I think I’m suffering from the opposite of anticipation,…anti-anticipation?
Last night I had a one hour relaxation massage booked in at Endota Spa (thanks to my work friends!). You would think that, given the fact I was about to experience ultimate bliss, my patience levels for putting kids to bed would be better than average… not so. As soon as Hudson irked me by drinking a grand total of 5ml of formula, I repaid him by reading his stories in my best monotone voice and singing tunelessly the obligatory lullabies before plonking him in his cot and switching off the light.
I’ve realized that this isn’t an isolated event. The day before school holidays I hit my absolute low point in parenting Eli. He spent the better part of two hours screaming and throwing tantrums, and I eventually gave up, chucked on Peppa Pig and sobbed on the bed behind him. Usually these low points happen when I completely run out of patience and give flat, no nonsense/emotional answers. World War III ensues predictably as he responds in kind.
Then, looking back to the weeks before Hudson, I realise I handled things pretty poorly. My expectations were clearly not met in terms of the labour timing or experience. Eventually I basically gave up, emotionally defeated… not the best zone in which to welcome any baby, let alone what turned out to be a considerably trying one!
Now, with the prospect of complete control over my living space, I see the remaining days stretched before me like decades. I take petty things personally and romanticize the notions of ‘my kitchen’ and keeping everything perpetually tidy and in place. In the process I’m missing out on the present: the remaining imaginary bus trips Chase and Eli will take to Dan Murphy’s or the play center, the chaotic meal times where adults try in vain to talk civilly over the din of ‘roars’ and spoons being used as drumsticks. Also, the amazing conveniences of being able to duck out for gelato/coffee after the kids are in bed because there are always a plethora of babysitters, only having to vacuum and mop once a fortnight and cooking a mere three times a week! I’ve also lost sight of the fact that motherhood can be very lonely, or isolating if you don’t have people to share it with.
The results of our social experiment are still yet to be realised completely, but in the meantime, I commit to seeing the last ten days out with eyes half closed to the petty/messy and fully open to the good. Better than realising its value too late, I guess…