So I went to the toilet just before. It occurred to me at the time that it was the first time I’d sat down for 7 hours. Three kids is more work than a full-time job. It is hard work. Someone smarter than me once pointed out that any number of kids is a lot of kids. This is true. Especially if that number is three. Some days are rather good, or at least my mood is sufficiently bolstered to see the good in anything at all. I might not get anything done, but I can appreciate that nobody died and we probably ate more than one food group over the course of the day. Probably.
That, and at this point we are up to the third child, we have the skills and confidence to handle things that totally freaked us right out when we had that first child. It helps sometimes to step back and just appreciate how far we’ve really come. I like to take a little pride in the progress I’ve made.
There was one day recently where the children-of-chaos activity-meter was just off the charts, and I actually had to dress them in pretty clothes to make it easier to be nice to them.
Some days are so overflowing with evil that even the cupboards are against me.
This feeling is compounded by the endless, tedious, despicable housework, and also riddled with guilt over the irreversible psychological damage I figure I must be causing to my children, pretty much daily. Just by, well, being me. It stands to reason.
There are times when I’ve had the house to myself for a short while. They are rare, but they happen. I tend to squander them, by using that time to tidy up, which often means throwing away other people’s stuff, which I then have to hide underneath something else in the rubbish bin.
Green child upset me quite a bit last week. I picked her up from school, and announced that I’d just bought her a ton of painting paper, paints, brushes, art books and a rather full bag of all kinds of things to get super creative with. She says flatly “ok, but what about getting me a present that says ‘I love you’?” I was so upset I had to take her home immediately and dress her beautifully again. Five-year-olds will hurt your feelings, man.
But she works well at the other end of that scale, as well. Yesterday when I picked her up from school, I asked what she had learned for the day. She said this:
I thought, well that’s hardly fair. What about that kid with the invisible eye-brows? Or the twins who walk their cat to school? What about that family who ride those bicycles with no pedals? But then she explained that they were learning odd and even numbers, and our family has 5 people in it. That makes us odd.
Basically, raising kids is an emotional minefield, or rollercoaster, or some kind of juggernaut. Or possibly an emotional cyclone. Or quite likely all of the above.
Some days it must be written all over me, when I’m running out of … whatever it is that I’m using up when raising children. That would be will to live, I suppose. Or, “Life”, as we know it, for short. I’m running out of life, and some days it must be just written all over me, in black and white print. Because there are times when my husband looks at me, and says:
Because I’ve had a HARD DAY and I Don’t Want to Talk About It. Plus, in all honesty, I am suspicious of my husband’s motives at times. It’s like: he’s a man… I’m exhausted… I can’t be too careful.
Thankfully I can recognise when I’m being a complete twit, and when to show appreciation. Although I am not great at reciprocal affection. I have lots to learn about that, in fact.
Mind you, I regained some of my will to live the other day. Pink child was refusing to go to sleep, my husband kept putting her in bed, she kept getting up again. She kept insisting she had to tell me something so I wouldn’t forget it. Eventually he caved in a little, and let her come down to see me in the study. I asked her what she wanted to tell me. She said:
Which is cuter than a bug’s ear, coming from a 3 year old. So I said good night again and began to usher her back to bed.
And then she said this:
My will to live is now completely restored.