I know there are many interesting discussions around disciplining children and when/whether to say no. That’s not what this is about. This is about saying no for yourself.
Since she was born, I have always wanted to spend my time with Evie. I did not wanted to use childcare or regular babysitting before she was at least 12 months old. I still don’t want to use childcare. Not that I have a problem with it, it just isn’t something that I see being part of our family. I do however have regular babysitters now, since my work has become much more demanding. When I say babysitters, I mean anyone who isn’t me – that means Patrick, my mum or Patricks mum. A few times it has meant my sisters or Patricks sister.
So all of the time when I’m not at work, I spend time doing things because of or with Evie. I imagine this is the same for most parents.
For those of you who know me, or those of you who read often, I am all for natural parenting and attachment parenting. Therefore I don’t choose to use methods like controlled crying, naughty corners, time-outs, strong discipline or yelling at/smacking children. Again, I just don’t see these things being part of our family life.
That takes me to what happened on Sunday morning.
On Saturday, we had a sleep in until 10am – bliss!!
Patrick then went to play football at 11am.
Evie and I stayed home until 2:30pm when I took her to my parents house so I could go and play netball. Patrick gets home from football at 3pm so we just miss each other.
I play netball, go and pick up Evie and then get home by about 5:30pm.
Patrick cooked us dinner (thanks!) and then left to go to his footy presentations at 5:45.
Evie and I go to bed at 8pm – around the time Patrick gets home again.
On Sunday morning, Patrick has a running workshop which he leaves home for before Evie and I are out of bed.
He goes straight from the running workshop to pick up Gracie from her mums, goes through a car wash, then gets home at around 11:30am.
Evie and I have a 1st birthday party to go to – which includes brining a plat of food to share so we spend our morning baking and getting ready.
We leave home at about 11:30am. Get to the party at about 12:15pm. Stay for a while. Leave at 2:15ish.
We get home at 3pm which is the same time I am supposed to be meeting a friend for a cuppa and a catch-up. She arrives at my house to pick me up at the same time I drive in the driveway from the party.
I drop Evie off with Patrick and Gracie and go out with my friend. Ahhhh. That was nice! Adult time!
I get home at 5ish and by 5:30 I have left again to take Gracie to Patricks sisters house (Patrick stayed with a sleeping Evie) which is where we are having dinner. I go back to our house to pick up Evie and Patrick and then we are all at dinner by 6pm.
Back home by 8pm, get lunchboxes and clothes ready for the next day, Evie and Gracie have a bath and I take Evie to bed while Patrick takes Gracie to bed.
And that is a pretty standard weekend.
Add to that the fact that Patrick was in Melbourne on Monday night and all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were full days, we had people over for dinner on Thursday night and Friday was pretty busy too, plus the fact that Evie had every ‘teething’ symptom possible for all of those days… And you get ‘My Sunday Morning’!
My Sunday Morning… I was not the person I want to be. I was not the person I like to be. I was not the mother I strive to be. I was not a nice person at all. I found myself snapping, feeling VERY stressed out and feeling angry and uptight.
I am ashamed to say that I told Evie to ‘shut up’. I whinged back at her. I told her off. I yelled. I gave her horrible looks. I was not loving or gentle or nurturing. I did not listen to her. I was not patient with her. I was an all round horrible person. Good God it is hard to write that! Makes me feel sick.
She fell asleep on the way to the birthday party on Sunday and I thought. A lot.
I diagnosed my self INSANE. Who am I? What am I doing to my child?
Reflection time…. No wonder!!!!!! No wonder I’m stressed out. No wonder I’m not the mum I want to be. No wonder my body is covered with eczema. No wonder I can’t sleep at night.
Here is our standard weekly schedule:
Monday: School drop off 8:30 then straight to our weekly ‘play group’. Home by lunch time. School pick up in the afternoon and home with both girls for the arvo (this is only for the next 4 weeks while Patricks parents are away – usually I go to work after lunch on a Monday and Patricks mum does school pick up and looks after the girls).
Tuesday: Work all day (Patricks day with Evie)
Wednesday: Swimming lessons 9:30. Coffee/craft morning until lunch time. Work in the afternoon (Mum has Evie). Netball practice 7-8:30 (Patrick picks Evie up from Mums after he finishes work and he often cooks dinner and takes Evie to bed).
Thursday: Kindergym in the morning. Playgroup in the afternoon. Dinner with my family. Generally Thursdays are the days when we work on our renovations and on getting things done around the home and garden…. if we get time!
Friday: Staff meeting in the morning. Book appointments, run errands, etc. in the afternoon.
Saturday: Spend morning at home catching up on housework, etc. Netball in the afternoon.
Sunday: Generally a family day. Depending on what is on – often lunches, birthday parties, catch ups – if not, we do a family outing (museum, art gallery, markets, walks, zoo, etc.). Dinner with Patricks family.
PLUS: All of the work involved with Managing our business when I’m not actually there. And running my own part time business. And renovating. And cleaning and cooking and buying groceries. And anything else that you can think of, I’m sure we do it. And not sleeping because I lay awake itching my eczema until it bleeds. If that’s not a sign of stress, I don’t know what it is.
I need to change things. But how? What do you do?
So I said NO to one thing already. Thursday play groups is now removed from my schedule. Ahhh. Breath.
Evie was going to be starting Montessori school group on Friday mornings and music play group on Friday afternoons. Maybe those things are on hold for a little while! How much is too much? I love doing these types of things because it gets us out of our tiny house and Evie enjoys it. But I think I can add those types of things when I am no longer working. There’s not time to do it all. And Evie enjoys time with mummy just as much! If not more.
I’m also trying to cut back my work and take Wednesday afternoons for myself if I can get most things done on Tuesday and only work a couple of hours on Wednesday arvo (today I only went to work for an hour and then took from 4:30-6:30 for myself – aka housework and blogging).
Today I also took a day nap with Evie. I slept for just over an hour!
The last couple of weekends have been very full on and Patrick has been interstate quite a few times over the past month. I don’t think he has many other trips or meetings planned over the next little while (after this weekend) so that will be a nice break for both of us! Evie is sleeping all night now and if only I could actually sleep, our nights will be much more peaceful!
We did some muscle testing the other day and my body says I need a holiday. No shit.
SO a break. A detox. A mind-shift. Some self-improvement. A healthier lifestyle. And learning to say NO to attending things. There’s more to it than just stopping doing things. But let’s start somewhere.
No one likes a nasty mummy and no one wants to raise the child of a nasty mummy. And no one wants to be the person I was on Sunday morning.
Suggestions on ways to de-stress? How to cope with parenthood? How to help eczema? How to sleep better? How to be a better person?!