Think. Think. Why is this?
It's because I know several supermoms who've raised 2 kids all on their own, without grandparental help or maids. They did the laundry, housework, cooked creative and nutritious meals for the family (one of them even bakes bread daily, from scratch!) ... and their 2 kids are all grown, relatively well-behaved and ALIVE!! They also still love mommy very much, so I assume they're doing a bang up job of it.
I've always prided myself as a capable person. More than capable. So why can't I do this with more dignity and grace?!! My kids are gonna grow up hating me. All this pressure I'm putting on myself isn't helping. It just makes me angrier!
Calm down. Calm down. Think. Is it really a fair comparison?
This is hard for even the supermoms, but I also have to keep reminding myself that things really are harder for me at the moment because :
1. My kids can't put themselves to sleep. The other kids can.
This is a major one.
Both of mine still need me to either cuddle or bounce them to sleep, and obviously once they awaken in the middle of the night or afternoon nap, they can't go back to sleep without my help (although Condor 2 is slowly learning with his "breastpad blankie" - thank GOD!). Obviously this is a losgitical nightmare when Condor 2 still needed 2 naps a day and none of them coincided with Condor 1's nap timing.
And when both would wake from their naps at the same time, I would just sit there crying because I knew it was impossible to soothe both to sleep again (they are stimulated by each other's presence and want to play), and everything I had planned to finish doing was now going to remain undone.
This is partly my fault for practicing Attachment Parenting, and partly C1 for being a high-need baby so sleep training was just not possible with him.
So, at least 2 hours each day are spent putting the kids to sleep, or back to sleep. Time which could have been spent finishing up on cleaning, general house admin or cooking - if only I could just lock them in their room and let them fall asleep on their own.
They also don't sleep through the night. Both of them.. Yes, even 3-year old C1. Essentially I have been sleep-deprived and fucking grumpy for more than 3 fucking years.
2. My 3-year old refuses to feed himselfNot only do I have to cook, I have to process the food after cooking to make sure the kids can chew it (e.g. carrots must be squished, or they are just swallowed and come out whole when they lau sai), and then I have to FEED it to them. When do I get the time to cook for myself, or eat it?
I blamed myself at first till I remembered how C1 wouldn't even hold food, much less put it in his mouth when he was a toddler. I never saw him use his pincer grasp till he was almost 2 years old!!
I've recently discovered in kindergarten he's quite able to do it, but at home, he just doesn't want to. I have to cajole and force, and it just takes too much effort. Plus, he makes a mess, stains his clothes and never eats enough. So feed him I must. :(
C2, on the other hand, has been feeding himself quite well, if it's finger food like chicken. I can start him on spoons soon, if I have the energy. At least that will be one less child to worry about at mealtimes.
3. Supermoms DO have help.They have part-time cleaners that come in once a week. Professional cleaners for the harder places like the windows outside the house. I've been trying to do all the cleaning on my own, whenever the kids are asleep, instead of taking some time out for myself to rest.
They use dryers for wet laundry, which is a huge time-saver compared to me having to wait for naptime before I can hang the clothes, take them in again if there's rain or the threat of it, then take them out again when the sun comes out, then check to see what's dry then take those in, and hang the still wet ones under the awning.
4. I DO have help.Since mom has been overseas for the past 3 months, I've been trying too hard to go it alone in preparation of my future lifestyle. My MIL has been kind enough to let me send C1 over a few times a week so I can at least get my chores done, and she does offer the help of one of her maids with my cleaning (but I just don't feel comfortable with this one).
The Hubbie is more helpful than most, and I'm lucky he's so willing to help with the chores and take charge of C1 once he's back from a full day at work. He's very involved with the kids and their lives, always trying to find little ways to make my day better and cheer me up (e.g. taking us out for food on the weekend, ordering me the occasional margarita, fetching me a Coke) and it feels great to have such a strong partner who's got my back.
But somehow this just makes me feel worse because I shouldn't even be feeling stressed or angry if I have this much help. Sigh.
5. I have a part-time job, on top of my full-time one (the kids)Yeah, I do it from the comfort of home, on my computer.
Yeah, I do it after the kids have been put to bed.
