Just not right now…

Thisย week has not been the best around here. Maggie has hit the terrible twos a week early and with the passion of one thousand fiery suns. Whilst a few weeks ago she would answer “Of course!” to questions, she now says no 23,000 times a day. She’s doing that arched back thing when you try and put her in her car seat. She says “Ow!” really loudly, like I am hurting her when I ask her to do something, anything she doesn’t want to do so that when you are in the supermarket or walking down the street strangers will look to see just who is hurting that cute little girl.

Insert eye roll emoji right about….here.

The other side to my week is a big 10 year old dealing with doing tests (Naplan), and tween issues, complexities of friendships and hockey team swaps. Then there has been a 7 year old somewhere in between, losing her mind as she is wont to do, on the second week of any given term.

Toddler tantrums. Homework refusals. Eye rolling and hormones.

This morning I was driving into town to pick up some bits and pieces and my Mother’s Day present from the girls. It’s actually OK that I was doing this…Rob is away from work, it’s his birthday on Saturday when he would have the only chance to get it, and I knew what I wanted to get. I was listening to the radio to my friend Mrs Woog talk about her weight loss and a post she wrote on her blog this week and I couldn’t help but think…I really must get back into walking, and eating better and blah blah blah.

And then I remembered the week. I gave myself a bit of a slap.

The one thing that having third child has given me is perspective. I have the beauty of hindsight from all my mistakes from the other two and an opportunity to right my wrongs. It’s given me the ability to see a bad day or week, as just that. As soon as this one is over, another will appear. I know that I don’t remember any of Daisy’s bad days or week, and I certainly know just how quickly she went from a 2 year old to a 10 year old.

And the other thing that it’s given me, is an ability to know that just not right now, is OK.

You see, when you are in the trenches of motherhood, like deep, with little people…babies and toddlers it is SUCH hard work. It’s physical (running around, being stepped and climbed on, exhaustion etc) and it’s mentally gruelling (it can be mundane, relentless, boring, repetitive and mentally debilitating). It’s only now that I have one at the other end of this, and now one back in the toddler years that I remember just HOW hard those early years are (and how much of it we completely block out of our minds!). I know many of you with teenagers will roll your eyes at me and think I would take a 2 year old over a 16 year old any day, and you may well be right, but those toddler, little kid days are TOUGH. They just are.

Any ambitions you may have during these years: whether they be to exercise more, or lose weight, or start that small business, or work on your career, you know what?

It’s OK for that not to be right now.
I am giving you permission to stop beating yourself up about that.

That job you want?
That sinking feeling you get where you know that there’s more for you out there but you just don’t know what?
The desire to be able to go anywhere without dealing with a tantrum?
The wish to find time to exercise in your day?
The frustration at never having a clean house, like, ever?

IT’S OK THAT YOU CAN’T DO IT RIGHT NOW.

And this isn’t an excuse, dear lord I know I can make up enough of those to suit me. You actually cannot do it all when you are parenting small people. I have been through small people, been through to the other side, and then come back again and am reminding myself, and you, that there will be a time that you can do all those things you want, but when you are in the trenches with small people, it’s OK that you are not doing them.

You’re doing other stuff now.

And it might be mundane and frustrating and exhausting, and I guarantee that you beat yourself up about the way you could be doing it better, but it’s important. And it’s OK.

That’s all.

I reminded myself of it this morning in the car on the way to buy my own slippers for Mother’s Day. And so I thought I better remind you too.

We’re all doing the best we can.
And we’re doing alright.
And there will be a time for you, again, one day.

Except if you go back 6 years later and have another baby!!

What’s something else you can remind us all of this Thursday afternoon?
Anyone else buy their own Mother’s day pressie?
Did you get yourself something FANCY? My new slippers are very fancy!

Illustration by Brooke Smart.

