"There was a time when I thought I would never get to the end. Never get passed the almost constant need for space to call my own."
This past year has seen a real shift in our family. The thing I thought would never happen has. Quizzed on what shows are on ABC for kids, I could not answer. Talk about nappies, nipples, sleep deprivation and though I do remember, I have to reach back into my mind to pull the memories out.
There was a time, when two children under two relied on me for just about every last thing, I thought I would never get to the end. Never get passed the almost constant need for space to call my own. The toilet, the bed, the shower, no space was mine to inhabit alone. Most days this was not an issue. Others, it was all consuming.
This is to say keep going. Let the bad days come. In the grand scheme of life a little cake and couch time won't really hurt anyone.
I did not get a full nights sleep for over seven years. Tired beyond reason was situation normal.
Some days, on escaping to the park I would just want my kids to go and play. Leave me alone. Pushing a small child on a swing was mind numbingly boring. Some days, I was the model mother, all healthy snacks and a picnic rug; baskets with extra water bottles, laden with spare nappies and spare clothes. Some days.
Our children were by choice. Their being born close together pretty much on purpose. Days when I questioned this choice still happened.
This article is not for all those great days you have being a parent. This is for that day when it’s all too much. The days when you want out. The days when the thought of making another meal that won’t be eaten makes you cry. For the days of battling once more for a child to sleep. For the days when you drive endlessly, with a knot in the pit of your stomach, because you know as soon as you switch the car off someone will wake. This is for those days.
This is to tell you it won’t be forever. Even though it feels like it will be. This is to let you know these days happen, and that’s alright. It’s normal to have bad days, and it’s good to admit to them.
The days of all consuming parenting will pass. Your house will one day not resemble a creche. You will get space back. Your bed will become your own again.
One day your children will get to school by bus or train. They will organise their own social lives, texting you the details. They will feed themselves, say goodnight at the living room door, you won’t see them again until morning. They may still talk to you while you’re on the toilet, but at least it will be through a closed door.
You will have space. You will have meals with chilli that everyone will eat.
I do not miss those days of prams and tears. Sticky fingers and tantrums. Of feeling sick because I couldn’t find the dummy to stop the incessant crying. I do not miss them at all.
It is not that parenting has become less, it is still a full time occupation. It is just that the overwhelming, immobilisation of days when no one sleeps are over and gone.
This is to say keep going. Let the bad days come. Let them wash over you. Give in to the television or the DVD. Let them eat cake for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, weet-bix for tea. In the grand scheme of life a little cake and couch time won’t really hurt anyone.
These days will pass. Your children will grow. You will love them in ways unimaginable. They will amaze and astound you. But on those days, the bad ones, let it wash.
It too will pass.
Naomi Pritchard-Tiller is a writer, teacher and mother who can often be found blogging about the musings of her everyday life on Under the Yardarm in between fine cups of tea.