Where did we go so wrong?
I ask myself this question several times a day, and after reading through countless responses on a Facebook CCC post a while back, and having a good long hard think about it all, I think I know why I feel like we have become totally lost amongst the crowd of little Monsters around here.
You see, several people respond (which is what we want 😉 ), and make suggestions, or tell us how their own houses are run, complete with endless respect and fab behaviour from the children. I’m grateful for these responses as I have always been a ‘lets give it a go’ type parent and what works, works and what doesn’t go so great gets shelved so we can try something else.
I also love the responses that scream “me too” or “it happens here too” because it makes me feel like I am not so alone in the parenting juggle as my mind often tells me I am. We’re all only human, we all do things in our own special way and we all do whatever it takes to get by and give our kids the best life we can.
But one comment really got me thinking, and reminiscing and scrounging through old photos and I had a little epiphany.
When I had just 3 (then 4) children, my house was clean and tidy too. I was organised, I ran by a routine and I remember so clearly the comments others used to make about how they wished they could get it together like us, they were in awe over my young children’s manners, both in and out of the house. People were often astounded that we could arrive at places early, with 4 kids, without a hint of angst in the air. My kids had respect for those around them, they had care and empathy for all and at the end of the day, they still had their moments, like ALL kids do.
So where did we go so wrong?
Now I am not saying my kids are horrendous monsters, future axe murders or so on. They’re intelligent, active, entertaining, ambitious, dedicated little people. They’re everything you want your kids to be, however we’ve lost some respect, care and stability along the way.
Well when I had a good hard think about it, I can actually see the pattern of deterioration happening. 6 months after baby number 5 arrived, my father passed away. He had a battle with cancer which got him in the end and left all of us devastated. I had not yet really come past the newborn sleepless nights phase and readjustment of our routine to include a new baby, when I was left to process that grief, whilst also having to become my mum’s carer too.
My mental health was sliding, my moods were not the chirpy Jacqui they used to be and I was tired. Bloody tired.
Time went on and I began to get back on track. We were busy but doing ok. Things weren’t the same as they used to be but the kids were coping, and we’d pulled through as a family.
Fast forward to 2012. Desperate for one last baby I was elated to find out we were expecting. That same day I found out about our pregnancy, my marriage almost ended. I went from the happiest person on earth to completely devastated in the space of 2 hours. It took over a week to sort out the mess but I had developed an anxiety like never before, which still often controls me today.
I could hardly leave the house, meaning I no longer participated in the kids school things. I stepped back from all their after school activities. I spent a lot of time depressed where the kids were left to just play while I tried to get my life back on track, which was a huge contrast to the constant involvement I had in their everyday lives. I am certain thats where we lost control, lost our edge as parents, because in a way, through anxiety, they lost the mum they always relied on.
I think unless you have ever experienced debilitating anxiety, you can really have no idea how it affects you and everyone around you. Just ask my husband, who say’s he knows it’s there, but cannot understand why things make me so anxious still to this day.
Of course life hasn’t eased up any since 2012 either.
Our baby boy arrived and was a terrible sleeper (and still is, 4.5 years later). I was diagnosed with PCOS and have had multiple health issues since. Jai was diagnosed with a hearing loss so we’ve juggled that. Aria developed serious anxiety (cue mum guilts again) after being bullied and lost her all her hair. The long process of getting her back on track again, with the endless appointments and sessions also took a massive toll on our energy levels and our wallets, and let’s not even talk about the constant drama with Veruca’s dental surgery and braces. UGH.
In amongst all of that, you have 6 kids, fighting and screaming for constant attention from two emotionally and physically drained parents who are doing everything it takes to keep the family unit together, happy and healthy.
Yep, that’s it. That’s where we went wrong. It was never intentional, it was never planned, it was life throwing spanner after spanner in the works time and time again.
To be perfectly honest, when I look back, I think we’ve done well to have made it this far. We’re not perfect, our kids are not perfect, but we are real. What you see is pretty much what you get.
So, what am I going to focus on and how am I going to try and ‘Fix’ it all?
- Simplifying our life – Less is more, so they say.
- Our Health – I’m sick of being sick and having health issues.
- Grown Up Time – We need to recharge and put the time and effort back into us as a couple so we don’t fall apart.
- One on One Kid Time – This will be hard, but not impossible. If it means a mental health day here and there, to spend that time with them, that’s what will happen.
- Getting Organised Again – Being organised lets us spend more fun times together as a family.
And hopefully once those things fall into place, and life stops throwing us spanners, we can attempt to get back to what life was like when we only had 3-4 kids….. an you know, maybe a cleaner house!!! HAHAHAHAHA