It’s been a rough couple of days here for this introvert.
I now understand why some species eat their own young.
The mornings have been super-charged with little kid energy. I’ve tried to steal moments to connect with friends on the phone, or to catch up on the barrage of work emails, but the antics of the little humans prevent me from being able to focus on much else.
Most days I’ve been able to accept this as my temporary new normal and just surrender to the fact that I need to adjust my expectations of everyone – myself, especially – during these times. Most days, I’ve managed to quell the negative stuff: the resentment, the irritation, the urge to literally push people away. I try to be in the moment with my family. I try to appreciate this bonus time together. And overall, I’ve been pretty successful.
Most days, I’m able to breathe through any feelings of irritability brought on by all the physical closeness and noise and perpetual stimulation.
The last couple days though…yikes.
Yesterday, when it became clear that my efforts to get anything done to my pre-pandemic standard was a laughable and ludicrous goal, I turned my full attention to my mini maniacs. They were feral. It became my singular focus to
wear them out give them an outlet for their seemingly boundless energy, one that didn’t put all nearby lamps and picture frames in jeopardy. To the backyard, Children! We ran and jumped and kicked soccer balls and played tag and pushed Tonka trucks from one end of the patio to the other.
I succeeded in fully exhausting myself, while the kids continued to vibrate with energy.
Despite my best efforts to remain positive and in the moment for my kids, my mood began to tank. I was oscillating between increasing degrees of resentment and exasperation. I tried to explain introversion to them; strangely they weren’t really interested.
By lunch, I was a tightly-coiled ball of negative energy, ready to strike at even the most minor of provocations.
This amount of together time is just a little over the top, no?
Am I the only one who wants to move into their car for a few days?
Around 2 o’clock, my husband emerged from his office and told me that he would be on kid duty for the next couple hours. I would have hugged him, but my Inner Productivity Junkie was like a bull preparing to charge. I was downstairs to my Mama Space in a matter of seconds.
While I know that everything I’m feeling with respect to wanting my family to just go away for awhile is normal and to be expected under these mind-boggling circumstances, I don’t feel normal. I feel guilt.
Guilt that I would rather read one of the many books on my bedside table instead of read another story to my kids.
Guilt that I miss the structure of our pre-pandemic life, as rushed as it sometimes felt.
Guilt that I am resenting my kids for needing so much from me, all day long.
Guilt that I need more than five minute to pass without hearing my name called.
Guilt that I am wishing time away.
Guilt that I want to be alone.
I’ve given myself a firm talking to and I’m feeling much better today. (It also helps that Husband has morphed into Saturday Morning SuperDad, freeing me to go wherever I want (within the house) and do whatever I need to do.
Reader, I know I am ridiculously fortunate. I knew that well before the pandemic forced everyone to take stock of their lives and count their blessings. I know that my tiny humans are beautiful and brilliant and silly and sweet and that being their mama is the biggest honour and most important job of my life.
I had a rough couple of days where I might have contemplated eating them, that’s all.
Here’s the point:
It’s ok to be frustrated and irritated with the people you love most in the world, especially when you’re quarantined with them and have no idea when ‘normal life’ will resume. It’s ok if you don’t want to spend every minute of your child’s 12-16 waking hours together. It’s ok if you need to plug them into a Paw Patrol marathon to buy yourself a stretch of time to do that thing you really need to do in order to feel like yourself again.
It doesn’t make you a bad parent.
It makes you human.
The world is in chaos. And not the lovely kind.
Show yourself some grace.