Comments

  1. You have a way of posting exactly what I need to hear – today has been a TOUGH day with a sick 1 yo, a 4yo having a meltdown over shoes ALL THE WAY to Mr 6’s classroom, a trashed house that can’t stay clean for more than 5 minutes and I’m trying to work (I work from home like you), I just got some very sad news, and yes I bought myself some pyjamas for Mother’s Day. But I know what you mean about realising a bad day is just that, and tomorrow might very well be a great day. The third one changes your perspective a bit I think. Hope tomorrow is a great day for you too Beth xx

  2. Katie Elliott says:

    Oh my lord did I need to read this today! Thank you Beth. Miles is two this Saturday and a switch has been flipped. It goes beyond my experiences with toddlers in the past (never my own kid) where I can take that deep breath and get through it. Cause geez man, this is tough. No!!! Is SCREAMED at me 50 bazillion times a day and similar to Maggie, he loves to arch his back in defiance and the worst thing he does is collapse on the floor anywhere and I can’t pick him up because of my arm still recovering from it’s latest surgery. And he knows it. Gah!!! I am trying to take each day as it comes but reading this has helped.

  3. Susie Morrissey says:

    Oh Miss Beth…. you know I am one of your greatest fans and adore your blog and your stories, love you and your girls, and Miss Maggie has my ๐Ÿ’—…. but this one just got to me … I am sobbing as I write through the tears….and maybe it’s my frustration at the moment at not being able to do anything as I can’t walk for 3 months after this ankle fusion operation … but I am remembering all those years back to where you are right now…. a little similar even .. I was a mother of three divine baby girls and then second marriage later along comes the first baby boy in my family after 7 girls … the youngest girl was 8 and a half and the twins were 10 and a half! Chuck in older mother etc etc etc. step everything etc. 100 years later after much ado about a lot I am STILL, at 70 years old berating myself for not doing what I should have, could have, and maybe doing what I did wrong anyway…. sadly that baby boy is no longer with us … taken far too soon by the sickening statistic we have in our modern society today suicide…. him having to cope with all sorts from a tiny 8 year old. The point of my ramble today Beth’s people is LISTEN to what she is saying … cut yourselves some slack… we are all doing the best we can however we are doing it… forget about the clean house and the washing for a minute and take stock if you have to, give the extra cuddles and BREATHE…. it will change all too quickly and as Beth says you won’t remember a lot of the bad days. Keep doing what you do so superbly Beth… even sad 70 year old ladies benefit from your wise writing. Sending love to you and yours including Rob and Frank…. but Maggie has my heart ๐Ÿ’—๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ’— Susie xxxxx

    • Oh Susie, what a moving, honest and raw comment.
      I hear your story and appreciate your wise advice. My children are young adults, the youngest is 16. There is so much support and sharing of stories about parenting when the children are little but as they get older it seems so much harder to find that advice and voice of experience.
      I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. x

    • Beautiful words Susie, thank you for sharing your beautiful heart and wisdom with us x

  4. Natalie says:

    Bev, this is EXACTLY what my mum has been saying to me for the past three years ever since I had Maisie Moo. She keeps reminding me that there will be time for all of the stuff I want to do, to stop comparing myself to my sister whose children are older- who also manages to have her shit together a whole lot more than me (despite her being three years younger!). My biggest thing is the exercise…I rooly trooly want to do it, but it’s just not a priority at the moment. I know I should make it a priority but I don’t, and I’m okay with that most days. Some days though, I get the “I should’s”…should do this, should do that, etc…I do lots of other things for “me”, namely spending time with my family and friends, reading, planning holidays, etc…and I know that exercise is good for me….but…it falls by the wayside! (I am also dealing with an injury so there’s another “blocker” for me..or is it an excuse?! I know one day, I’ll have lots more time and that I’ll be yearning for our girls to be little again. For now, I’m doing other stuff…thank you for your post! I’m off to the doctor’s now for the little one, then school pick up, then swimming, then dinner, then school reports to write. I might attempt some squats whilst cooking the dinner ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. It’s funny, but just this morning as I was walking out of school after dropping all three off (well 2, as the eldest refuses to be seen with me in the playground), I saw some two-year-olds toddling off with their mums for a day of play and naps and screaming and I felt kind of envious.
    I guess for so many years that was me and I’m now in this scary new world where I’m trying to carve out something for myself.

    When you’re in the trenches it seems like a lifetime, then all of a sudden you’re not and it’s odd. I think I’m battling some kind of war wounds here as I adjust to life without tiny ones.

