Relaxation, it turns out, is the point at which the matchsticks you’ve used to prop your eyelids open pop out and you fall into a deep sleep. Sleep now includes time fighting for an inch of doona, fighting for mere minutes of uniterrupted slumber with three in the bed, which becomes four in the bed on weekends. The tiny child, who needs you the most wakes you up for a feed and with that, you realize it’s not long before the sun will be up and all you’ve got will be needed again. And yes, you really do need to do it all again. For many more years yet.
People ask “what’s happened, are you okay?” when my house isn’t a complete mess. People comment “Oh it must be great to have a sleeping baby at home”- Miss 6 Months DOES NOT DO DAY SLEEPS. So no, it’s not so great. My husband wonders why I’m up until all hours doing things that could be done in the daylight. The brain of a mother never swtiches off, is what I constantly need to remind him.
And it’s at this point that I find myself this morning. For someone that’s usually so organized in all facets of life, seeing the milk on the floor, watching Master Nearly-5 fight to within an inch of his childhood to not have to go to dreaded kinder (who’d want to go somewhere where you can eat when you want, spend time with your friends, have a nap if needed, read a good book or two and get really messy with paint and or bubbles?) and having Miss 6 Months teething and in pain, yet still managing to laughing at us both really woke me up.
You can be the most organized Mum in the universe- one who labels jars of spices, has a clothes sorting system for lights and darks and never EVER washes them together. The Mum with children who are enrolled in 18 different activities on a weekly basis and activities and times never get muddled up. The Mum who has a completely finished to-do list each day and everyone is still happy and smiling. One who never misses an appointment or arrives late thanks to great diary keeping. That Mum who can visit four friends for play dates in one day and still manage to cook a roast dinner before bathing the kids. But if your Missus and Masters want to tantrum and fight, to demand a “day off” from kinder, or to just plain test you, it’ll take all you’ve got to get back on track.
It makes you take a step back and realise just how tricky parenting can be, when you truly believe that work work achieves more than house work, when feeding yourself needs to be accomplished in a matter of two minutes, give or take a few moments of heart burn. When adult versus child negotiation skills are the first on your CV. When just going grocery shopping requires you to turn into an octopus combined with event planner and child-wrangler all in one. And I really need to get a new internal memory card- I missed five things off my shopping list last night and didn’t even take Master Nearly-5 and Miss 6 Months with me. I went shopping alone, for me-time, yet they were all I could think of.
So before I return to work work this drizzly morning in Melbourne, here’s a friendly reminder from one busy Mum to the next: I typed this entire post whilst wrestling with Miss 6 Months, making phone calls to electricity companies and trying to eat my own breakfast, so just go with the flow. And go easy on yourself. Event though the tantrums are difficult to cope with in the midst of one, it’s all part of learning to be part of a family. If washing doesn’t get done, it’s ok. And definitely don’t cry over spilled milk. You’ll look like a “silly goose”, according to Master Nearly-5.