The Unmarked Road

Life On The Other Side Of Mental Illness

Month: September 2017

Some Days I Feel Like A S**t Mum…And Today It Might Be True

Today is one of those days where if being a mum was a normal job I would walk into my boss’s office and quit. And it wouldn’t be the first time. Because some days we all feel like we’re totally failing at this parenting thing. 

Some days I’m in the kitchen, dancing like a Disney princess, baking carrot/oat/banana muffins sprinkled with nothing but magic fairy dust and angel wings all full of wholesome, ethical and moral goodness. I’m might add that these days are not the norm!

Some days, today for example, my son’s diet consists of chocolate cake and cereal. 

Things he can just help himself to so that he at the very least doesn’t starve to death. 

My husband wouldn’t like that.

Whether it’s because it took over an hour to leave the house after dressing a child that is screaming as though you’re trying to murder him, or the fact that you’ve cancelled puddle ducks (again) because you can’t face stuffing those chunky thighs into the neoprene nappy, some days just seem to go to s**t. And you feel like the worst parent in the world because your child has to make do with the same old toys in the same old room with the same old mum, just sitting on her phone. Even the sun is not welcome today because going out for a walk is out of the question.

I told you. Some days I’m not a good mum.

Sometimes I lock my child in the car (let’s be real, no more than 5 minutes with the windows open!) so I can pick up all the cheerios he’s strewn all over the floor and that the cats are chasing around without having a whinging mini-me pulling at my hair like they’re reins. (Queue finding mouldy old cheerios in ever corner of the living room months down the line .) 

Sometimes I put on Stickman for the hundredth time just so I can drink my cup of coffee without him sticking his hand in it or wanting to check, again, that it is actually as hot as I say it is. 

Some days, I really do consider looking up the closest adoption agency (or kennel).

So here, my darling son. Eat nothing but cheerios and oat cakes while mummy collapses on the sofa after no sleep, yet again.

And no I don’t want to read the gruffalo again!

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Apparently it gets better. Apparently this could be a good 20 years away.

Nap Time Intentions

Every day while I wait for my son to go down for his one and only nap, I contemplate all the things I can do in that precious 1.5 – 2 hours of time. These I call my Nap Time Intentions.

For those that may not have children of their own, let me tell you now that the most precious thing in the world is not money or jewels or beauty. It is time. And as a mother of a young child, there is a distinct lack of it. Because every single thing I try and do while Ethan is awake, involves him clinging to my trousers for dear life as though he is going to be swallowed up by the floor, looking up with those puppy dog eyes and whinging at me at a pitch I’m sure only the dogs and I can hear. I assume he is wanting to help me in whatever endeavour I am attempting, however cooking on a hot hob or making coffee isn’t necessarily always doable with one hand.

So instead I spend my toddler-awake-time, playing with him (Facebook), coming up with creative ways to change a nappy without poo flying across the new carpet and trying to coax him to eat something other than crisps, an orange peel or the insides of blueberries (following Ethan around picking up blueberry skins is not my idea of a good time).

As Ethan starts the inevitable eye rubbing and quiet contemplation (I’m sure he’s plotting something evil), I begin to plan what I will do with my time. Here’s my list of things I wanted to achieve today:

  • Clear my parent’s spare room
  • Bake carrot muffins (that will probably end up being fed to the cats)
  • Properly start my novel

Here’s what I’ve achieved:

  • Eaten an extra large bowl of soup while watching some murder program on tv…

Ok so I’m winning today because I’ve also written a blog post and I’ve managed to eat something without it ending up all down my white jumper, but it’s not quite the efficient use of time I had envisaged.

And the problem is, it rarely ever is.

Because come that time, I relish being able to sit and eat without being whinged at or pulled at or sharing MY food. I love sitting at my laptop without those little grubby fingers grabbing at its keys making my computer do weird things that I can’t undo. I love being able to watch something on tv without being terrified of scarring my child!

Oh well, there’s always tomorrow right?

Are You ‘Just’ A Mum?

When I was pregnant I was determined I wasn’t going to become ‘just a mum’. That having a baby wasn’t going to change me as a person. I didn’t want to be one of those simpering idiots who only talked about her baby and had a Pinterest board full of baby led weaning recipes and creative messy play ideas.  I wasn’t going to show off every picture of bath time or video of my precious bundle eating broccoli for the first time. I didn’t really like children anyway (in fact I believe my ‘about’ page still states I am more excited about having kittens than kids!) so I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to become the quintessential earth mother anyway.

Fast forward a year and here I am sitting with my 14 months old hanging off my breast, while I research gentle sleep techniques (because the little shit still wakes every 2 hours, but I won’t let him cry!) and come up with inventive ways to nurture his highly demanding and precious temper tantrums into something positive (call me naive).

You see, the joke of it is that becoming a mother does change you. You can’t help it. Having a child isn’t like having a pet you really really love. Having a child is like ripping out the heart in your chest and letting it go out into the world trying desperately to protect (but not too much!) it from every hurt. Having a child makes you so vulnerable that you can no longer watch or read anything about children that come to harm, because your mind is already a black hole of ‘what ifs’ when it comes to the safety of your child.

So what does that mean for my identity. Who and what am I now?

Identity of self changes over time, of course it does. And with that, so does our voice and the story we’re telling about our lives. Those of you who have been with me since the start, have probably got whiplash from the changes in direction the site has gone under; from business starter, to anxiety sufferer, to mental health survivor, to mother.

To deny that becoming a mother has not only changed me, but also for the better, would be to deny a huge part of me. The part of me that loves to write. Because I can only write what I know, and what I know is that I love being a mum. More than I have ever loved anything.

So what does that mean for the Unmarked Road? Only time will tell whether the site gets a facelift or if I start again completely from scratch. A clean slate (probably the only clean thing for a long time).

But for now I must go and make three different lunches for when the little monster wakes up, because feeding him something other than pickles has become more important than I could have every imagined.

Oh and that Pinterest board? Yes, it has a load of home-sensory ideas. But there are one or two items that hint at an all together different woman. One who still likes to change her hair a few times a year or is a hippy traveller looking for her next adventure.

Because our identity isn’t just one thing, but a puzzle of colourful life experiences that continue to shape who we are.

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