  6. Oh heavens I needed to read this today Beth. I’ve just started mat leave to have #3 and will be responsible for three kids three years old and under when Bub arrives… I’ve no idea how that will work. It is hard. My big is at Kindy and we are experiencing a friendship issue, it’s like 3 going on 13. My 18 month old still wakes three times a night and tantrums are her favourite past time. Bless them they are spectacular but sweet baby cheeses it is hard. I have been freaking out about what “another pregnant pause” is going to do to my career, marriage and body. All at the same time thinking I should enrol in a course, start a new sourdough starter, redecorate the girls bedroom and you know, find time to blog regularly and do research into whether it’s the moon that makes my whole family go bat shit crazy… why?!?! But thank you. I feel calmer after reading this and am going to have a cup of tea and a bikkie. X

  7. A wise lady once said to me “your time will come”. I often have to remind myself of this.

  8. Having a bit of a meltdown week here, too. A very determined 17 month old with a serious want for “hands on” parenting… Which is only hard if you’re trying to do ANYTHING else… Both parents are studying, so we’ve had to pick and choose who is going to get anything done this week (month!)…. So, 3 assignments overdue, crazy messy house, and everyone is seriously overtired … Not feeling like a winner! But next week, she’ll be on to something else, the assignments will be finished, the house will probably still be a mess… But sanity will return…!

  9. Thanks BabyMac. I accept your permission. At the moment with Miss 6 and Mr 2.5, I question myself constantly – why am i working, what would be a better job, what evening course can i do to reignite my crafty passions, what exercise should i do, how can i do my hair betterm what is my style? etc…but right now, for a few more years, i will pause me. I will be more grateful that i work in a non-stressful job that is 10mins drive from home (and school and daycare), and i will get unintentional exercise on the toddler walks/park visits, and i will get crafty by making all birthday cards this year. My only goal is to be more present. Soaking it up before they are teenagers. Zooooooom. Tomorrow is another day x

  10. Vanessa says:

    Thankyou Beth. We found ourselves back in baby mode 9.5 years later and she is now nearly 5! Still feeling like I am in the trenches some days with teenagers and young adults as well! Probably doesn’t help this week that it will be my first Mothers Day without my Mum but treated myself to a massage this morning.

  11. Felicity says:

    Thank you for this post Beth (as tears roll).
    Your post is a real and very much needed encouragement in the trenches with a toddler, who fights sleep refusing sleep, shouting no, melting down and who at the same time is growing into a strong and independent woman.
    As I gently try to remind myself that ‘this too shall pass’ (and probably far too quickly) it is at times a lonely experience and whilst knowing it is not a new experience your honesty, kindness and permission are immensely appreciated and encouraging.
    Thank you

  12. Heidi D says:

    no matter what stage of parenting we are at we will all have days when we wish we could fast forward or rewind. When I had a 2 year old girl smearing poo around her room I would have loved a teenager, now I have a 14 year old with everything she owns thrown around her room & a teen attitude I would love a 2 year old again. I can absolutely guarantee though that if I had been able to wave a magic wand & achieve those wishes I would have been begging to switch back in a heartbeat. There is tough stuff at every age just different tough stuff. As one of my favourite quotes says “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.
    It remains to be seen what grumpy teen does for mothers day, I kinda miss the coffee mug full of chocolates from the mothers day stand when she was little ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. “It’s ok that you can’t do it right now”… is something I needed to hear as I feed my 10 week old for what feels like the hundredth time today. Still adjusting to mum-life and it’s harder than I ever would have thought! Fighting the guilt as the washing and cleaning gets left for one more day… but in 20 years time I won’t be looking back on the laundry that didn’t get done. Just have to remember that!

    • Soak it all up…every last feed and quiet time that it forces on you…I know it;s frustrating but it goes WAY too fast!

