Some days find me crying over parenting, for a variety of reasons, and it made me think, through the tears of course, how it really is OK to cry.
I vividly remember a time when my eldest was 6 weeks old and I was desperately trying to hold it together. I was running on empty from the traumatic birth and cumulative sleep deprivation building up over those 6 weeks. All of this coupled with the fact that my baby wasn’t doing what the books said, he didn’t have a short nap, then a long nap, then another short nap. He didn’t nap more than 30 minutes at a time and even then it was a case that he needed the dummy, the breast or to be on the go to sleep. This wasn’t what I expected parenting to be like. I kept going. And going. 6 weeks of smiling, of keeping going. Of battling to do what the books said to do.
Then I broke.
One cold, dark, December night. Pushing the pram round Clapham Common, desperately whispering under my breath, praying that his eyes would close and he would sleep. Shooting daggers at all the cars whizzing past, being noisy, keeping him awake. Round and round. Circling. Before I knew it I was crying, sobbing, tears slipping down my cheeks as we walked round and round. Calling my husband on his way home from work, those halting sobs sounding down the phone as I headed towards the bright lights of Sainsburys. Choking out the questions as I looked at the roast in the tin options for tea that night, “why won’t he do as the book says, he should be napping and he’s not, why won’t he nap”
That was the first time I really cried.
I mean, really, really cried.
I didn’t do the tears when he was born, I was just grateful he made it out alive. The days of paternity leave were a blur and then my husband was on reduced hours for jury duty. At 6 weeks he had gone back to real work, with real working hours and left me alone to fend for this tiny, little human who we had created. And we weren’t doing as the books said (screw the books) and he hated to sleep.
So I cried.
That evening, walking round the park, not caring who could see me, was the first time I really cried since having him. And you know what? It’s OK to cry. Which is good because it certainly isn’t the last time I’ve cried.
Some days I cry from frustration. Some days I cry because I am so happy and those happy tears squeeze out. Some days I cry because I am overwhelmed. Some days I cry because I can’t do anything to make it better.
I cry when they are sick and there is nothing I can do to make them better.
I cry when they are tantrumming and I am at the end of my tether.
I cry when they are fighting.
I cry when they are being loving towards one another (it is just too cute)
I cry when I am sick.
I cry when I am tired.
I cry when they won’t sleep.
I cry when I battle with them over eating yet again.
I cry when I have watched too much Peppa.
I cry when they shout at me, stamp their feet and don’t want me.
I cry on the school run because it’s been a battle to get there.
I cry having to wake up my littlest to collect my biggest.
I cry when I feel helpless.
I cry when I’m happy.
I cry because they are crying.
And you know what, it’s OK to cry. You are not alone.