Most days I try to be as upbeat as I can about everything. If something goes wrong, or doesn’t go to plan, I mutter for fucks sake to myself. (Or out loud). Then I laugh it off. I pull myself back together again. And then finally, I file it in the ever-growing ‘experience’ file. But every now and then I fall apart. And single parenting gets to me. All the struggles, demands, pressure and to-do lists pile on top of me until I feel like I can’t breathe.
A ‘then I fall apart’ day
Today is one of those days. The days where every little thing piles up and suddenly seems insurmountable. And the thing I hate about these kind of days, is that I never know when they’re coming. They just sneak up and sit on my chest, and refuse to move.
For weeks now, I’ve had a pile of stuff on my dining room table that I need to sort out and find homes for. It hasn’t really bothered me up until today. Now, just looking at it is making me feel anxious, stressed, annoyed and like I want to run away.
I still haven’t put my Christmas tree away. Which is causing even more stress, because the kitten keeps climbing in it to escape the puppy. The puppy tries to drag it across the floor, whilst the kitten is playing with every ornament that moves. And I’m constantly on edge that the TV is going to get knocked off its unit and smash. But I’m so overwhelmed with everything else, that I can’t bear to start putting it away.
I know that once I’ve boxed everything up, I then have to get it all back in the loft. Which is then another job to do. And after that, I’ll have to have a bloody good clean. Because God knows how much dust I’m going to find. And I don’t even want to think about how much glitter is going to go everywhere.
The things that get on top of me*
*Unfortunately, it’s not king of the Dad bods David Harbour.
The never ending laundry 🧺
Then there’s all the washing. Despite having the machine on at least 3 times a day, I don’t seem to be actually nearing the bottom of the laundry basket. It would be great if everyone could stop wearing clothes and using towels for a couple of days. Just so I could get the feeling of satisfaction of seeing the bottom of the basket.
Honestly, at this point, I just want to bag it all up and chuck it out. But I can’t. Because our bins are only collected fortnightly and I can’t be bothered to go to the tip. And it’s all mostly my stuff left in there.
I fall apart when I’m Tired
I don’t know if I’m so wiped out because there is so much to do, or whether I’m just wiped out. I don’t think I’ve had more than 5 minutes to myself for months. And I literally mean 5 minutes.
There’s never enough time for a long and decent sleep in my day. And everything feels worse when I’m completely wiped.
Sometimes I wish that my children had those Dads that have their children at weekends. Not so I could go out and do anything fun. Just so I could spend 2 days completely blitzing the house, catching up on all the crap. And have a solid 7 hours sleep. Actually all in one go.
Not every weekend mind you, I’d miss them too much, and then fall apart in a different way. But once in a while would be good. Then we’d have more time for fun stuff.
I hate guilt, it’s the most unwelcome guest of the lot. But it follows me everywhere! If I ignore the kids to clean the kitchen, I feel it. Say, I ignore the kitchen to play with the kids, I feel it. If we go out for the day to escape the housework I feel guilty that we’re coming home to a shit tip. If we stay home so I can clean the shit tip, I feel guilty that we aren’t out having fun. So much guilt. And then I fall apart from the pressure of the guilt. Aaaarrrgghhh!! There’s no escaping it!
My personal parenting hero Hurrah for Gin has a post dedicated to the Guilt Fairy. It perfectly encapsulates the guilt that starts during pregnancy and ends… never.
If you have similar feelings to me, I highly recommend you check Katie’s blog out. It will make you feel less like crying.
No back up
On the days when I could just fall apart, having no back up is a pisser.
(If any of my family are reading this, I’m not getting at you.)
Sometimes I get annoyed that I’ve been left to parent these children all by myself. I never know if I’m making a good decision. I can never just speak to the other parent about something that worries me about OUR children. And I never get any kind of support from the other parent. Nor do the children actually. It’s a massive responsibility being the only one trying to steer wild children down the right path. And quite frankly it’s exhausting.
Even though 2 of them are big enough to pretty much do as they please, I still worry when they’re out. I don’t sleep until they’re back. And then I’m up again at the crack of dawn with the smaller 2.
Coffee : always there when I fall apart
If it weren’t for my long term relationship with coffee, I would fall apart a lot more often. Coffee is literally the answer to everything in my house. As long as there is coffee, I can just about cope with anything.
Except running out of coffee.
And thanks to my lovely Brother and (almost) sister in law, I have a machine that even Ruby can operate. So sometimes I don’t even have to get up for a refill. This is very useful for the times I’ve managed to sit down for longer than 84 seconds and have started falling asleep.
All the feelings
I don’t really know how to describe the feeling I get just before I fall apart, because it’s a lot of feelings in one.
There’s the feeling of doom. And doom comes hand in hand with anxiety over absolutely everything. But even anxiety isn’t alone. For each thing I get anxious about, it has a stress attached to it. And the more stressed I get the more I want to avoid stuff. But the more stuff I avoid, the worse the doom, anxiety and stress gets and time starts running out to actually do anything. And before I know it, it’s bedtime again and I’ve achieved; Nothing. Zilch. Zero.
Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I have managed to make it through the day.
I guess you could say I am overwhelmed, but it doesn’t feel like a strong enough word to explain the emotional mess I get myself in sometimes.
So even though every now and then I fall apart, I know that the day will end. I know that I will pick myself up. And I know I will feel a bit better tomorrow.