The mouse who roared… at her husband

IT was the third time I’d tried to finish my story when another scream came from the play room (the play date consisted of three mums and six kids – plenty of screaming).

I got up to intervene and by the time I came back the conversation had moved on to glazed donuts. Such is life as a mum. Lots of half-finished conversations, half-eaten meals and emotions left unresolved.

It wasn’t that what I had to say was important. But since I’d struggled three times to finish it, I thought perhaps it was just a little important. To me.

The story? Oh yes, some mild implication that I was a neglectful parent when I was of the apparently mistaken belief that I was an overly protective one.

I love having a girly catch up with my mum-friends (and my un-mum friends* but conversations with them sometimes require more witticisms than I’m predisposed to on most days) but the perils are two-fold: you may not get to talk and you may not get to hear it all.

Driving home, I got just an eency bit teary (have I mentioned I haven’t been sleeping? Yes? Yes, of course I have.) because I wanted that one story to be heard by someone else. To have another woman hear the crux of it and know exactly how I felt.

Instead, I came home and got on with my day.

Enter Husband, pale, with some sort of tummy bug. After a quick cuddle, he went off to bed. I sat down and got to work (I work from home). But the day descended into a rollercoaster of bum changes, getting drinks and snacks out of fridge, breaking up fights, nursing bruised shins and egos, taking toddler to toilet, taking calls for our couch that’s for sale… It’s a typical day, really, but I’m so tired. And a little overwhelmed.

And the sight of our bedroom door, shut, with my husband convalescing behind it wriggles its way under my skin.

I wonder if he can hear the countless things I’m doing when I’m meant to be working, whether he’s listening and thinking “I don’t know how she does it”. But I know he’s got his own problems right now.

So I get on with my day.

When he comes out for a chat, I’m amicable but Still Very Busy. It’s only when he informs the kids – screaming for his attention outside – that he can’t oblige them as he’s not well, that I clench my teeth.

Okay, he IS sick and he does entertain them as as best as he can, bless him. But it doesn’t stop the madness. It doesn’t stop them clambering onto my lap, or screaming nonsense as they thump-thump-thump through the house. It isn’t enough. And I start to blame him. Why can’t he keep them away from me? Just long enough to get my shit done, to get my head straight?

The day drags out with over-tired babies, sick husband taking over dinner as my work banks up, arguments over electricity bills and leaving the kids alone in the tub. And ringing in my ears is the untold story of Me The Mum: The Neglectful One.

It’s too much for one night. And though my Husband understands I resent that he gets to “just be sick”, he doesn’t know everything else that’s going on in my head, in my heart. And I know he’d ease my burden if I could only share it with him without pointing accusatory fingers.

And I’m just so tired, all I have are tears and blame. If he doesn’t wear it, then I will have to, and I simply can’t. Not tonight.

I’m trying to think of a positive note to end on here. Of the Small Potato that told me today not to give up on dreams, or my son offering to be my best friend. But before me stretches another night of restless babies, scared little boys and me, floating like an apparition in a blue dressing gown, tending to them and hoping tomorrow I get to tell someone how “neglectful” I am.

(* Un-mums as opposed to non-mums haven’t made the decision NOT to have kids, they just having got round to that chapter yet.)


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen
    May 28, 2011 @ 05:20:28

    Oh Peta *sigh*
    I could have written that post word-for-word – what a familiar scenario!
    The worst is when the anger and resentment bottles up; I’m doing my best not to show it but it can’t be helped. It spills over into my body language and I find myself slamming cupboards and banging plates. Eventually my short replies turn into outright snarls. I can’t ever keep it in. Oops.
    The worst part is that my lovely husband is just always so damn lovely. I can stomp around as much as I like while he’s sick but as soon as the tables are turned, he’s pouring with sympathy. In turn I feel even guiltier than I felt before when I was Mrs Bitch.

    Before I end this comment sounding like a right cow of a wife (probably too late!) I would hazard a guess that the way you feel, the way I also feel – is incredibly common. You are not Neglectful Mother. You are Normal, Grounded, Wonderful Mother.


    • petajo
      May 29, 2011 @ 03:22:10

      Thanks Ellen – I can’t picture you grumpy, but then I think people must think that about me too… xx


  2. Melissa
    May 28, 2011 @ 09:38:12

    It sounds like a horror day, and I hear you. And as trite as it sounds, it does seem like you (as we all do) need some alone time. or girl time. Not that we ever manage that either, I guess.

    I hope that your husband is on the mend soon and can repay your wonderful care with a little spoiling for you.


  3. marketingtomilk
    May 28, 2011 @ 19:28:13

    I understand this post. This beautifully written post.



  4. bigwords
    May 30, 2011 @ 03:35:54

    Oh honey, I am so there with you, I understand every word of it. I agree, you need a rest. Time you book yourself a night away to clear your head xx


  5. Peta
    Jun 16, 2011 @ 03:52:28

    Thanks – I think sometimes just knowing others go through the same crap helps immensely!


  6. Mum on the Run
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 09:22:50

    The truth soothes!
    Without any family in the same country as me and with Hubby often away for work I am partial to the odd ‘poor bloody me, when do I get my sick day? my RDO?’ moment.
    You’re doing a great juggling job.


    • petajo
      Jun 21, 2011 @ 23:59:39

      And that’s why we blog! So fellow mums can empathise and make us feel less horrible! Thanks… Though I can only imagine it must be incredibly hard in separate country to your fam!


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