Hello, lovely you.
I thought I’d tell you a little story.
I had my nephew to stay this weekend. He loves being with my stepsons (not actually my stepsons; my partners children, but you get the idea). It’s been a year since he last stayed thanks to lots of busy-ness at the end of last year and corona virus infiltrating all our lives this year, and we have all changed.
Before, having the three children for a weekend felt relatively easy – chaotic and exhausting, but easy. This time, ranging in ages from seven to almost 15 it felt harder, like I had less control. And of course, I have very little control in reality, as I am not their Mum; I’m not anyone’s Mum (unless Norman Cat counts, and I suspect he doesn’t). And I am winging it, big time. Even more than the real mums out there.
Of course, I put the obligatory post on Facebook so people can smile at our activities. And I did love 90% of the weekend, don’t get me wrong. But what I want you to know, to remind you of incase you have forgotten, is that everyone has those moments that are utterly shit when you think ‘I absolutely cannot do this, what one earth made me think I could?’.
My biggest one this weekend was Sunday morning. We’d promised the boys a bike ride through the woods and a picnic lunch. We got them ready to go (eventually), only for my partner to remember he had a work call that he was supposed to be on. I couldn’t take the boys on my own as due to differing abilities, I was taking the younger ones and he was taking the older one. And the older one didn’t want to start on his own. So, they all played outside as I watched the dark clouds roll in and sure enough, it started raining.
As I repeated my Mum’s mantra of ‘we don’t rust, do we?’ to them all, my nephew declared that he didn’t know if he did or not, and were we nearly there yet? (We’d gone about 500 meters). The rest of them went on ahead to the woods. My nephew and I made slow, slow progress across a field until he stopped and said he wanted to go home. Not to my house, but to his Mums. Now. And started to cry. And that was my utterly shit moment as I stood in the field, already muddy, soaking wet and wondering why I ever thought I could take three kids who aren’t mine on a jolly picnic. I wanted to cry too.
Now, there are two reasons I am telling you this:
- Because I don’t ever want to become ‘that therapist’ who has their shit in order (at least on the outside) and tells everyone how easy it is to do the same. It’s not. It’s bloody hard work. REALLY bloody hard work for some people.
- Because I found myself beating myself up last night and this morning for reacting the way that I did. I didn’t focus on the fact that I didn’t cry; I didn’t even shout. I just stood there, took a deep breath and told my nephew to get back on his bike and get to the woods where the others were waiting as his Mum was picking him up later, not now. Then he could go home. And of course, by the time we got to the woods and it was drier and there was a fun downhill bit, he was off like it had all been a figment of my imagination. My focus though, was that I’d not been the jolly auntie who had everything under control and turning out like some sort of bloody Enid Blyton story.
So please know that when you are having one of those utterly shit moments, whatever you are told, or hear or see on social media, everybody has them. And right at that moment, there are mums, dads, step parents, aunts and uncles who are experiencing them with you.
And they pass. And when they do, let them go. And when it’s over, maybe you can try to remember the positive at the end of that story, because there is one. And if there isn’t yet, it’s because the story isn’t over yet.
Trust me, not because I’m a therapist, but because I am human too.
Want to hear more very occasional stuff from a human? (It really will be only occasionally, and really will be useful as I’m a therapist as well as human.) You can sign up here. Please do :o)