I think the thing that has shocked me the most about being a mum is how hard it really is. I always thought it wouldn’t be an easy job, but I was and still am genuinely stunned by just how hard it can be.
Take the past two weeks, R has been cutting more teeth (he’s all teeth this kid) and had hand, foot and mouth. “Oh sorry to hear that” or “WTF is hand, foot and mouth?” people without kids said, that’s nice thank you. “OH MY GOD” people with kids said. Exactly.
Basically we’ve suffered nearly two weeks of sleepless nights. One night I finally settled Reuben at 5am. That was brilliant. But it’s not just the fact that he’s up, oh no, he’s not just up asking to watch Thomas and friends, he’s wailing, screaming blue bloody murder and flailing around. To be fair I’d probably do the same in his situation, but my point is during all this period of difficultness we, as parents, still have to get up in the morning and deal with our day-to-day lives, whether that’s work, or just existing with the daily routine (showering, getting dressed you know the drill) and when you’re exhausted emotionally and physically it’s really hard, and actually it can feel quite lonely.
This latest spate of illness and teething hit me quite hard emotionally, so trying to turn a negative into a positive, I’ve thought of something things that might help people in a similar situation:
- Get chocolate in, you don’t want wine, you can’t deal with a screaming child at 2am after wine
- Don’t be afraid/too proud to ask for help, it doesn’t mean you can’t cope
- Surround yourself with people you’re comfortable having a potential meltdown in front of and know that it’s ok to do this
- Boyfriend/husband/life partner not working at the weekend? Then the nightshift is their turn. We all need time to sleep and the opportunity to say “oh did he wake in the night?” ^%$^”%$”^% !!!
- Allow yourself time to have a cry. It’s fine. It helps.
- Try to escape. Not through a window, but even if it’s to the shops for five mins to pick up more Calpol, time apart does you all good (I believe a solo week in the Maldives would do us all the world of good if I’m honest)
- Try to laugh, if not see 5
- Try to speak to other people, I tend to be quite bad at shutting myself out because I’m too tired, but even if it’s a text to someone to say actually I’m having a pretty shit week, it can help you feel better
- Speak with other mums/dads who will have undoubtedly gone through it at some point, it can be good for reassurance
- Know that it won’t be forever (and repeat)
And if all else fails, see you at the airport…..