When you spend all day long doing nothing but giving everything you have to two tiny terrors who then don’t even have the decency to say thank you, it’s pretty draining.
They say you cannot pour from an empty cup. Well I would say the red indicator light has been flashing on mine for the last two months and today I feel like the engine has just died.
Most days I can run at about a quarter full, no problem.
But we’ve had a combination of factors recently that are just sapping more and more of the precious energy away from me.
I feel messy. Ragged around the edges. Way too on edge as I struggle to keep all of the plates of my life spinning.
It’s bedtime that has been the final straw for me today. A wee on the floor, an overflowing poo leading to fresh pyjamas, LOTS of crying and complaining, and water all over the bathroom floor leading to more fresh pyjamas for a soggy baby.
These occurrences are nothing out of the ordinary in the life of a parent. But it’s everything on endless loop, over and over and over again.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down, is the message that pushes the heroine in A Handmaid’s Tale to keep going against all the adversity she was facing. The trouble is, I’m not being ground down against my will.
It’s happening willingly. I want to be a mum to my kids, and the very best mum I can be at that. It’s just the kids make it so bloody hard every day.
My toddler cries big fat tears while demanding that I wipe her eyes. She badgers me constantly to have the next advent calendar chocolate. She refuses to put her shoes and coat on, then has an almighty tantrum when I help her sister get ready first.
But it’s the tag team effort my kids are putting in to grinding me down that’s truly finishing me off.
The last month or so my one-year-old has kicked her separation anxiety issues up a notch or 10.
She cries as she desperately scrambles after me when I put her down for 10 seconds so I can grab a drink. It’s that urgent, devastated cry that babies use that sounds as if something terrible has happened to them. And yet when I pick her up, it disappears immediately.
She’s been teething constantly since six months and I wish the buggers would just hurry up and pop through already.
Then there’s the sleep. F**k me the sleep.
Very occasionally my toddler will wake at some point in the night, that’s fine she’s young and it’s to be expected.
My baby wakes at 4am most days. It’s been 1am a lot of the time recently too. And once she’s awake she will not go back to sleep for at least two hours.
That’s not just two hours of sitting having a cuddle. That’s two hours of her wriggling, wailing, demanding food, throwing the bottle on the floor, flinging herself off of me, demanding to be picked up, crying when she’s put back in the cot. It’s exhausting, mentally and physically.
Then 6am rolls by and my toddler is ready to issue her morning list of demands. Milk, Paw Patrol on the TV and toast. All at the same time, right now, no delays. When I can’t deliver, the crying begins.
The noises, god the noises that drum into my head all day long. The crying, the wailing, the high-pitched shrieking, the screaming, the yelling, the growling. They’re either directing it at each other or at me. Mostly it’s at me.
I’m constantly trying to please someone, but no one is ever ever pleased. They’re just on to the next thing they want, or they’re not completely satisfied with the way I fulfilled the last requirement.
I have time out sometimes. A night out here and there. I know this is way more than some parents get and I’m so grateful. But it’s not enough at this time in my life when the kids are 24/7 driving me bats**t crazy.
And then there’s the small matter of my return to work in just three weeks’ time.
It’s snuck up on me and now I’m a bit like a rabbit in the headlights.
How the hell am I going to make this work?
No sleep. Two kids. A filthy house. A job. My relationship. This blog.
I know deep down that it’s all going to settle down and be fine, of course it will! Everything just works out in the end.
But how much of me will be left by then? Once I’ve flogged myself day after day to be a great employee then spend all night trying to be a great mum, surely the cup will be drained many times over.
As the little shreds of energy I cling desperately on to are ripped apart, how on earth can I give everything to all of these things in my life?
And dare I ask the unthinkable but, what about me? What about what I want to do, what about my free time?
If you too are feeling like your cup runneth on empty, then my heart goes out to you right now. They say it does get easier, and I believe them.
Until then let’s pour some wine into that sucker and get on with it.