My cup overflowed the other day.
My ‘Mum Mental Load’ was so full on that I ended up crying myself to sleep.
Let’s rewind two weeks.
Mr L got tonsillitis. Mr S got croup and then an ear infection. Hubby got man flu. I got a bit of man flu too. It’s week 11 of a very long first term. Daylight savings ended which meant quite a few 4:30am wake ups.
We had a big party here on Good Friday for my beautiful mum’s 60th birthday. I’m not saying this was a bad thing. Quite the opposite. It was a fantastic day! But a little stressful nonetheless.
Hmmmm… what else…. Dramas at school, gym sessions, swimming lessons x 4, soccer training, footy training, piano lessons, dance group, band practice. And school, preschool and work. And cleaning. And a bit of sleep somewhere in there!
So add all that up and that was my Thursday. I had to leave work early to take Mr S to the doc. It was hot when we picked the boys up from school so I told them I’d make them an ice cream cone.
Only to find that one of the boys had taken the ice cream that morning and hidden it under his pillow, not realising that it must stay in the freezer…
Well that was the straw that broke this proverbial camel’s back.
I. Lost. My. Shit.
I gave the other boys an ice block. Which meant there were none left. And the guilty party missed out.
So he wanted a piece of chocolate instead. I said no. Which was the straw that broke his seven year old camel’s back.
He screamed and cried and screamed and cried and screamed and cried. For forty five minutes straight. He was beyond it. So far tipped over the emotional edge there was no coming out. He didn’t know how to.
I went from being insanely angry to trying to give him a cuddle to trying to talk him out of it to ignoring him. I tried every parenting trick in my book.
And then I thought, “pick your battles Katey. Give him the fucking chocolate.”
I am usually one to stick to my guns no matter what. But sometimes you can bend the rules and give in depending on the situation.
This situation was so volatile, I was exhausted, the poor kid was exhausted. It’s just one piece of chocolate.
It doesn’t mean I’m a weak parent. It doesn’t mean he is a brat. It doesn’t mean I don’t follow through.
It means that I managed to see though it all and do what I thought would be the best decision in that particular moment.
Midway through the epic meltdown I texted a friend for help. Best thing I did. She called and gave advice and asked the question that always makes me cry: “How are YOU?”
We get so caught up in looking after everyone else and making sure all their needs are met, that I realised, who is looking after me?
My friend was so lovely and caring that I cried yet again. (Sleep deprivation seems to turn the water works on!)
My poor boy eventually calmed down and we had a chat about what is going on with him. We hugged and made up and I helped him go to sleep.
I then proceeded to cry myself to sleep worried that I was fucking him up with my anger outbursts.
I also reached out to my new gym friends for a bit of support, which they gave in spades.
Moral of the story?
You can’t give anything if your cup is overflowing. Scale back your life so you can give what you must and still maintain your own sanity, happiness and love for others.