Tuesday 23 August 2011

Is the bar open yet?

So, life as a SAHM!!!! As time goes on, the more I’m realising I’m not cut out for this!! I feel a failure!! For god sake, I’ve only got ONE child and he is probably pretty good compared to some. So why can’t I cope???

The problem being is I like nice tidy finishes and no straggling frayed edges. Moving house with a toddler and a husband that works long hours and bloody hard equals....straggling frayed edges. What’s worse is, when there are such straggling frayed edges, I get irrational....I hate feeling irrational and then looking backat it later when everything has calmed down a bit I’m ashamed of the person I was and how I behaved.

So these frayed edges! We move house and there are boxes to unpack. The boxes get unpacked slowly because of lack of storage/furniture (and a poorly hubby). Just as the boxes get unpacked, I go and collect the loft contents from our old house and refill the newly created ‘space’. I feel claustrophobic once more!

In addition, I need to update companies with our change of address and inform utilities companies that we are closing our account or opening a new one etc. Have you tried making a 25-30 minute telephone call (this is an average time considering the inevitable hold time and then the scripted call you need to go through – it can sometimes be less sometimes longer) with a demanding toddler that gets bored after 5 minutes (if you are lucky) of doing one activity – that includes CBeebies! Not to mention that the filing and folders are all still in boxes everywhere and certain companies (Bank) make it nigh on impossible to make such a simple change.

I have a house to keep clean around all this.

I have friends to make and roots to grow too – else I might turn into a hermit, and put Callum up for sale to the highest bidder on eBay (or just Freecycle him if it’s been a particularly hard day!).

I NEEEEEEED a haircut – and removal of hair from some certain other areas too!!!

This is me: I like to find a routine and stick to it until I know where I can break it...then I rebel because I hate routines (I’m a Gemini through and through (shhh it Stuart, I’m NOT a Cancerean!!)). Right now, I don’t have a routine. I’m in a new house in a new town (and County) and, the last time I was a Stay At Home Mum, Callum wasn’t nearly as hyperactive as he is now.
When I was working, Callum was at nursery where he had opportunity to run off his energy and be as hyperactive to his heart’s content. I picked him up and, except the dreaded falling asleep in the car on the way home super tantrums from time to time, I could go home, keep Callum entertained while still manage to do a couple of jobs. We had fun. We liked each other. Well most of the time. Do you remember, I even got to run to nursery for a while? (*dreams*) I feel a million miles away from that now.

I realised I had to change my way of thinking. To feel a little more at ease with the ‘fringed edges’, all is well as long as I feel like I’m making progress through the jobs. I’m a morning person and I follow the philosophy (if that’s the right word) that you can’t go out to play until you have done your chores. So, I get up and do my chores while I’m motivated, and then once they are done I go out to play. Callum doesn’t work like this! He needs to play first to run off the energy then he can be manipulated to play with his toys in his room while I get jobs done...until he realises I’m mopping the floor where he insists on helping whilst walking dirty footprints all across newly mopped floor!! This is a really hard concept for me to accept but it does actually work. The play then work concept not the mopping of the floor!!

This is fine, when the day’s chores allow for this. But some mornings I do have to do jobs first before play. I decided one particular day, knowing already by Callum’s grumpy morning mood he wasn’t going to play ball, that I’d tackle it with a kind of ‘reward chart’ for the day. Lotté had a vet appointment at 10.40am. I was a little slow to get up in the morning admittedly but needed to get Callum dressed, fed and out the door in plenty of time to walk the 5 minutes to the vet (knowing that an argument along the way could slow the whole journey down to 15 minutes). A later job included a trip to the tip to drop off old paint cans. Near the tip is a lovely park with a water splash area. I thought, hey I can make this a reward chart! I drew pictures to represent each of the tasks Callum needed to complete and he got a sticker for when he completed them. If he completed all of them, we got to go to the park. It looked like this:

Eat Breakfast > Get Dressed > Walk to Vet > Eat Lunch > Go to park


So, eat breakfast...he started off enthusiastically when he realised the reward and there were stickers involved. I’ve found myself more and more often feeding Callum recently. He is more than capable of feeding himself and has been so from about aged 1. Recognising that this is a bad habit, I really want him to start feeding himself again. There was a bit of a fight but we got there.

The next task was getting dressed...more arguments, particularly around cleaning teeth and it took longer than I would have liked but, again, we got there, and still with about 10 minutes to spare before we had to leave (going for 10.20am). By the time I get Lotté in her carrier and Callum and I shoed and with coats it’s time to go. Callum....shock horror....walks all the way to the Vet without complaint. He asks to go for a wee (after already having 1 wee accident that morning). Then after the vet trip he walks back again, only asking a couple of times for a ‘cuggle’ but accepting when I say no I can’t because I am carrying Lotté.

3 stickers...we are on a roll!

Next, time for lunch. Callum is now repeating the mantra “after lunch, go to park, ”.Callum has a wee accident, I take him to the toilet and ask him if he needs a poo, to which he declines. He then poos his pants immediately after (GRRRRRRRR). We sit down to lunch eating what he has asked for, jacket potato and beans, and he has one mouthful then wonders off. He won’t sit down to eat his lunch just continues to play and mess around refusing to eat anything no matter how many times I remind him of the reward chart and stickers and the park. I find myself begging, pleading, threatening no birthday as he “isn’t ready to turn three and become a big boy”, nope he won’t eat. I have a little strop myself and say “if he reaches the top of the stairs that’s it, no sticker and no park! Sure enough, he ignores me laughing and steps over the last step and into his room. I then go down and realise that his bowl does look rather full and this must be quite intimidating for a little boy. I get another bowl out and ask him to tell me how much he is happy to eat. We separate the bowls and he goes back to searching for the Thomas (the Tank Engine) at the bottom of the bowl by eating his way through....success! Only taking an hour longer than I wanted.

Anyway, eventually we get out of the house, to the tip and on to the park...just to find the splash park is closed – ho hum! At least he had fun at the park.

It’s all just so draining. By the end of each day I am exhausted. I’m sure there must be more to life than a constant battle with my 3 year old (nearly) and without the constant thoughts in the back of my head about all the untidy ‘edges’ that are refusing to stay hidden under the sofa!
So, how am I getting by? With wine! I don’t know how people do this all the time and are not all raging alcoholics...and like I said, I only have one monster...I mean child!

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