Pick yourself up and just keep going

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When I was little I use to do dance classes – at the end of every year there would be this massive Christmas concert where we’d spend ages practicing choreography. Then I’d go home and my mum would make me do it again… EVERY… SINGLE… DAY!

Later on in school when I mum worked out that I was having issues with maths – especially division and then algebra, mum would make sure I did my homework and then give me EXTRA equations to work out in addition to what school set out for me.

I HATED it.

I LOATHED the extra work.

Time and time again my mum would say that one day I would thank her; that when I made it into university and was later working a decent job I would appreciate the work she MADE me put in. On the other hand, if I continued to argue about how “no one else has to do it” she would eventually have enough and tell me that anything worth something takes effort.

Years later and I did make it to uni with rather decent grades, years after that I met someone and we had many an obstacle to overcome but I realised that my mum’s practice of making me do things; of getting me to “suck it up and keep going” befitted me in more ways than making me proficient at dance chorography, division and algebra.

I find that I approach parenting in much the same way:

Cleaning up a gazillion times and then having hubby come home and ask “can we clean up the book area? It looks a bit messy” and I think “suck it up and keep going!”

The mania that ensues every night on my work days when we pick kids up from day-care and then have to get both children bathed, clothed and fed and then organise the next day whilst trying to find time to spend with them individually and then put them to bed and find time with hubby – “Pick yourself up, just keep going!”

The times I am at the shops and one child is crying because her little pulled her hair and then he starts wailing because she’s crying – “pick yourself up, & put the coffee in the trolley and just keep going – let’s get some choccies for mummy too”

Life isn’t meant to be easy – that there will be moments, days and sometimes weeks or months where I will wonder WHY?? Where I’ll internally scream and outwardly just take a deep breath… but then there are the other moments where Rocco will stroke my face and smile up at me every night as I put him to bed. Those moments when I’ll hear the patter of Amira’s feet as she feels her way to our room and gets into bed with me and snuggles up close and says she loves me.

Parenting is hard. But its amazing.

I think so many of us, when things are “challenging” start focussing on them, then think about the other hard stuff and then the next thing we know we’ve snowballed and suddenly this is all too hard, we quiver and forget that we need to try to find the joy that comes from the mania. See the little things – like instead of focussing on how Rocco is crying about his shoe coming off and that he can’t put it on himself, look to see how his sister has stopped playing and come on over and is trying so patiently so get a wriggly little boy to sit still whilst she TRIES to put on his shoe. It doesn’t matter that she’s not been able to do it, and that now I have less time to get the grocery shopping done – in that moment she showed her love for him, she showed compassion and care and empathy.

That if we stop for a minute; stop berating either ourselves/the universe/our parents/our children/our income (or lack thereof)/our partner (or lack thereof) and take each situation as a moment we might be able to get through it a little better – that we’re one more equation away to understanding the algebra of life.

So for all the times things get too much – I’ll just “pick myself up and keep going”

Because its like that other saying: “this too shall pass”

And if it takes too long or things get a little too hard to handle there is always cake.

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Back to the grind

I’ve been back to the grind of paid employment now for the last five weeks – this is week five. And whilst I have dipped my toe in by agreeing to start off with three days a week I am still trying to find some sort of rhythm to mayhem. This heightening chaos seems to reach its peak come Tuesday nights when I find myself looking at the haphazard tornado that is my house. Working Monday through to Wednesday that come Wednesday night my husband looks to me and says “aren’t you lucky to have tomorrow off?”

OFF?

From bloody what?

It is usually this same night (where he looks at me with envy that I shan’t be joining the morning mayhem of getting ready for work) that I start my mental list so that even though I am not off to the office in the morning dressed in clean, ironed and professional work wear and heels and made up I am instead rushing around the house like the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil cleaning, folding, putting laundry on; bringing more laundry in, fluffing cushions, putting dishes away , making beds… all the whilst feeding and putting baby down, making sure he doesn’t crawl too far or fast into someplace he shouldn’t be, try to make and give breakfast to a toddler and get her to NOT add to my mess. I convince her that is IS a great idea to play quietly whilst mummy cleans for a bit and promise her that if she lets me do this then I PROMISE we can do something fun after! That when we go grocery shopping, I WILL get her something ‘cool’.

By the time husband has come home and there is food either mid-prep or actually prepared and the infant is crying because he wants to be held but I was at least TRYING to do a LITTLE vacuuming and I’ve plonked toddler in the bath so that I can have and slightly enjoy coffee number 3 for the day i want to clobber him for saying “was it nice with the kids today?”

