• The Knackered Truth

A Knackered Morning (Full of Tears)

me with my eldest son a few years ago

Today has been a really hard morning (it’s only noon). Seems everyone in my house had a hard time sleeping last night. Between the heat, nightmares, and stuffy noses, everyone moved slowly out the door.

My 2yo didn’t have his shoes (I could only find one…) so when I decided at the last minute to go for our favourite walk while we waited for his class (where he doesn’t need shoes), I ended up having to carry him. Sweating, I cut the walk short so we could make it back in time.

Once at class, he wouldn’t give up his blankie or his pacifier. The instructors gathered everyone on the mat. My tot didn’t want to sit. He wanted to try out the climbing structures. Every time I tried to grab him, he screamed. I noticed the other kids looked a bit older and were able to follow instructions. Cue inner-mum-dialogue of how awful I must be because I can’t get my kid to sit. Cue inner-mum-dialogue of how something must be wrong with my child because he won’t listen. Cue inner-mum-dialogue that everyone must be watching me and wondering ‘what is she even doing here?’

Ten minutes in, I snatched up my tumbling tot and left with him kicking and screaming. I felt it. The sting behind my eyes. A hard lump in my throat. My heart beat faster.

All I wanted was for someone to smile and tell me it was okay.

The man behind the front desk must have noticed my frazzled state because he bolted out of his seat as I approached the desk. I blurted, “Can I get my money back? He’s just too young for this.” How anyone could expect a 2yo to follow the instructions of “point to the colour pink with your elbow and then return to the mat” was out of touch! He wanted to climb and play, not sit and talk.

The schedule on the board caught my eye. I asked if perhaps I had signed up my boy for the wrong class. I had! He accidentally skipped a stage! I sighed with relief. It was my error and not a developmental obstacle for my boy. Whew! It was my mix up, not that of instructors who had unreasonable expectations for a toddler. Ha!

Even though it was sorted, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling like I had failed him in some way. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling as I put my boy down for a nap. I couldn’t hold back anymore. I allowed them to soak my face.

All I wanted was for someone to smile and tell me it was okay.

It was just a mix up.

But sometimes the pressure is too much.

This past weekend I saw Emily Writes’ play, “Rants in the Dark”, based on her book of the same name. Emily is a well-known writer and blogger down here in New Zealand. She writes unapologetically about the difficulties of motherhood and the shaming we parents endure. We are absolutely cruel to one another sometimes. Society loves to judge. “Breast is best” or “it’s not safe to co-sleep”, or “oh you really shouldn’t let them have screen time”, or “why aren’t you doing this for them because they need it”. Today, that play hit home.

Usually more confident in my parenting, this morning threw me. Mums are so hard on our own parenting as it is. No one had said anything mean today, but it doesn’t matter. The things that have been said in the past are painful and I’m not sure my heart will ever recover. Today, those judgments haunted me in my vulnerable state.

All I wanted was for someone to smile and tell me it was okay.

So for the rest of the day, I’m not going to care what others think. I’m not going to wonder if so-and-so thinks I’m a good mum or if she-and-him-and-Billy Bob are talking about me behind my back.

I’m going to focus on that inner mum strength that got me through the past six years of parenting. I’m going to remember that children have bad days, just like adults do. It’s allowed. Parenting is about understanding and accepting that moment-to-moment things change. If someone wants to judge that based on a glimpse into my life, then that is not my problem. As Emily Writes says, “we are just fucking doing it.”

Now, as I allow the tears to fall, I’m going to breathe and trust that it’s okay.







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