I didn’t see it coming. Just like the last time. And the time before that. On the outside I seemed ok. To everybody else, I seemed in control. Life was manageable and easy.
I was completely unaware of the crash I was about to encounter.
I honestly never felt overwhelmed adding another child to our family and for the most part, the transition to three has been pretty gentle. I feel my capacity has grown with each child and when Hunter arrived 6 months ago, I was just so ready for her that I became instinctively and instantly wrapped up in this little cocoon of love and endorphins. We were invincible to exhaustion and low days. Life was crazy but somehow I got by with a certain ease you wouldn’t normally expect from a mom with a newborn and two busy older brothers.
Pic credit – Angela Rea
I would even go as far as saying that I coped better than I thought. Better than I did when our family grew from one to two kids anyway. I just got on with it and embraced it all. I was pleased to discover that we were not only surviving but actually thriving at life. And it felt good.
But about a three weeks ago I began feeling anxious again. Not hugely so, but enough to recognise these feelings as one of strain and exhaustion. Like an unwanted guest, making its home on my shoulders, telling me I was losing control. telling me I was going to start failing at life, little by little.
For someone who likes having control this can be a scary feeling. The first episode was over something as silly as getting Noah’s things ready for Grade 1. I couldn’t find the booklet with all the important information in it and in a matter of minutes my breathing became faster and faster. Brendon came into the room and found me bent over the couch, unable to breath properly. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t get my breath and eventually when I did, I just cried.
In that moment I realised how tired I was, How overwhelmed life with 3 kids can be for me. Not everyday. Not when I have everything under control. Not when I know what’s expected of me or what to do in a situation. But when I lose all sense of control and order, I panic. I sink.
And lately with the start of Grade 1 and Hunter becoming more active and just the general busyness of life, I feel like I’ve been hit with a huge case of overwhelm. Like the inevitable finally hit and Iv’e come crashing down off the initial high. I’ve gone from a confident, “I can do anything and fit it all in mom”, to an overwhelmed one drowning in to do lists and not able to get through the most mundane task.
Being tired doesn’t help and I know I need to have my iron checked (I suffer form anaemia and had an iron transfusion before giving birth to Hunter) because how you feel health wise can have a huge effect on your emotional state, but I feel like I’m losing the joy in parenting. I feel like all the tasks and chores and things I need to do to just survive are taking away from my ability to enjoy my kids. Do you know what I mean? Like everyday is just the same and we are on this hamster wheel of organised chaos. Even when the boys are at school I barely have moment to myself in between feeding Hunter and rocking her back to sleep (more about her day time sleep regression coming soon!) and before I know it, it’s time to fetch the boys and by midday I’m so tired I feel like I could sleep for an entire year.
And let’s not forget this happened last Friday on our epic date night…..
I love my kids so much and my biggest intention in life is to enjoy these years, but I would be lying if I said that curling up on bed is a lot more appealing than playing lego and reading books. I want to be that mom that enjoys playing and engaging with them but I just feel like through all the admin, I’m missing out on really enjoying them. I have zero energy left in the afternoons to do all the things I say I’m going to do. I think to myself how nice it would be to go to Kirstenbosch, and then every afternoon but by 3 o-clock I’m convincing my kids to just go play outside so I can zone out into space for five minutes and not have to get back in the car again. I’ve become so listless at the thought of anything that requires too much effort and so these activities are quickly banished from the option table.
I’ve also become short with them and instead of intentionally trying to explain things or talk to them about something, I switch off. I just can’t seem to bring myself to their level at the moment. And then of course I feel guilty when I see their beautiful innocent faces sleeping in bed at night. OH GOD THE GUILT!!
Does it help that my 6 month old literally won’t let me put her down and scream blue murder every time she can’t see me? As precious as it is that she wants me all the time, I’m losing myself in this motherhood business and need time away from it all.
Do you ever feel like this? That there is this brick wall between you and your kids because everything just feels too much and you can’t cope with the admin of life?
Anyone have a house in the woods or by the seaside? Gosh is it really only THREE weeks into year?