It is halfway through the first week of the Easter holidays and I’m exhausted. Toby and I aren’t designed to be together for ten consecutive days! We are too similar, a fact that always confuses me as we share no DNA. I love the bones of my boy but there are times I am defeated by the tantrums, the willfulness, the monotony, and the shear humdrum of parenting.
Today had been a good day of mooching about at the shops followed by lunch. All was well until a tantrum about wearing his new trainers before Easter (they are an Easter present, I had to justify the frivolous purchase somehow!). As I pushed the heavy shopping trolley out of Aldi (complete with argumentative five year old) my hip popped (again). Not only was I stressed out, I was now in excruciating pain. I got to the car and unloaded the shopping, took the trolley back and my delightful boy refused to sit in his car seat. He stood there defiant and point blank refused to move. In that moment I wanted to cry. I pleaded, he sensed the defeated mummy in my voice and he complied.
We sorted it all out in the end with a deal of being able to wear the trainers in the house but not outside until Easter Sunday. I wondered this afternoon if I was actually cut out to be a mummy, if that’s why I only have Toby. He’s a handful at times so maybe that’s why the others couldn’t stay. Perhaps with two children I’d be over the edge? I don’t know. It’s a thought that I often have, it doesn’t make it true of course.
Every parent feels how I did today, I know that and I know it’s not really true as I know Toby is awesome and the good times definitely outweigh the crappy moments. It is hard though (and confusing) when something you longed for for so long doesn’t always feel like you thought it would. The idealised view I had of parenting – the fun times, the snuggley stories, the milestones, the love is there in bucket loads and it is awesome and I am so lucky but also there is the monotony, the exhaustion, the frustration, the boredom, the guilt. These are the bits of parenting that I wasn’t prepared for and they are (at times but not always) soul destroying. Yes, 5 years down the line I’m still not totally used to it. I am so very lucky and that adds to the guilt. I have the prize that so many people want and sometimes it doesn’t make me happy.
Add the baby loss element to being a parent after infertility and the guilt is infinitely harder. Every time I moan about parenting I feel horrible. I hope the moans show that I’m just a normal mummy trying to stay sane.
At bedtime of course Toby was a delight, saying lots of lovely things and being his (mostly) happy sweet self. He reminded me of the joy that is being a parent and the reason we put up with all the crappy times. I realised this evening that you need the mundane to make the joyful moments happen.
I have concluded that parenting is hard, parenting after infertility is harder, parenting after baby loss is harder still. Actually it is all just bloody hard!
Matt and I have a long running joke of uttering three words during the testing (and disgusting!) moments – we tell each other we’re ‘living the dream’ and we laugh (and sometimes we drink wine too).
I am truly living the dream. This is what being a parent it, signing up for the crap as well as the fun. Sometimes it may not feel like I’m living the dream but I truly know that I am and I’m so grateful.