A while back I read a wonderful piece that asked “Did I love you enough today?” it truly resonated with me at the time. Then I filed it away, got on with life and continued in my parenting journey with a difference. Each night I thought to myself, did I love them enough today. Did they feel truly loved every day?
And therein came the niggle.
I loved them enough every single day. I couldn’t love them more if I tried. These little humans of mine fill my heart with joy every single day. No matter what they do my love for them is unconditional. And they know it, they test the theory regularly by pushing my buttons. What isn’t unconditional appears to be my sanity, my patience, and my tolerance levels.
So surely the question isn’t did I love you enough today, but did I give you the best of me? At the moment the answer seems to be no. They’re getting me, all of me, but not me on my A game. Not me at 100%.
And right now, I can say that my eldest is drawing the short straw in all of this. He isn’t getting the best of me, much like I’m not getting the best of him.
My little man is my carbon copy in many respects, he is cautious, he is a watcher, he is a grump when things don’t go his own way. He is using up all of his reserves in school, a place where he needs to squash down some of his natural inclinations to run round like a loon, where he needs to sit, listen, where he needs to follow instructions. A place that taxes him mentally each day. So that when he comes home he acts up. I am his safe haven. I am the place he can push against, let those feelings out and know that he is still safe.
The problem is at the moment I am at an all time low. I haven’t slept in nearly 2 years and I am recovering from a nasty bout of tonsillitis, which I’ve managed to pass onto my husband. It’s sick day central at our house.
Right now, he is coming home from school to an energy lacking mum, a mum who used up the last of her reserves taking his little brother to the park so she has nothing left for him. He’s coming home and we’re crashing on the couch watching Disney movies while his brother naps, except I’m so exhausted at any chance to sit down and snuggle my eyes are falling shut and he is having to poke me awake at the scary bits so he can hide.
His brother wakes up and then chaos ensues, there is hair pulling, wrestling and general THAT WAS MINE shouts going on. Noises that are washing over me. Shouts that I am blaming my eldest for even though it is probably the littlest who is the aggressor.
The tantrums, the eyes glazed, the shouting from everyone.
The chaos of an exhausted house, because we are all exhausted.
At the moment I don’t think he is getting the best of me. The best of me seems to be used up fairly quickly in the morning when my energy levels are at an all time high for the day. My four year old is getting all that I am able to give him, whilst that may not be my best it is everything I have.
But the thing is, although he may not always get the best of me. He may not have the mum who’s swinging from the rooftops. I may just want to curl up and have a nap after his brother has been up 17-billion times the night before. There are times I WILL shout sometimes it is deserved, sometimes it isn’t. At the end of each night he tells me he loves me. That I am the best mummy.
The words tripping from his innocent 4 year old mouth that make me stop and smile. Those words that make me realise that beating myself up and feeling guilty isn’t going to make me feel better, it isn’t going to change the day we’ve had. That some days good enough is more than enough.
And it’s those words that make me say to myself every night, tomorrow will be even better. And for the most part it is.
But more importantly, it is my innocent four year old reminding me how much he loves me, that has helped me let go of the parenting guilt of only being “good enough” not perfect.