But even with all of that – the internal hysteria; the subconscious need I have to have some semblance of order in my house, I HAVE had a nice day with the kids that day. Because I know that after the storm of Thursday there is the joy of Friday as I do get to focus far more on the kids and take more than a couple minutes to savour they’re absolute “amazingness”. But then all to quickly the vicious cycle starts again… Sunday afternoon rolls around far too quickly and soon its Sunday night and I am ferocious in my plans for organisation as I may 3 piles of infant clothes and nappies + scoop out the formula and pack little Rocco’s backpack making sure his wrap and dummy are in there and that he has enough wipes and spare clothes in case there is an ‘explosion’. I then do another 3 piles for my little miss Amira (toddler – 2.5yrsold) including knickers and a crazy amount of spare pants/leggings as we are in the throes of toilet training, not forgetting to give her a choice of sippy cup and arrange what she’ll be wearing at day-care…

All too soon we’ve cleaned up a happy Sunday dinner and I’ve had my snuggles with Amira and popped her to bed as I begrudgingly leave her room (oh how I long to stay in there and sleep next to her the way I did when she was but the only child!). I put my lil Rocco in his cot after staring at his little face and willing him to not wake us up many a time during the night and take a last whiff of what I call his ‘boy smell’ and put him down. Then I spend a little one on one time with hubby as we tell ourselves we are NOT tired but our eyelids tell another story. And then before I know it we’re in bed – 2am speeds past and Rocco stirs so I bring him into bed with us… 4am rolls around and Amira comes in to join us in bed and the next thing you know it 5am and she wants milo and the madness starts up again…

Where did my “days off” go?

3:28, 4:12 and 3:48… AM

These are but THREE of the times my little missy INSISTS on getting up screaming & demanding for one of us. Each morning without fail she is doing it – for the last few weeks between the times of 3:15am to 4:30am.

It is driving hubby CRAZY

It is making me wonder – WHYYYYYYYY?

We have tried:

Putting her to bed later

Putting her to bed earlier

Feeding her more carbs before bed (this was NOT good for us as we eat what she eats so where there is a greater quantity or rice/potato we too devoured said extras – thank GOODNESS I have pregnancy to blame it on!)

Longer “down time” before bed

A massage + J&J Sleepy Tme baby oil

Sleepy time (milk) supplement (a malt wheat supplement that you add about 1 teapsoon to milk before bed which is meant to aide sleep – she liked it for a bit and then went off it)

Getting up to her cries and giving her a dummy and walking away (telling her it’s still “nigh-nighs time”)

Getting up to her cried and soothing her and then walking away

Cry it out (don’t judge me – you have NO idea how exhausted we both were that morning! I spent the WHOLE time watching her in the baby monitor)

NONE of the above has worked!

What has “worked”

Me going into her room and telling her to lay down as I sit in the feeding chair & slip my foot between ‘rungs’ to rest on her chest and then she falls asleep (NOT conducive to MY sleep – well, comfortable sleep anyway)

Me or hubby bringing her into our room when she’s quiet and “sleeping” but not really going back to sleep (more tossing & turning and further infuriating hubby)

I am DESPERATE for thoughts and ideas – at this point I have resigned myself into thinking that this (bringing her into her our room) is the better method until she has a big girl bed in which case I will jump into bed with her (thus decreasing hubby’s frustration + also decreasing likelihood of bed wetting situations once I am in the throes of toilet training her!).

I am tired of feeling guilty as she yells “mummmmy-muuummmmy!” from her room. I am exhausted from feeling invisibly pulled and tugged between my role to support my husband and what he thinks is the “right” decision versus my own emotional mothering guilt that says there IS surely nothing wrong with bringing her in the bed with us?

Have I mentioned that to add to the situation, little miss is now grinding her teeth? Hubby noticed it on Friday night but as I had not heard it myself I wasn’t too worried. Then on Saturday when I popped her down for her/our nap I noticed that when he has her back to me she started grinding her teeth (whilst she was sleeping). I rolled over and placed the palm of my hand protectively on her chest and drew myself to her and once she’d nestled into me she stopped. So then I promptly take off my mummy hat and put on my therapist hat and am well aware that grinding teeth can be stress related in older children & adults which makes me think maybe she really does know a new lil bundle is coming and maybe she is NOT so fine about it after all and does need the extra attention? A quick Google search on my android (whilst still clutching her in my arms thinking “mummy will make it better honey – I will fix all of this!”) confirms these things in toddlers also as well as the possibility that perhaps her teeth are not aligning the way they should (which could also be a possibility as both hubby were subjected to braces as young adults).