You know, it is really difficult enough to deal with ONE child and his issues. It is plenty challenging to keep yourself, the parent, calm long enough to get through one tantrum, or a single meltdown, or a lone momentary trouble. It is more than hard enough to make this journey seem hard. When the reality is so much harder.
The reality is the accumulation of every single problem coming at you from every single person along the whole course of the day, with no time to breathe.
The reality is that you don’t have a chance to have an unterrupted thought. That you can’t start something important (or even unimportant) and get to the end of it without being sidetracked. Every single chance you get to do something that needs to be done, there is another immediate emergency to tend to. Child-centered emergencies. Do it right now emergencies.
Wipe someone’s butt.
Deal with peanut butter on the wall.
Change a diaper.
Feed a human.
Help look for a lost lovey.
Remind someone we don’t throw toys.
Break up an argument that has devolved into screaming.
Tidy up the mess that is driving you nuts.
Feed another human.
Ask a child to please leave the baby alone again.
Take a deep breath. Deeeeeep breath.
Tidy up again.
Advise a brave soul that the stool on top of the ladder is a poor idea.
Swallow the resentment that you have to console a screaming child that chose to ignore your warning, as they are now hurt.
Wipe another butt.
Feed another human.
Remember that you need to feed yourself, and attempt that.
End up feeding half of your food to all of the other humans.
Check on the suspicious quiet.
Another deep breath, and try not to snap.
It’s so hard. Guys, it’s so damn hard. Because the peace can be there for SO long. And the patience is so loving. But eventually, even on my best days, I am just SO DRAINED of empathy and patience and peace and kindness. Eventually I just hit the WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU wall, because seriously – SERIOUSLY – how can this many things be this hard in one day?
One child is hard. One difficult child is really hard. Four children, each of whom considers him or herself to be the whole center of the universe, with immediacy and urgency and emergency behind EVERY need is absolutely exhausting.
So I sit and write it out, and then I try to re-set by focusing on gratitude. I write a list of all of the things I am thankful for and that helps. Now I’m going to knit for a minute, and drink coffee while my kids dance around to Pandora on the TV. Maybe the baby will take a nap, and I can focus on micro-breaks. Little re-sets. A bit of respite. Anything to help on days that just seem so hard.