Some days all the knowledge, all the things I have read and learned and continue to learn about parenting, get booted into a box, squished with a hefty thud, locked inside and kicked under the bed. Some days, my patience, my ability to listen, to understand, to reason, my ability to see the world through the eyes of my three-year and fifteen-month olds is totally over-powered by my need for sleep, my need to wake up on my terms, at my own pace, and by my need for space.
I just realised how awful that sounds. I adore my babies, of course I do, I wouldn’t change motherhood for the world. But there are days, and times within days, when I just want to shut myself in a room with only a bed and a good book, stretch out and read and lose myself in the words. Some days, the feeding on demand, waking on demand, acting as a human climbing frame, an encyclopaedia for my curious pre-schooler, a supplier of endless drinks and snacks and toys and books and amusement, the care-taker of two littlies at the park, the library, the Mini Movers class, the playgroup, the supermarket (when I feel brave enough), the provider of paints and play-doh and crafts, the picker-upper of Lego and jigsaws and socks and hair bands and food, and the nurse for every scratch, bump, fall and scrape, all gets a little too much. Some days I shout. Some days I forget how to be the gentle, understanding mother that I so want to be every single day, and I shout and cry and feel ashamed of myself for being such a mother. Some days I could get in the car and not stop driving. Some days I feel that my children deserve so much better than me. Some days I just want to be alone.
And on those days, when it has all been too much, when it has been one early start too many, when I feel like my body just does not belong to me anymore, there is no better way of turning the day around than getting out the house and doing something different. Last week, on one such day, we got in the car, we went to see my mum, and the four of us went to the local garden centre for a wander and some time of strolling-around-doing-not-much. For this outing, The Princess decided that the most appropriate footwear would be her winter slippers. And for the first time that day, I smiled, inside and out.