You can read all the naff inspirational quotes you want on Facebook. The ones that tell you you’re doing a great job. The ones that remind you that you are enough and that you should be kind to yourself. Read them, believe them for a fleeting moment of naivety if you want. Truth is, that tidal wave of guilt gets us all at some point and no amount of social media clichés will send those waves back when they start to come crashing down.
Yesterday was a bit rubbish. I came home from work tired and full of complaints. I didn’t have the energy to put on silly voices for stories and I didn’t have patient, well thought-out answers to their questions.
Last night, as they all lay peacefully asleep and tears pricked my eyes, I realised that, actually, today I wasn’t enough. Today they needed more and today I couldn’t give them more.
And so came those gut-wrenching feelings of guilt, of self-comparison, of ‘Sally next door never shouts,’ the sinking realisation that another day had passed in a cacophony of frustration and overwhelm and that tomorrow they will be a little bit older and a little bit closer to not wanting me to do the silly voices.
This parenting gig is bloody tough. The lack of sleep combined with the expectation that we must continue to function as normal and be cheery and energetic in doing so, it can all get a bit much. My only hope is that my children will look back on these years with fondness. With a happy blurring out of the days when tempers got frayed. With the understanding that on the many days Mummy wasn’t enough, Mummy never stopped trying.