I’m so tired that I just put a metal fork in the microwave and poured milk into the kettle. The last thing I should be doing is writing a blog. Instead, I should be in bed, asleep, looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning when I get a whole new opportunity to be the best that I can be BUT, I know that if I leave it until tomorrow I won’t write the blog, or at least I won’t write the truth.
And that’s not what this blog is about.
At about 2.45am this morning, I started to think that being a mama can really suck at times. With a screaming Small and another Small (not mine) sleeping just a foot away I had to make a judgement call and brought my Small into bed with me because, what’s worse than one Small crying in the middle of the night and refusing to sleep? Two Smalls crying in the middle of the night refusing to sleep.
I don’t know why she didn’t want to sleep last night. It wasn’t like we sat in bed, snacking on a midnight feast and gabbing about our anxieties, worries, bad dreams. All I know is that she just looked at me and cried. She tried to sleep but she twisted and turned and kicked me in the face and fell off the bed (despite the rolled up king duvet, the three pillows and the defensive line of kitties that had taken up the night watch too.)
I think in 5 hours we managed to grab a total of about 37 seconds sleep which, in anyone’s book, is not enough. There were dark moments in those five hours. Really dark. She cried. I cried. She screamed. I did that whispering screaming thing that us mamas are really good at. By 4.45am, I was beyond ‘being a mama can really suck at times’; now I was at ‘today I really don’t want to be a mama.’
I’m not even going to try and justify that. Quite simply, I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was tired. I was sick and full of cold. I had houseguests. I had back pain. I was exhausted and I couldn’t sleep. I wanted this night of irrational torture to be over but I didn’t want the morning to come because I knew that I’d have to get up and try and be a human being. All I wanted was for the Small to disappear. Like Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth, I wanted David Bowie in his tight pants with his gaggle of goblins to come and take her away. I wanted to sleep. I didn’t want to get up, I didn’t want to make breakfast. I just wanted to sleep. And cry.
But, like death and taxes and kids wanting to play with the same toys at the same time, the morning did come and I did get up and make breakfast and I just about didn’t cry. At 1pm my best friend and her family got into a cab and headed off back to America. And then, I cried. Finally, my Small slept and I cried.
I cried because I was exhausted. I cried because I was sick. I cried because I’d had houseguests for two weeks. I cried because my husband is away on tour. I cried because I was still in pain with my back. I cried because I had to hoover the rug again. But mostly I cried because I genuinely felt that I didn’t want to be a mama. I genuinely felt that I wanted to go back to those days where, if I felt rubbish, I could just be in my pyjamas all day, eat ice-cream and watch vapid TV on a loop.
If David Bowie had turned up at 1.05pm this afternoon, getting all clever with his glass balls and backcombed masterpiece, I would have willingly handed her over. By 1.10pm, the Small had been asleep for ten minutes and the tide in my heart started to slowly, slowly change. A few episodes of Revenge, a tub of Green & Black’s ice-cream, and a Small who had napped for two hours later I was starting to think this day didn’t have to be all bad.
I had little faith that anything could save my day, my mood, my soul but I had to try. I packaged her into her buggy, I threw on a jumper and sunglasses (big sunglasses…ones that could cover the unrecoverable damage that had landed on my face following the night) and strode out into the sunshine. We walked for about two hours. It was slow going at first and I actually talked to myself. Like, I mean, out loud. I talked and talked until I started to feel a little better.
Soon, we picked flowers. We blew dandelions. We stopped at the park on the way back. She sat in the swing singing ‘Zoom zoom zoom…’ for twenty minutes and after numerous attempts she mastered the ladder steps to the slide. When I spoke to my husband at 5pm, the Small was in the swing, and I was still a little shaky, a little tearful, a lot exhausted but I had rescued my sanity and probably the Small’s too.
As I write this, she’s asleep. She was so tired she cried all the way through her bath which is basically her truly happy place. I watch her on the monitor, restful, peaceful, her chest rising and falling, her eyelids hiding magical worlds that I will never know or be able to imagine. I hate that little bit of myself that would have handed her over to David Bowie and the goblins but I know that the rest of me is bigger and more compassionate and more loving and…more sane.
I’m not a bad mama; I’m a normal mama. And, if you feel even a little bit like this…so are you.