Tuesday, September 23, 2014

AFTER 6 YEARS



Life with young children is a big thing. It's fast and it's slow and it's boring. Lately, upon opening my eyes at the dawn of each new day, I've been met with exhaustion and a feeling of overwhelm. There is either nothing to do or too much to do all at once. No in-between.

It's the nature of being the sole parent during the daylight hours. It's the nature of being the primary disciplinarian day in, day out. It's the nature of being so deep down exhausted that your brain won't function.

The love I have for my children is so vast it's otherworldly. I literally ache for them and when I kiss their warm little foreheads at night, my breath is taken away and I get a pain in chest only remedied by long deep breath and a 'thank you Jesus'.

I'm grateful for them. They're the best thing I've ever made.

But truth be told, some days I don't parent them as well as I ought. Partly from lack of trying, partly from lack of ability. Mostly from sheer exhaustion.

I leave the TV on for too long, I snap responses as I unenthusiastically spread jam on wholemeal bread and I let my mind wander when they're telling me sweet stories.

It's been 6 years of stay at home parenting and I am fatigued with a capital F (off).

As a result we're making some changes here at The Beetle Shack to ensure that we spend our time well. To be certain that we're providing the best we possibly can for our kids.

Our days at home together are numbered. Zeph starts school next year and everything will change so we're dead set determined to make the most of the time we have.

More time together.

More time in the sun, less time in front of the telly. More home cooked meals, less take away. More ease, less stress.

More balance.


Spring is here, the sun is shining* and the whole world is ready to play.



I'm really interested to know, after how many years of solo stay at home parenting did you REALLY feel like you couldn't go on? Or is it just me?




 *totally got sunburnt while having a cafe coffee with a girlfriend yesterday. Yes, that's right I had a cafe coffee and delicious french toast. all time.  i know.


49 comments:

  1. You have a way with words that explain how I feel sometimes as a mum. I love my girls but gee some days can be hard and my mind can be absent. But I have more good days than bad. I love the new beginnings Spring brings. I'm going to do the same with my girls. Less screen time and more time out on the sun. X

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  2. As your kids get older, it just gets easier - well this has been my experience at least. I didn't relish those years when my two were really young and needy (I used to torture myself with guilt for feeling that way, but I've made peace with it now). One day you'll wake up and feel like you've turned a corner. Hang in there Emily, I promise the crazy days are numbered. YOU ARE A GREAT MUM!! xx

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    1. you, Michelle are a good woman. THANK YOU!!! How lucky I feel to have this little community to offer advice just like that. It WILL get easier (it already has in the past 6 months).

      I so look forward to seeking my kids out rather than trying to…ehum… escape them! ahahah

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  3. I'm so feeling the same right now, i've been doing it for four years and am pregnant again and so utterly tired lately i feel like the crankiest mum. I go through ruts where every day just feels the same and even though i am so thankful i feel so flat. My oldest starts school next year as well though and i have felt the same motivation lately to suck out every ounce of togetherness and carefree no schedule days before the school routine kicks in! You are a beautiful mumma xx was really great to meet you at Problogger this year. Bec x

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    1. Yes, that's totally my motivation too! To FINISH STRONG! ahahah

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  4. It is hard! My youngest is 3.5 and I feel I've started to emerge from the fog this year, but there's still days that I feel like this even with the 2 eldest in full time school. We're not super human :-) Another thing worth mentioning is iron levels, I felt so crap for over a year before getting my iron tested and it was terribly low. After a few infusions I felt so much better!

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    1. That's such worthwhile advice! I've started taking multivitamins and they have helped massively,even with my mood (thank the Lord!)

      xx

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  5. There's nothing wrong with wanting to have something for yourself outside the house & the kids. My SIL & BFF both feel they are better mums because they've always worked outside the home.
    For me this is longest I've been a SAHM. With my older two I was in some kind of casual or full time work pretty much 9 months after they were born. Now I've got the little two, who are just 12 months apart, & a husband whose gone four out of five weeks it makes no sense to go back to work. It's been 18 months since I've been home full time & so far I'm not over it yet. I do have days where I miss the mental stimulation a job brings but otherwise I'm ok with it.
    Sorry that probably doesn't help you at all does it?

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    1. I think it's excellent that we're all so different! And our experiences lead us to different conclusions. Thanks so much for your comment and TOTALLY keep on loving it!

      xx

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  6. 4.5 years. 3 kids under 5 and I'm done. I love my kids fiercely but am looking down the barrel of another 18 months as the main whip cracker. (And I'm a bit fed up of people telling me to enjoy this time as it passes so quickly. The same people hand my three back after 5 hours complaining of sheer exhaustion. I KNOW it is fleeting. But knowing I'm supposed to be enjoying every second, and ACTUALLY enjoying every second are so far removed from each other.)

