As a mother I feel I should be impenetrable. I should be strong as a rock. I should take anything my children throw at me and handle it without a flinch, because I am a mother.
But I’m not a rock. I’m not impenetrable. I flinch.
Sometimes I flinch more than I do at other times.
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by life right now. I have enough work to do to work solidly for 27 hours a day. I start as soon as I wake, be that midnight or 5AM. Today it was 3AM. I stop when I physically cannot go on anymore. I usually work on my phone in bed before I finally pass out.
As well as my work I have children to raise, animals to care for, a house to clean, food to cook, and relationships to maintain. I look around my house, that I know is a big joke to most on account of the sheer levels of chaos, and I know I need to sort it. I need to do more to keep it nice. Instead I do the bare minimum, and sometimes not even that because compared to my work and my children it just sinks on my priority list.
The problem is the result is that because nothing gets as much attention as it deserves, my children, my work, my diet (which is mainly cup-a-noodles and the occasional bag of mini eggs), all end up neglected and everything piles up in my mind until it’s a swirling ball of chaos with every voice shouting at me that I’m not doing enough, that nothing is good enough.
And I’m overwhelmed.
When I’m overwhelmed I feel constantly on the brink of mental turmoil and my ability to handle what my children sometimes throw at me drops.
This morning I was trying to edit an article, promote a newspaper piece we appeared in, engage in social media promotion, breast feed my baby, look after my daughter, and drink a coffee. When my big girl decided to suddenly launch at me for a hug that involved standing over the top of me on the sofa and wrapping her arms around my throat.
My sense of personal space being intruded upon is one of the first things to go when I start to crack. I need physical distance. I feel oppressed when people crowd in on me. I feel frightened when people move suddenly. I panic when I am grabbed. My daughter only wanted to love me, she only wanted to hug me, but the force of the grab around the neck, the looming presence that appeared over the top of me, the pressure down. It was too much and I snapped.
“GET OFF ME!” I screeched at her, flapping my arms to get her away from me.
She broke her heart. She had only wanted to love me. To hold me.
I forced myself to calm down then pulled her in for a cuddle. I apologised and explained that I need a bit of space sometimes. She apologised too and we had a hug.
I hated myself for reacting to her like that. It’s not her fault I carry scars that make bodily contact occasionally traumatic. It’s not her fault that breastfeeding my baby takes that last bit of coping with human contact ability I have. It’s not her fault I struggle to handle pressure. It’s not her fault I’m so busy. None of it is her fault.
But, equally so, she needs to learn that people are human and carry bruises around with them that you can’t see. Bruises that, even with good intentions and seemingly innocuous behaviour, can be prodded causing pain. She needs to learn that anyone has the right to reject physical intimacy, and doing so doesn’t mean they don’t love you. She needs to learn that people have their own needs. And that includes Mummy.
I wish I was a rock. I wish they could count on me to handle everything they throw at me with calm strength, to teach them lessons about respecting people’s needs without cracking. But I’m not. I’m only human and human’s are not perfect. Humans are damaged.
I’m doing my best but I’m only human. And sometimes I crack.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!