  14. What you say is true and easily forgotten while you are going through it.
    It’s a reminder I definitely needed while I’m sitting down, post school pick up, throwing back a hot honey lemon drink (in the midst of mumflu) and my 21 month old is stuffing little cars down my t-shirt and saying DIGGER NOT LACHIE a thousand times in my ear. Name change apparently.
    My 3yr old is playing Play-Doh which I can not even bring myself to look at the tiles under him right now while also trying to get the prep boy to do readers and get changed before heading to a ‘Mothers Day pamper night’ at school at 6pm. Insert eye roll emotion here.
    Thanks for the reality check. Happy Mother’s Day to you and enjoy the schmancy slippers! I hope to receive Plants, Prosecco and possibly some Peace.
    X

  15. Marian Wiltshire says:

    Beth- it’s so hard isn’t it sometimes? Trying to be all of the things all of the time. I often feel like I’ve been an inattentive mother, less than appreciative wife, unfocused work colleague, and I am trying as hard as I can with it all. Trying to do better and slowing down when I can.
    I have decided a brand spanking new fridge is what I need for mother’s day. We have never bought one, always having hand me downs, the current version doesn’t have auto defrost, and is to say it bluntly CRAP. So after booking us in for yum cha on Sunday where I will proceed to eat all of the dumplings I can possibly squeeze in we will go and buy a shiny new fridge and I will be very pleased indeed. I look forward to seeing your new slippers!

  16. Angelique says:

    Thank YOU for writing this. Exactly what I needed to hear right now and so well articulated.
    Especially because I look at you like a superwomen doing it all and wondering how you have tje energy (I still wonder this, but it’s good to know you think these thoughts).

    xx

    • I don’t know where I have the energy either – especially looking at my week ahead…but head down and get on with it! x

  17. My kids are 18 and 21, one doing school exams the other finishing their degree. They don’t stop having bad days,weeks, months! But how I wish that I knew that when they were younger and in these tricky times, that they would pass, that it wasn’t my mistakes or my failures, it was just a season and what they need is for you to be there, even if you are in a different room(!), to keep feeding them, keep loving, keep listening (apparently they don’t always need our brilliant suggestions and solutions) and keep hugging. These childhood days go so fast, enjoy them even the ones where you just want to go and hide in your bed with lots of chocolate and a boxset. (also sometimes it’s ok to do that too) . Thanks for all your writing and encouragement.

  18. And this is exactly why I love reading your blog……because you say it as it is…..so true!!!! My angel of 8 years has hormones kicking in, I swear. Major meltdown tonight. I have no idea where it came from as it is so out of character for her, but it was bigger than Ben Hur and made me scared of what is to come in the teenage years. Will I have the strength or energy to go into battle??? It’s definitely payback time for all the hell I gave my mum. Thanks to this post I feel much better and reminded that I am not the only one who seeks to do more than my day to day duties (I would love to be doing more creative things with my time) but it’s maybe just not the right time. I don’t want to wish away this time tho either as it is sooooo precious and special. I have temporarily forgotten who I am for the past 8 years but I know she’s in there somewhere. Loving your clean windows. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  19. I was reminded that my very very close to 14 year old daughter seriously still needs her mumma when she is bed ridden with a virus and only last week was an independent teenager… oh and Year 9 naplan if your sick with a Drs certificate means narder no catch up dates you are required to sit it next year…. eye roll here. Don’t get me started on naplan….. I too have a hubby away until Saturday so I bought myself the most divine linen table cloth. Love love love it. Happy days peeps xx. And thanks for a fab blog

  20. I love my work but I’m yet to find an age where my girls need less of me to consistently do more of that without the house of cards tumbling down. When they were little I maintained a “professional presence” at work and more recently have ramped it up from time to time when needed and thankfully home has allowed. But I know that I have to keep walking that fine line to keep it all working and I genuinely feel fine about it (most if the time). Motherhood brought that into sharp focus for me. And yes far too soon they will be off living their lives and we will be thinking fondly of toddler tantrums and tween and teen angst and feeling so needed and loved. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

  21. Reannon says:

    I am at peak mothering right now. I swear, I just need, not want but NEED, a few hours to myself. I need to not be driving people here, there & everywhere. I need to not have a 3 year old who wants EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW ( should have called her Veruca Salt ). I need to have teenagers who remember to clean up after themselves. I need to grocery shop on my own so I can convert rate & not forget 5 things even though I’ve done an online shop PLUS a in store grocery/fruit & veg shop. I need some decent sleep that doesn’t involve a child in my bed or me in a child’s bed.
    And yep, I’ll be buying my own Mother’s Day gift. A book. If I can ever get to the store without a child.