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    1. that SO gets under my skin. I really resent that suggestion that one should enjoy every second of parenting young children. Most of the day is poo, sambos and tears. NO ONE would find that fun. Yes, stories and baths and bedtime are lovely but that takes an hour or two a day! ahahah

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  7. Bloody hell, this this this. I love my littlies so much I think my heart could burst, being a mum is the best thing in the known universe, and yet at the same time I'm pretty often like GAHHHHH SAME SHIT DIFFERENT DAY GAHHHHHHHH. So much wiping things and gritting of teeth. Then they do one cute thing and it's heart-meltorama and it's enough to sustain me for another day or ten. I don't know when it gets easier but I know it definitely helps to read deliciousness like this. Thanks Miss Em xx

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    1. ahhaha you're a classic m'lady! Same shit different day! amen to that!

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  8. Totally resonated with me. Next year I'll see my youngest off to school, which means 8.5 years of having at least one child under my wing at home. No doubt there'll be tears (me, not him, already know that) but a part of me is yearning for a fresh phase in life where after almost a decade, I can start defining some proper, uninterrupted, daytime work hours. It does get easier once school hits, hang in there! xx

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    1. I can start defining some proper, uninterrupted, daytime work hours. THIS!!!! Oh man, exactly this. I just want to start something and finish it…

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  9. I have 3 boys (6, 4 & 2) so the days can be long but the years go by so fast. I find we all go through ebbs and flows of having lots of energy and feeling like you have motherhood in the bag, then the next day it all seems too hard. (Those days are movie and chocolate days) Hope your home life changes go well, you have to do what works best for your family xx

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    1. Sounds like your kids are around the same ages as mine but perhaps 6 months older for each!

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  10. It's rewarding, it's exhausting, it's the best thing I've ever done and the hardest thing I've ever done. I completely hear where you're coming from. The earliest years are so hard! My boys are 5 & 7 now and that sheer exhaustion has lifted and we are rewarded with quirky personalities and lots of laughter (and attitude and bickering!!). It goes so fast. x

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    1. Yes, so much to look forward too! And they are just so wonderful at every stage but I suspect some are more monotonous than others!

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  11. Lots Emily and my husband worked shift work so there we're nights as well as days,it's a hard job ans it's normal to get over it sometimes and it doesn't end at a certain age,much love xx Lisa Mckenzie

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    1. Oh shift work!! you are a wonder woman! So much respect to women who solo parent both day and night.

      xx

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  12. Oh, I so hear you! And I feel such guilt when I'm told these years are so precious and 'easy' in comparison to wrangling teens. I don't always love every second. When you're down on your knees in the Coles fruit n veg section with a baby carrier on, scraping up spilt blueberries your threenager has dropped, it doesn't feel easy!
    We have three 5 years and under. Since my eldest has started school this term, he is such a happy, easy going and stimulated kid. He was so ready for school. As a consequence, things are easier at home (despite waking a peaceful, sleeping 7 month old bub for school pick up). I'm contemplating returning to work next year but as a JP teacher, I fear it will just be more managing of children! And then I think, I'll never get this time back so I shouldn't rush back to work. Ah, decisions are hard.
    But I do believe life gets easier as kids become older, more independent and sleep better. The warmer weather helps too. All the best with changing things up.

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  13. I was a sole parent for 15 years with Tamika, but I worked and studied. However the bulk of my time was spent with just her and I.,. I spent the first 18 months as a stay at home parent with Jarvis. Then I talked Justin into quitting and starting his own business. Now we share the stay at home duties. Our deal is while one is at work the other is with Jarvis. But the bulk of the hohum stuff is always left to me. Day off tomorrow. DO Jarvis and I get to have fun? hmm there is grocery shopping, washing and housework that needs to be done.

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  14. They say that you get most of the training effect of exercise during the rest periods. I reckon parenting is a bit like that, you realise how good it is when they are asleep, which fortifies you to get (most of the way) through the next day...

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    1. I completely agree Ellie. I always say, "The clarity always comes during the calm." That's half the problem though! I'm trying to find some zen moments while they're actually still awake and not doing very well at it!