Yeah, it doesn't take up a huge chunk of time unless there's some major issue (and then it takes up a HUGE chunk of my night) or a particularly stupid, childish bitch is in charge of a project. But that's still time that I should be spending winding down, or doing chores I had not gotten to yet, or just relaxing after a hard day with a nice book or movie on the computer.
Plus, it's a job that's counter to my personality - dealing with customer complaints. Thank God I don't have to contact customers directly, just respond to their social media comments. But people on the internet are real childish assholes because of the anonymity of the medium, and they try with all their might to bait a reaction that they can share with the world. Taking in all that negativity right before bed really sucks and it will affect my equanimity and sleep.
6. I have a High-Need kidOne of them is like having 2 or more kids. So, at best, I'm actually dealing with 3 kids ... At worst, it feels like I have 10. From the forums I've been reading, one high-need kid can sometimes be enough to destroy a marriage, because they just take so much out of you.
What's more, this one still can't be dropped off at Kindy because every major change like this is met with great resistance, soiled pants, sleepless nights, lots of tantrums and sometimes cognitive or behavioral regression. I have to be with him the whole time (with C2 in tow) which means NOTHING in the house can be done in the morning, nor in the afternoon because I am just so damn knackered.
Toilet training was such a nightmare, I'm still trying to block the pain of it out. At least now he can tell me he wants to poo, though he still routinely spots his underwear with wee. Better than flooding the floor like last time.
7. I can't cook for shitMy time alone in Australia & Penang was full of unhealthy sausage-filling-and-potato casseroles, microwave dinners, meat pies (yum), instant pasta and eating char kuey teow in a hawker centre. Not the best diet to feed a growing family.
I had to learn when I had C1, and it's been a stressful and scary process because I don't like ruining and wasting food. I'm no domestic goddess that can whip things up at a moment's notice. And I'm constantly worried I'm going to give them food poisoning, or stunt their growth with my lack of nutritious creativity. Gotta keep working at it.
8. The house is too damn bigThere's just too damn much surface area to get dirty and to have to clean. When we get our own place, I want a small single-level place with 3-bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
Yeah, I could leave the place dirty for awhile, but more than a week goes by without a vacuum or mop, you can draw portraits in the dust and The Husband gets coughing and sneezing spells because he's allergic. Also .... read the next point.
9. The bloody FaunaWeek-old dust attracts invisible creatures that bite the kids at night, the bites can sometimes be so bad they interrupt sleep (theirs, and ours) and leave scars. No, they're not bed bugs. I don't know what the fuck they are. No, it's not psychosomatic!!
Then there's the lizards, ants and cockroaches (luckily not so much of these anymore) who are attracted by an unmopped floor that has drops of spilled soup / food from kids struggling at mealtime. Even when the fucking floor is clean the damn lizards carpet bomb my floor, tables and kids' toys with their fucking shit. I hate them so damn much. Why are there so many of them?! They crawl over EVERY fucking thing in the house!
Then there's the fucking magpies who've decided to make nests outside the kids' room so they wake them with their loud chirping, and carpet bomb our cars with their shit even though the cars are in the damn porch!!
Then there are the bees and the wasps who keep trying to build a nest on my clothesline, or within my laundry area. So hanging clothes are usually a hazard.
Then there's the fucking mozzies. I can never bring the kids out to the garden or to the playground because there are mozzies everywhere. I'm always under house arrest.
Then there's the neighbour's fucking dog who barks (at nothing!!) for extended periods of time, and usually at the times of day that my kids are sleeping. It's bark is so damn loud it's like it's standing outside my kid's window!! The neighbour has received many complaints already, not just from me, but they are deaf and don't seem to give a shit. I really hope they get raped by rabid goats, then by their own stupid dog.
Then now there are all those robberies and muggings and kidnappings in the parking lots of popular malls! I can't even go out during the weekdays anymore for fear of my kids' safety. I'm so sick of staying at home. I feel like a goddamn prisoner!! What the hell is wrong with this damn country?!
Ok, I meant to end this on an optimistic and positive note, but it's just turned into a long whine and rant. Sigh.
I just have to stop beating myself up when an extra ball gets thrown into the bunch I'm already juggling. Like right now, I'm down with cough and cold, and C2 is recovering from a high fever. I'm still very tired.
I'm human. Give myself a break. Don't expect so much of myself. Take it one sticky step at a time!!!