St. John's both exhilarated and exhausted me. I really did fit in what would normally be a month's worth of activity into 1 week. I got home tired and began my increased work hours. I broke up with my boyfriend and that is draining in and of itself, as was the roller coaster of trying to maintain a friendship afterwards. I was napping any afternoon I could. I was looking for ways to make nutritiously balanced meals as easily as possible. I stopped allowing the kids to help me make dinner simply because it was faster to do it myself. I became increasingly angry with them for not picking up after themselves because I simply did not have the energy to do it for them. I was starting to yell again. I felt horrible. Worst of all, I felt them being "clingy" and that irritated me, a lot. Instead of doing what needed to be done to make them feel loved and secure I sent them off to leave me alone. Then the guilt set in. Guilt leads to a worse mood and so the cycle begins.
I have this email friend (he lives in Toronto and we only communicate via email) and he was telling me about all the things he does with his daughter during the Summer. I fell into the comparison trap. Man, I was sucking at parenting. He's a single parent too, so I couldn't claim that as my excuse. I called my good friend Kyle who pep talked me. He reminded me that it wasn't about grandiose gestures, it was about me spending quality time with my kids. It didn't have to be a lot, it didn't have to be perfect, it just had to be loving. I'm paraphrasing but I'm pretty sure that's what he was trying to get across.
So this afternoon I decided to start with a clean slate. I would pretend I wasn't a bitchy mommy for the last few weeks and just do something small and not too tiring with them tonight.
So I picked them up after work, brought them home, then took them out for ice cream, a walk on the docks and a peek at the fish in the lake using a flashlight. We walked home holding hands and I savoured it.
Sometimes we set our expectations too high and we get tired of always being let down or letting down others. So we give up. I'd like to call it taking a break to re-evaluate. Either way, I've got it now. I don't have to be an awesome mom/woman/writer/friend/daughter all the time. It's okay just to be good and sometimes not even reaching that standard is alright. My children will learn that they don't have to be awesome all the time either and that's a good thing. I think some mornings when I am grumpy and they are not doing as they are told I might just announce in a loud silly voice:
"Today we are not awesome and that's okay! Say it with me folks!"
And have them repeat after me in their own silly voices. Heck you can say it with me too:
Today I am not awesome and that's okay.
Doesn't that feel better already?