As the question mark in the post title suggests, this is not an advice article. It is a genuine question.
I’ve been back at work part-time now for almost three months and am finding the plate spinning harder and harder. My patience is at an all time low. I’m in a constant state of stress; I’m snappy, irritable and hot-tempered. I think the nature of my job doesn’t help – I’m a Year 1 teacher, thus spend the beginning of my week being closely followed by small beings and repeating myself endlessly and my days “off” with my own kids being closely followed by small beings and repeating myself endlessly. I’ve forgotten what personal space feels like, and I am someone who needs personal space like I need oxygen (almost).
The guilt ramps up every Thursday, when I have very little left to give to my own kids and spend more time than I’d like sitting them in front of the TV – an “activity” I reason is totally fine because they’ve spent three days in a sensory overloaded nursery environment. And it probably is absolutely fine. I just feel I should be doing more (as do most mothers, I would imagine).
Then, at the weekend, when there are opportunities for family fun galore (!), all I really want is for my husband to take the kids out so I can sleep, or work. Or try and sleep whilst thinking about work.
Last weekend, Ben was away and I decided to take the kids to a lambing day. How idyllic it would be! All the little lambs frolicking! My children pointing and giggling and generally loving life! I blame the sun – it was such a beautiful day, it instilled a false sense of optimism in me. Anyway – turned out, the whole of Kent decided to go to the very same location. WE HAD ALL BEEN CONNED BY THE SUNSHINE. The population of Kent and I all moved together as one giant mass through the lambing shed, whilst my children demanded mini cheddars.
They spotted a little carousel. I wasn’t sure the littlest, at 20 months, would sit still for a whole ride but paid the fare nevertheless. As I said – the SUN. Sure enough, after about two and a half rotations, she started pointing to a different vehicle on the carousel and standing up. The ride operator’s hand hovered anxiously over the emergency stop button. I had to run round and whip her up as the ride continued. She head-butted me in wriggly anger and I had to use all my strength to channel peace, love and calm (whilst muttering FML, FML, FML over and over in my head).
They continually darted off in different directions and my sanity ebbed away from me with every minute that passed. We rounded off with a tractor ride before trying to find our car in four million acres of field. As we joined the departing traffic, I asked my son “Did you enjoy that?” and he nodded, smiled and said “Yes. I did.” I allowed myself a second to smile myself. Only a second, mind. Because his next breath was “But I don’t want to go back there ever again.” Well, you and me both kid.
So. I am, indeed, near my limit. I feel like my iPhone in that the battery is always around the 12% mark. I forget to charge it and then give it only enough just to get it up to 20%. And then away the battery drains again. THIS IS ME! I don’t remember a time when I was at even 40%.
How do you recharge? Or do I just have to wait til this all passes? And then feel guilty that I wasn’t making the most of every sodding second? Answers on a postcard, please…..