Summer Lovin’ Had Me…Irritated, In Love, and Guilty.

It’s 9am and the heat is already sticky and heavy. I’ve drawn the curtains to keep the sun out but I can hear the buzz of the heat bugs through the windows, which are open in an attempt to get a breeze. One thing the East Coast has going for it is there’s almost always a breeze which is more than I can say for the stifling still heat of Ontario.

We’re mere days over the halfway mark of summer. July was filled with weekends camping in our trailer and weekday afternoons in the pool. We’ve had weekly trips to the air conditioned library, a few crafting activities, and twice a week the kids go to Forest Kids daycare for a few hours. The novelty of summer holidays earlier last month was liberating and exciting.

I think there’s a perception that stay at home parents have THE BEST summers EVER: sleeping in, relaxing all day, fun trips to the library, reading under the trees while the children play independently on the other side of house. Later, of course, the parent will chase the children through the sprinkler as they all laugh and have pretty much just the best time ever.

There are glimpses of that. Last week, The Little slept in until 8 one morning which has quite literally never happened before and I was thrilled. I sometimes don’t get dressed til mid morning and I do spend a lot of time reading. If you just peeked in through the windows and couldn’t hear our conversations (which would be SUPER CREEPY and I would call the police as soon as I saw you so please don’t do that, but just go with this for a sec to get my point, okay?) you would think that all of the aforementioned “benefits” of staying home with your kids in the summer were right on point. What you wouldn’t see, however, is that I haven’t got dressed yet because today, like many other days, is stretching out before me with no where to go and nothing to do and no one to see, so I don’t see a reason to get dressed until I feel so gross that I feel I must. And all that reading? That’s because I’m escaping into another world so I don’t have to listen to the stupid YouTube show in the background and because I have very little adult interaction during the day so there isn’t anything else to stimulate my brain. And that picture of me relaxing in the shade while the kids played independently? That lasted almost exactly 45 seconds before someone started crying or whining to such a degree that I lost my shit and made him cry which made me feel like a terrible and awful monster.

So yes, that liberation and excitement at the start of the summer has suddenly turned to repetition and boredom. All I want to do is sit in the shade drinking lemon water and reading beach novels. I could literally do this all day every day. All the kids want to do is essentially ask for a minute by minute play by play of where I’m going, what I’m doing and why, and what I’ll be dong next. It doesn’t matter if I’m taking out the compost, reading a book, cooking breakfast, or having a poo. I can’t make a move without being interrupted. Just now, I made myself a plate of breakfast: three eggs, scrambled with just a touch of cream, a pinch of salt, loads of black pepper and even more Rudi’s Sweet Cherry Hot Sauce. I filled my water jug with water and sat down at the computer to write. I hadn’t even opened the lid of the laptop before The Big came in, already tired from what he had been doing outside. He spied my breakfast and asked, “Can I have some?” He didn’t want a bite, he wanted his own. And given that his breakfast had so far consisted of a bowl of dried Cheerios and Corn Pops while he watched YouTube, I couldn’t very well tell him no. So I stood back up and handed it over, heading back to the stove to get everything back out and start again.

Earlier, The Little was happy as a clam playing with a beading kit I gave him for the first time this morning. I was so smug about the benefits of this activity and how great it was he was being independent that I even posted a picture of it to Instagram. Then the Murphy’s Law of Parenting came in and all the beads fell off the string and he then refused to do anymore beading even after I fixed it so now the kit is sitting on the counter in the kitchen and I’m left feeling that another Dollarama purchase has gone to waste.

I love my kids. I love them HARD. They are both ridiculously smart and funny and filled with empathy and compassion. They love learning new things and doing new things and I am now and will forever be so very grateful to be their mother. I think they are absolutely incredible human beings and I am so excited to see how they will continue to grow and develop.

But also sometimes they annoy the shit out of me.  We’re not supposed to say that, I don’t think, but I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about her children. (And I can say that, because they’re mine, and you can say that about yours, but let’s just agree right now not to call each other’s kids annoying, okay?). The constant tidying up of things, the explaining everything I do and why, the defending my choices of when and how I do daily activities, the repeating my instructions, the inability to finish even ONE task without stopping a zillion times, the impossibility of having one conversation with another adult without having to stop and re-start that conversation so many times that by the time you actually get your thought out it seems pointless and unimportant. I get so irritated. I want to hide in my closet and wear ear plugs and tune everything out. I want to cry and scream. And sometimes I do.

 

This is the look of a Mama who is DONE.

Then all it takes is for one of the kids to do something sweet and adorable. To bring me a snack of stale crackers with cream cheese and a spoon and torn up zucchini and peas from the garden that they picked themselves and all this because they knew how frustrated I was with the stupid trailer hitch. Or to give me a huge bear hug because they can sense, with their ever-developing empathy and intuition, that I’m uptight and not myself. Or to stare at me with nothing but pure adoration and say, without prompting, “Oh I LOVE you, Mommy”. And then all that irritation melts away instantly and is replaced with love stronger than I’ve ever felt or known to be possible. And right on the coattails of that love is guilt. SO MUCH GUILT for how irritated I was earlier. They’re only kids, right? We can only expect so much of them, right? I have such incredible children, right?

Moments later and after a kid-made snack, the love is big and the guilt is bigger.

This cycle: irritation, love, guilt. It plays over and over, sometimes in unpredictable circumstances and in reversed or scrambled order. Daily, hourly, sometimes moment by moment, this cycle continues. Irritation, love, guilt, Love, guilt, irritation. Guilt, irritation, love. Over and over like a ride you can never get off. Like a ride, that despite the intense emotions and exhaustion, you would never want to get off.

I don’t know what to do with this. I guess I’m writing this to tell you if you’re on this ride that I’m on there with you. And, also, I guess, to look for a little validity that you’re on it with me, too, right? I’m not alone here, going around and around, am I?

I managed to eat my eggs, by the way. And bonus point because they were still hot. It’s the little things. Thank you to Nanny Netflix for that moment of sanity.

Stay cool today, if you can, and enjoy the little moments when you can catch your breath.

In and out.
In and out.
We’ve got this.

Take care,
Mel

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