So many ideas for blog posts racing around in my head, and so many half ideas jotted down - this very brief one is being squeezed in as the baby sleeps, instead of getting the chores done! (I am working on doing a few things for myself and not feeling guilty - but that's a-whole-nother post!)
Because it's nice to share the good moments, as well as the challenges…
Last night I was having a tough time. It's hard to remember all the little things through the day which had pushed me that little bit closer to the edge (and there were lots of fantastic moments too thankfully!), but it was one of those days where your tea gets knocked over even though you left it right in the middle of the table, there are dried lentils/rice/pasta all over the floor (that'll teach me to do a craft activity!), you have a crying baby and a potty full of poo to empty, there are snotty noses and tired children all over the place, and Daddy is running just a little late (meaning Mummy is going to have to do the evening routine alone).
And I was tired. So so tired. #3 is just coming up to 6 months, and is still feeding every couple of hours or so at night, and being bunged up with a snotty cold is making the nights just that little bit harder. I know that some babies sleep through early on (not mine though!!) and some don't, and I don't resent it, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I really could do with a bit more sleep right now! And of course, I'm not quite so sunny and jolly when I'm really running on empty with exhaustion.
And then the final straw yesterday - the walk back from school. It poured with rain. And I mean poured! I don't mind being out in the rain, but we weren't expecting it, and we really really weren't dressed for it!! So, four drowned little rats marched home as quickly as possible - and clambered out of our wet clothes, and straight into our pyjamas!
Anyway, we had tea, the baby decided not to nap (eek!), and we headed up to get ready for bed. And now I knew I was on a very tight time limit - to get the kids ready before #3 had a major, exhaustion-induced meltdown. Ah deadlines - the cause of the vast majority of upsets in our household. Tell me we're not alone in this!! And of course the stress was getting to me a bit, and I started to hear myself beginning to interact with (and react to) the children in a way I wasn't especially happy about - not exactly shouting, but snappy; barking orders, and lacking a bit of empathy to slight upsets. Once we'd got the teeth cleaning out of the way, which is the bit the kids need most help with, I took a breath to settle myself down and decided to apologise to the kids for how I'd spoken - and, in response, #1 said "That's ok Mummy - thank you for saying you're sorry". In amongst all the chaos, it was so nice to have a bit of validation that I had maybe made the right choice at that moment. And from the person I probably needed it from the most too!
The positives of the evening for me were that I realised when my feelings were getting a bit too fraught (I often find it hard to metaphorically step away for long enough for this to happen), and that I was then able to dial it back a notch, followed by (even though I was still feeling a bit cross) managing a sincere apology. And hearing #1's response to my apology of course! I do find that when I hear the children saying something that is… err, 'not ideal' shall we say, it is easy to examine our own behaviour and see where they got it from ("Ugh, that sounds just like me!"). And yet it's hard to remember sometimes that when we hear good stuff from them, maybe that came from us too!
I hope there is, and will always be, enough mutual respect in our household that we can all feel we can apologise after a mistake, and expect it to be received in such a mature fashion. Thank goodness the children accept my mistakes and move on so quickly - I just hope that I can always be mature enough to do the same!