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  15. Hey Em, totally get you. Wanting to do everything just right, and yet feeling like Im failing. Oh that mother guilt! But know this, God knows you and you know him, give it all to him and let him guide you. Im in the same boat as you, my oldest Jasper is going to school next year ( where have those years gone!?) I have a 3 yr old and I had another little one 5.5 months ago, my days are spent running round after two young boys, 4 & 3 and managing to squeeze in breastfeeding and carrying round the little girl...Ive found it a hard around 3 months after little Pepper was born, realising 'oh i have three of these to look after now!?! Im Especially finding breastfeeding demanding and tough this time round, maybe its because Im feeding round the clock, after she wakes and before she sleeps...every two hours or so - or whenver we can fit it round our crazy non-routine schedules - did you breastfeed Elke long?
    Thanks for always being real in your blogging.
    Love Saskia xo

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  16. Em,

    I'm terrified.

    I'm down to my bones EXHAUSTED from 3.9 years of (day-time, ... & some nights, & a lot of Dave interstate travelling for work) solo parenting. Ish.

    And I'm only 3.9 years in?!

    I just want to start something, ... & finish it.
    I want to eat something, without Frankie SCREAMING like a banshee, climbing on top of me to eat that same thing from my very own mouth (despite having served her her OWN lunch 3 minutes prior).
    I want to sit in silence & map out career goals.
    I just want to ... achieve.

    Yes, I'm achieving everything in raising my 2 beautiful little people, ... but I'm craving a lot more for just ... ME.

    Relentless solo parenting'll do that to you, ... eh? :)

    x x x

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  17. I have been either part or full time stay at home mum for 8.5 years. My smallest small went to full time school at the age of 4 years and 4 weeks at the start of September. I am torn between a feeling of triumph for having survived, relief at the peace and space to think and apprehension at having to now work out my role in life and what I want to be when I grow up. All change! Eleanor

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  18. I'm only 4.5 years in and I'm singing 'I hear you sister'. I went back to work 2 days per week when our first turned 1 and I am doing the same with bub number 2. I would go crazy if I spent 6 years at home, it's great but it's not enough for me!

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  19. Wah wah wah. You'll be crying to have these years back when they're all grown-up and off on their own. Enjoy their youth while you can.

    Sorry but I'm tired of hearing parents complain about being parents. What did you think raising children was going to be like? And to those who go back to work because they would go crazy being home with their family... are you hearing yourself? You'd rather work than spend time with your children? How about work on being a better parent. Work on being more present and enjoying the time you have with your children. Imagine how it would feel if tragedy struck tomorrow. Then maybe being with your children all day won't be so awful and agonizing.

    Sounds like most parents need a change in attitude and perspective.

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    1. Thanks Anon

      It doesn't sound to me like you actually read the post - the gist was about creating more intentional time spent together and looking forward to the changes that would bring (we spend a lot of time together and plan to spend more). Further, the post was not a complaint but simply an expression of the tiredness that raising three young kids brings about - something that most parents experience.

      thanks

      Em

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    2. You are right, I skimmed the post, read through the comments and spewed my comment in haste, and I am sorry for that! Was actually hoping you would erase it. Have just been feeling frustrated with mothers I know not appreciating their children and the beauty of being a parent, and you are obviously not one of them, so again I am sorry!

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  20. Sometimes such intense love is exhausting. I tell myself its hard because I care..because I am trying to be a good mom..I am trying! I feel guilt..because I love them and because I'm doing my best...i rather that than just not care. I dont do everything I want to..I yell too much. We have cereal for supper sometimes..but everyday I try to sit there and soak in a moment..my youngest chicken is just started school a few weeks ago..it changes a lot. Cant wait to hear about your summer.

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    1. EXACTLY - nothing else in life requires ALL we have to give and more. And nothing else in life is as important and raising our children well. It's a big deal!

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  21. 7 years... 3 boys, 10 rounds of ivf and a hubby diagnosed with a Rare autoimmune condition amongst it all... I just didn't know who I was anymore. A machine. The more I was around the more I was forgotten and part of the furniture. Then I returned to work as a teacher 2 days...and then I had to be .....great with other peoples children! I'm so exhausted with children, hats on, don't do that, where are your manners, pick up your rubbish, I think I'm in a tailspin and there is no answer!

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  22. P.s my 7 and 5 are at school and my heart aches daily for their woes. But the worst is when they all get sick and you too...I'm glad I don't work more..impossible to juggle as that family sickness hole is too deep to climb out of alone and then feeling guilty about work too...it's another horrible layer of not doing anything properly!

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  23. Regardless of your marital status or non status as the case may be we are all "solo parents" to a degree. Parenting is a tough, relentless and exhausting gig at times but it is possibly the soley most rewarding job in the world and I don't know a single mumma bear who isn't absolutely incredible. So here's to all us parents and the bloody awesome job we are doing raising our offspring. Sure, at times we let them watch too much Peppa Pig because for five minutes we crave some peace and serenity, but other days we are entirely devoted to the task of educating and engaging this future generation of ours. P.S For the record I too sit at night beside my sweet, highly "spirited" little man and kiss his chubby sleeping cheek and tell him that tomorrow I will be a better mumma for him.

