I remember once hearing or reading, BC (before children), that whether you’re a good parent or a crap parent, just be consistent. Children need familiarity and seven different personalities poppping up in one day doesn’t do them any good.
And that’s my biggest worry at the the moment. I’m not consistent. I’m playing and running around with them one minute and the next I’m a slobbry inch away from biting their heads off. Life’s hard at the best of times, then throw in day to day stresses, colds, flu and upper respiratory infections that won’t clear, a dormant volcano of depression waiting to erupt as well as two feisty, strong willed kidlets and it’s all a recipe for disaster.
I know I’m in the same boat with hundreds of other parents. I get that. I understand we all have our own challenges and dynamics that add to the load. Mark and I battle with the fact we don’t have a tight family support system. We don’t have grandparents that we can send them to for sleepovers. They don’t have cousins who insist on pyjama parties, giving us a teeny tiny bit of time to ourselves.
We don’t have a maid who stays with us. We have Bongi who is incredibly hard working and she tries her best with Emma and Ben, but they just haven’t warmed up to her. Not like they did with Esther. Essie still comes and visits ocassionally but she has her own responsibilities and we don’t want her to feel like we’re taking advantage.
Yesterday Emma, Ben and I went to one of our favourite families for a party and they had a ball. They played. They ran around. They kept themselves entertained. I, through mucus and a black lung, enjoyed catching up with friends. And then we got home. I was buggered. They were tired and cranky. Bath time was a challenge, dinner time too. And bedtime. Well that was a nightmare of epic proportions. As exhausted as they were, they wouldn’t sleep. I could feel myself getting angry. I could hear myself getting louder. And I needed to leave the room for a few minutes. For everyone’s sake.
I yelled downstairs to Mark, who had been out the whole day working, also riddled with sinus and flu, that I needed help. But by then it was too late. My tone wasn’t one of needing assistance, it was pissed off and defensive. Which had the opposite effect of what I was hoping for. Seething at the kids, seething at the husband, I stormed outside for a cigarette and a sip of my ice cold coffee.
So I’ve decided Mark and I need a safe word. One that we can use when patience is running thin and tempers are flaring. One that is easy to understand and remember and won’t get confused for anything else. At the moment I’m thinking ‘HELP!’ will work just fine