Confession: when I used to dream about motherhood, it never looked like this. Back then, I was also imagining my life as a successful actor with a busy career and lots of help raising any kids that I had.
In short, I never thought I'd do it all myself. Even then, I seemed to sense I wouldn't enjoy being a fulltime housewife. And I also imagined having a fuckload of money which erases roughly three quarters of the issues I currently have with my day to day life. In my mind's eye, I enjoyed motherhood without having to deal with the drudgery of domestic life.
But it's all me. 24/7 frontline parenting. PLUS housewife duties. There are days I suck so monumentally at both.
The monotonous days, the sometimes constant aggravation of fighting kids who just can't fucking work it out and the crushing realisation that I may never, never get on top of all the shit I need to do. I am always chasing my tail. It wears me down, this constant sense of failing.
Today I came so close to calling one of my children stupid. It was right on the tip of my tongue and I had to swallow it back so hard.
Name-calling is supremo shitty parenting. The world will serve up lesson after lesson in humility, reminding my children of all the ways they are not perfect, but I promised myself that at home they would be safe from superficial judgement and the kind of talk that erodes self-confidence.
It occurs to me I am supposing that I could better manage my life if I could change things around me. But I am not so blind as to misunderstand that the major thing that requires change is me. My mindset. Oh yes, I am aware that my current attitude is shitty and from it, only shitty things can flow.
Fucking first world woes. Get a grip. I know, I know.
But I think it's okay to tell my truth because maybe it's also true for somebody else. And maybe if you know I'm a fellow fuckhead, you won't feel so bad about being a fuckhead, too.
On the way to school on Friday, we were running late because, like I said, I'm no fucking good at this shit, but what I saw in my rearview mirror made me pull the car to the side of the road anyway. And then I took a photo:
Guys, they were holding hands.
All three of them, holding hands. And it doesn't make me any less resentful of spending precious hours of my life doing the dishes every day. It doesn't make this shitty, old house that is so unsatisfying to clean any less depressing to my germaphobic soul. And the next time all three of them are fighting and whingeing at me (hello, tomorrow!), I will still have to try my very best not to lose my tiny, tiny mind.
But they were holding hands. I don't know how it happened or why, but I do know I am so glad I caught this moment because when I look back, it will be this magical shit I will recall.