I reckon the midwives should give you a book about self care when you leave the hospital with your new bundle of joy. As a new mum you’ll take home about a hundred thousand brochures on breastfeeding, safe sleeping, baby health tips and important information that you won’t get time to read until your little one is about 3 years old.
It’s pretty bloody important though.
If you’ve not heard of taking a mental health day look it up now. This isn’t just for parents but absolutely essential for anyone feeling under pressure.
Today was a fab day. We got up not too early (just before 6 – who’d have ever dreamed that this was a lie in). I made pancakes for breakfast. We went to our fave Tuesday morning toddler singing and dancing session. I baked. (this last one should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who knows me) Something HAD to be amiss. And it was.
It’s amazing how one toddler not taking one small nap in the middle of the day can lead so much goodness into such chaos. If you’re a follower of the blog you’ll know for sure that our lives are never quiet (not that I’d change it for the world) but my 2.5 year old changes into a Gremlin if he’s overtired. To be honest I’m not much better but I would never, ever fight you if you asked me to go to bed. Mr 2.5, however, has completely different values. We fought over it for about an hour – I finally thought I was getting the upper hand when I said we wouldn’t be able to meet up with his beloved cousins unless he had a sleep, but then baby brother woke up and it was suddenly play time again.
I tried every trick in the book to get him to nap. Apparently he knows them all. He’s like some diminutive Penn and Teller laughing me off the stage as I produce a card from up my sleeve. I’ve got nothing. Except anger, apparently.
I’m so angry and it’s making me even more angry knowing that I’m angry. In the same way I’ve never felt a love as strongly as I do for my boys I’ve also never been in such a rage when he turns his ‘terrible twos’ on me. Much the same way that I sometimes lose my mind in annoyance with my hubby I’m pretty sure you’ve got to really love someone before you can absolutely want to throttle them.
Every ounce of my conscious, rational thinking brain knows that it’s completely ridiculous to get cross at a toddler. Not to mention futile. Yet this emotional, overtired wreck is currently pleading with him to please go to sleep.
You know it’s over when you say please to a toddler. I’m pretty sure I saw a glint of victory in his eyes.
It was now about 3pm anyway so although way too late to nap I tried one, last time. ‘Please have a sleep and we’ll go and see your cousins.’
‘OK mum’ he chimes and takes himself off to bed. It was about 2 seconds before he came back out saying ‘the sun’s out mum – I’m awake!’ in an obvious mockery of me telling him that he needs to wait for the sun to come up before he’s allowed out of bed. It’s funny that he should use that in this instance as I can’t remember a time when he’s EVER got out of bed in daylight.
I had to admit defeat. Even if I got him to sleep now it would be way too late for a nap and we’d be going through this whole thing again at bedtime. At least this way I’d get him down for an early night.
In 4 hours.
My toddler can do a lot of damage in 4 hours. It was about 1 hour in that he started beating up his baby brother. After one particularly savage attack he got frog marched to his room to have a 5 minute sit down to calm down. I’m not sure if you can imagine the noise he made over this but apparently it didn’t deter someone from knocking on our door. The noise was sooooo loud I actually didn’t hear the knock, but our dog turns into a wild hound of Baskerville when someone walks down the street about a block away, so you can imagine what she’s like with someone in the front garden. Howling toddler, barking dog, wailing baby and I open the door to a lovely looking chap who assures me he’s not trying to sell anything. I promise you I’m not making this up – he starts a speech about the high number of unfortunate kids in Qld who are subject to violence and abuse in the home and it’s all I can do to not explain to him how there’s one right in front of him who’s just been hit with a cricket bat and his older brother is going the right way for a sound hiding very soon.
I had to stop him mid sentence as I saw out of the corner of my eye Mr Toddler approach from his room – now fully naked and obviously intent on an answer as to why his tantrum had been interrupted so rudely. I think the door knocker was quite happy to be getting out alive.
Hopefully I’ve set the scene well enough. I was at the end of my tether and by the time dinner time came around we’d had plenty more melt downs and I was out of ideas. Until I decided to just let it go. Today (despite that baking, goddammit) I’m not the perfect mum. The highchairs were pulled in front of the TV, dinner was served and mum poured herself a glass of wine and escaped to the front garden for 10 minutes.
Phone in hand I called a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while who I knew would just make me laugh.
That friend was the CTRL-ALT-DELETE to my day.
Everything reset, and in that 10 mins I was once again restored – sanity back intact and we managed to make it through to bedtime with lots of giggles and only a few minor upsets.
What I’m trying to say (which I probably could have said a lot quicker if I didn’t ramble quite as much) is that you don’t need to schedule a mental health day, a massage, a holiday, a night out with the girls or a full night’s sleep (SWOON!) to apply a mental band-aid. Yes you’ll definitely need (and get) these things eventually but for now, momma, hang in there and take what you need.
For me it was a
glass bottle of wine and a good giggle.
It might be a cup of tea, an episode of the bachelor or an hour of yoga – we don’t judge around here. Do what needs to be done and definitely don’t feel bad for it.
The only thing I feel bad for is that poor door knocker – it actually sounded like a proper good cause so if anyone knows of a charity making backpacks for kids please let me know (and apologise to their poor employee!)