It’s been a difficult weekend. Which is a bit of a shock and disappointment because I really thought that I was getting a lot better. I had plans to write a post about my improved mental health, and another about how, often now in my 3 person family, it feels like we’re all just swimming in a pool of LOVE. It’s beautiful… But then this weekend happened. It wasn’t awful, parts of it were great. And I feel I did well in not allowing the disappointments of my slip ups to push me to give up (though maybe I did give up momentarily once or twice). Anyway, back to the point, it wasn’t a horrible weekend overall… but my fuse (for some reason) was particularly short, and I lost my temper and bellowed at my kids more times than I would like to admit.
Saturday was probably the worst. The house was a mess, which always puts me on edge. I kept telling myself, that I’d do a 5 minute tidy or a quick ‘sweep’ through the house, and then I would feel so much better. I’d pick up a couple of things, then I would be called to attend to some sort of ’emergency,’ someone would spill a cup of milk or wee on the floor…. or they’d be hungry or desperately need me to come look at some thing they found in the yard. Apparently 5 minutes to myself to pick up the house a bit was simply too much to ask. (I guess I should have just set a timer and made them wait- but it’s hard to pick up your whole house in 5 minutes when you have a crying 2 year old hanging off your leg). I thought the kids were going out with their Dad at 12. So at about 10, I was thinking, ‘you know what- why not just forget about the mess for a couple of hours, and really enjoy my time with the kids. Then I can tidy up when they’re gone.’ But then I got a message saying he wasn’t coming till 3. (So I would have to either do something about the mess or put up with it for another 5 hours.) And the kids just kept making more and more mess. And if they weren’t making mess they were making noise and sort of thrashing around the house, making me fearful that cluttered surfaces were going to end up knocked on to the floor… and anything already on the floor was at risk of being trodden on, broken, or kicked into some faraway corner never to be seen again. Everything just felt so chaotic and I couldn’t calm it down. I was snapping at every little thing. I felt myself gritting my teeth so many times my body tense with anger. I was angry that my kids were being so unhelpful. I was angry that I didn’t know how to manage my house better.
I was in utter desperation, and knew that something needed to change. I had to do something. Eventually, I decided to bribe my son into helping me tidy up. I told him he could have $1, if he picked a corner/small area of the house and he tidied it up really well. So he happily did that, and then I gave him 50c for every other ‘corner’ he tidied. Amazingly, we got the house looking pretty good and all had fun doing it…. (now why can’t I make that happen all the time!) So I’m pleased that there was sort of a happy ending to the madness.
When the kids did finally go out with their dad, I spent the rest of the day tidying and getting the house looking really good, getting rid of lots of visible clutter and making the house feel so much more peaceful. I felt really good about it.
On Sunday, despite starting the day with a very tidy house, my fuse was still very short I was snapping and shouting at my kids for the littlest things. I’m pleased that I recovered and carried on after each minor explosion… (rather than falling into a black hole of shame and guilt and hopelessness) (This post I read recently I think has helped me with that). But it was still never long until the next minor explosion.
I’m hoping my very short fuse this week end is simply PMT… or possibly I’m just more tired than usual.
Anyway… What am I going to learn from this weekend?
First of all, mess… I need to change my relationship with mess. Mess makes me fearful and anxious and insecure. It makes me feel like I am not living up to the standards that I should be as a parent. It makes me feel like I am not in control. It makes me feel hopeless. I need to accept that mess happens. I think this is a topic I really need to think about and perhaps write another post on later. Because I really struggle getting the balance right between letting it go and not stressing about it, and living in a complete pig sty.
Secondly, GO TO BED ON TIME!! So that I am well rested. And keep track of my menstrual cycle, be ready for PMT. Lower my expectations of productivity and cleanliness, plan for an easy dinner, and if possible spend time at my mum’s… or get the kids to spend time at mum’s or my sister’s.
And thirdly. Uhmm… just chill?? Let it go… Maybe meditate. Maybe put on my favourite music and dance (or listen while tidying up). Find some way to remind myself that everything is really ok. Or find a way to release tension, like running around the yard with the kids, jumping on the trampoline or just having a tickle fight.