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  24. I totally get this.
    I live in hope of those dream days…spent at the park, when sandwiches are just eaten as is without discussion about there being too little jam or negotiation about how it will be cut, when we talk about the sun and the clouds and the ducks instead of whining (him) and sighing (me), and of course of the beautiful bedtime routine including kisses those warm, sleeping cheeks.

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  25. This is SO me!! it eases my soul to know there are others out there that feel the same!! God bless you and your honesty!! I love reading your posts , its like a glimpse into my own life
    Keep up the good work Em, you are are fabulous mum! xx

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  26. It's hard, Em. No doubts about it. Kellie xx

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  27. Eek! I am in for the long run then. I have a 5month old and my partner flys away for work. If you are tired after 6 years, I am not sure I will be walking by then. Its tough on your own all day & night for 16 days to then have life turned upside down on his return. I guess I can take it all in my stride and just live each day as it comes. Enjoy the spring air, its simply blissful.

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  28. Both of mine are at school now, and I'm grateful for the time I have had with them. Having the business alongside parenting has helped me a lot. It's been great to be able to take my little people to work and have the stay at home mum role happening too. I still have moments of what can we do today, and trying to be a better parent for myself and for my littles. I'm not sure if that questioning myself about my parenting and if I'm doing enough will ever go. I think that's part of parenting?

    Great post Em! Awesome words x

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  29. I have one child. There is a reason for this, because if i had more I would loose my shiz and end up needing psychiatrict hat and not cope. I went back to work when my babe was 4 months old, because of our financial position but i did enjoy working especially because my son spent time with his nanny and poppy's and i got to work with my dad and husband. At the moment I've been studying since he was 18 months old and its been a hard slog. Sheesh!!! But do you know what, this wk I've seen a lady who is 48 and is terminally ill with cancer with no definite answer as to how long she'll live and i have also seen a family identifying their loved one after he committed suicide. I have such an appreciation for my family and especially my son and husband. And my life is put into perspective. But do you know what? After working for 8 hours today, for free (last placement of my degree is currently happening), i came home hungry, no dinner organised and i snapped at my son because i was tired and cranky. Then i bribed him with chocolate to come to the supermarket with me because i felt guilty for being cranky and for not appreciating the fact that my son is alive today and that he is 100% healthy. I totally get where you are coming from and a big kudos to you girlfriend for seeking out the best moments and realising whats best for you!!!! I feel some weeks are like climbing mount everest (especially when the hubby is doing a night shift, or has worked 14 days straight, and/or is coming home after dark and sometimes when the child is in bed) and then others its all rainbow and sunshine when you feel as though you've got a grip on life (and for me my assignment has been handed in, i can enjoy my weekend with my love and beautiful child, when theres food involved, catching up with friends and when the sun is shinning). I don't really know what my point is tbh, i'm not used to working full time ha ha ha But i think what i am saying is, we all know how we should be thankful but sometimes when you are in the moment there seems to be nothing other than your frustration. But you know what? Thats ok, because you realise your mistakes the next day and you are able to make a conscious effort in making you a better person…… No i still don't think i am making sense ha ha Sorry!! (P.s you are a great mum!!!!!!!!!!! And i love your blog he he he).

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  30. You always describe the deepest feelings in my heart frighteningly well, Em. I have three as well, 5, 2 and 8 months. It's a daily struggle. Between exhaustion and battling some PPD, I feel like a failure almost every day. I know I make grave mistakes and I'm usually too tired to see the small victories. I worry how they'll remember this time in their lives, and that makes me even more sad. It's a matter of giving it over to God constantly, praying for the best. Thank you for your honesty and validating all the other mums that we're not alone in this. Xx

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  31. I'm at just over 5 years and feeling the strain. I'm starting to feel like I want/need more from my life but lack the energy and time to do much about it. It's one of the reasons I blog but I've felt so crappy about things lately that my blog is suffering.

    It's really damn hard being a stay at home parent. Being a parent full stop is hard, but being out of the workplace, "just being Mum" is hard. You feel invisible in society. You don't know how to feel about yourself any more. You get lost in the day to day tasks, in just keeping the children alive. You loose your sense of "you". Realistically I can't do much about this until my youngest is older. He starts school in 2017. I should be able to get a job or find myself some work around then. At that point I will have been out of paid employment for nearly 10 years!

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em