Stop the ride, I want to get off…


"Now Doctor, is it possible for my children to get this kind of quality sleep?"

SUSPENDED animation – that was exactly what was needed. But sadly, I don’t have the technological know-how for such devices (though they’d make a killing if they marketed to parents).

Normally, I cry out for capsules housing my frozen offspring when I want to go away for a weekend, or when I want a full night’s sleep. But lately (and here’s the reason this column has taken so long), I’ve craved the time out just to collect myself.

Loathe as I am to complain, I do love being a mum, but lately it’s challenged me to my very core. And I’m not sure I’ve measured up well in the face of it all.

Between an insomniac son who never goes more than a month without coming down with tonsilitus and fever (vomiting optional), a daughter who has lost the ability to sleep along through the night (most likely caused by my refusal to let her have a little cry without intervention, lest she wake her light-sleeping brother), neck, back and shoulder pain, plus the children’s latest development – the chickenpox… gasp… it’s no wonder I was feeling a little “over it”.

I had not just been tired. I had completely lost my sense of self, my sense of reason. Perpetually on the verge of tears, my temper flared intermittently at the stupidest of things. Nothing felt right and even less felt good.

The worst part of all of this was how I treated my children. Put down the phone people, Welfare doesn’t need to be brought into it. I did everything I normally do re: feeds, entertainment, naptimes (it seems so simple on paper, doesn’t it?), but I did it with the kind of attitude I’d abhor coming from them.

And of course, when you’re struggling under the weight of your load, that’s when the kids get difficult.

Once, I had loaded said sore shoulders with a nappy bag the size of a military rescue drop (designed to serve the same purpose, I suppose. In the event of natural disasters that occur beyond the reach of a parent’s room) and was heading to the car when my son decided to stop in front of me to examine the latest slug making its wet way across our pavement.

Unable to see my feet or who might be crouched there, I came dangerously close to dropping my load – including the baby – and crushing my son underfoot. I gave a low, gutteral growl to get in the car.

And he growled back…

You know you’ve lost the plot when you get into a verbal stoush with a two-year old.

I was able to laugh but it didn’t escape my attention what he was mimicking. (Childless people: enjoy your disregard or ignorance of your own fallibilities while it lasts).

Sure, things sucked. But my son didn’t understand my fatigue or the back I’d just twisted to stop myself from toppling, and my daughter didn’t understand the demands of my day either. All they were privy to was the foul mood I was dishing up, something they had done nothing to deserve.

A blood test and a few multi-vitamins later I’m feeling much better. Of course, now we’ve all been struck down (myself included) with sore throats, medecine that must be force-fed to screaming, feverish children and still the onslaught of sleepless nights… but at least I’ve stepped back from that precipice where my emotions almost forced an insane leap into oblivion.

It’s nice to be feeling myself again – replete with parenting neuroses and column fervour. But, while the vitamins are good, if anyone has a suspended animation device, my number is…….

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hpretty
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:42:26

    i so symphathise with everything you’ve said. i had a difficult time of it a few months ago, found myself behaving like the child most of the time (in fact, i wouldn’t let my children behave like that), so i spent every night in self loathing. doesn’t help that we set ourselves too high expectations that we can rarely meet. So pleased u are feeling more yourself. just remember, we all behave like this at times. (in my case, far too often) just not all of us admit it. u know my blogs about saying it how it is and being honest. thanks for a great article. u write so well.


  2. Itsamummyslife
    May 08, 2010 @ 19:54:00

    God if you find the suspended animation device. do share. please? With a 2 year old and a baby I frequently finding myself asking why on earth did I think it’d be a good idea. But it was and it is. Having kids is bloody exhausting, and at times downright suicidal, but we all know the highs outweigh the lows and for the times we want to collapse in a ball on the street and hop off the world, we know we’ll have a time when we just burst with happiness and love for our kids.

    Glad you’re feeling better with the vits. Keep up the good work and in case you ever feel like you’re on your own, just head over to me and you’ll see you most certainly aren’t !


    • petajo
      May 09, 2010 @ 23:01:12

      Thank you – that’s very kind. It’s always good to know I’m not the only one going quietly crazy every so often!


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