    • mrshanksy says:

      I’ve been calling my daughter Veruka for years!! She’s 17 and just got her P’s and I think she is finally getting it and now gives her younger brother and sister grief about how they behave!! #circleoflife

    • Dig deep my friend. Hope you had a good day yesterday x

  22. Simply love this post and can see I am not alone with all the comments. You know you have hit gold when so many people comment.

    I am currently bunkering down in the teenage years with a almost 15 and almost 18 year old. Teenagers are no walk in the park but I still remember those toddler years, oh, do I remember those years….. As for Naplan, my youngest is about to complete his last one this week and I say good ridden’s to that.

    I do however have to share my eldest experience when she received her last ever Naplan results. She opened the envelop and then opened the letter to see how she had done (now a seasoned professional at what she was looking for). She then looked up at us and said ‘No way’, honestly thinking they have sent her someone else’s results and flipped to the front page to check if her name was actually printed there. She had over many years done pretty poorly on these tests but had never given up and by the end finally achieved the best results she ever had. I can’t say I agree with them but for her at least it was a happy ending.

  23. I am so glad I clicked on this post I really needed to see these words today.Thank you for writing and sharing them.I am struggling at the moment to keep up with everything at home, work and everything in between.I need to take a deep breath and try and get back on track.

  24. mrshanksy says:

    There’s something happening cos I also needed to read that right now!!. Hubby has been in hospital. Daughter just got her P’s – two other school aged kids but all have rep trials and zone events for all different sports and I am working full-time so can’t there to help with lifts or watch!! And I am feeling ALL of the guilt, whilst also trying to do pick-ups etc after work and shop and cook and wash and make sure my husband doesn’t do it, cos he needs to REST and I am going mental!!!! But my sister is coming up tonight from Bowral (so have to get bed ready etc) but we are going to see Anh Do and hopefully we can both stay awake (she’s a teacher and been away on Yr 6 camp!) and salvage a few laughs!! But it’s just a busy/stressful week/month right? Not a complete life right off!!!

  25. Aimee Moore says:

    Thank you for this post Beth!
    My gorgeous 14 month old bubba keeps life busy, but I often find myself wishing there were ten of me to do all the things “I should be doing” or “wish I could do”. This is my first trot in the “parenting trenches” and it’s so good to be reminded of whats ACTUALLY important. I hope you enjoy Mothers day with your beautiful girls and new slippers (and a very happy birthday to Rob too). I think I will start mothers day by giving my tiny “time eating” human some snuggles.

    • Someone once shared with me that instead of saying “should” you say “could”…that one letter makes a huge difference don’t you think?

  26. Thank you for sharing this Beth. I needed to hear those words, ‘just not right now’. One of those weeks. Your blog helped to gently remind me I’m not the only one with incredible and at times very challenging little people (Miss 5 and Miss 19 months) and not to beat myself up. My week did end on a high, thanks to a coffee and early lunch with your fabulous friend Nikki from Styling You and then a wonderful Mother’s Day and the reason why we do what we do. Thanks again xx

  27. This resonated woth me so much. The last 8 or 9 years have been a long hard slog. After 2 years of IVF I was thrilled to welcome a little boy, only to find out my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer when my eldest boy was only 6 weeks old, she didn’t make it to see his first birthday. If ever there is a time you need your mother most is when you are a new, clueless mun yourself. Instead our roles were reversed and on top of being a new sleep-deprived mum I had to nurse her and look after my Dad who was not coping, on top of studying at night to and working part time, as well as clearing out tge family home I grew up in so I could sell it and move my Dad into a retirement village to provide the care he needed. It all finally caught up with me and I found myself in a pit of despair. 8 years on and I am slowly learning to take it easier on myself. I still miss my mum so much it physically hurts, I still have to help my Dad on a regular basis and look after 2 young boys growing at a rate of knots and run a household. A couple kilos have crept on, the house isn’t as tidy as I would like, and my career is ‘on hold’ while I work in a lower paid less, career-oriented job 10 mins from home and school. My boys are only young for a while, the rest can wait.

    • Oh Helen, I’m sorry to hear what a tough time you had at such a difficult time in a new mum’s life. I hope you are slowly getting back to feeling better and recognising what an amazing job you did. I bet your Mum appreciated that love and care so much, in caring for her, she showed you how to be a Mum in a way. Lots of love to you x

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