My gorgeous friend said to me the other night how my nearly four year old child would soon start having experiences she would remember as an adult. Total recall of time.
“How amazing,” I replied smiling, but on the inside I was horrified.
Up until now I’d felt safe in the knowledge that my children had memory recall similar to goldfish. And when my friend had made her dreaded remark it was in the midst of a particularly trying moment of time for me. My husband was away for work and it was the first long stint I’d had to deal with all the children alone since two kids had become three.
For the most part, juggling the constant demands of a nearly four year old, a two year old and a three-month old on my own was as busy as expected, but it was the inability to get a moment to myself which was getting me more and more agitated. Even at night someone, other than my husband, was in my bed.
“Just give me five minutes to myself,” I’d calmly stated at first. By the end of day two I found myself shouting. “Will you just leave me alone I’m going insane.”
And at some point I found myself telling one of the children to “shut up will you”, and another “it’s not all about you, get over yourself”. Even the baby got in on the action when I shouted “no, no, no, no baby, stop crying, give me a break”.
Luckily for everyone, it was bedtime and after a couple of books they were safely in their beds – away from me. It was finally quiet. I rang my husband, ashamed at my outbursts, to admit defeat. “I am the adult,” I babbled. “I should have patience and control. They must hate me.”
After unloading, I crept down the hallway listening quietly to my two eldest children chattering away. I felt a desire to be close to them and slunk into their room ashamed.
“Please don’t remember,” I thought to myself, as I stroked the hair out of their eyes and kissed their cheeks.
“Mummy’s sorry for getting grumpy,” I whispered. “I love you very much.”
“I love you too,” said the nearly four year old. “I love Mummy,” said the two year old. I tickled them, we giggled. We made funny faces and cuddled. They’d seen me at my most vulnerable, maybe it wasn’t too bad a reality for them.
When my husband returned from his trip and was giving me some much needed space I heard his voice get strained. “Will you just stop,” he shouted at the kids. I smiled to myself and realised I wasn’t alone in my frustration – that we are all people with limitations. And our children will hopefully remember us, not for the occasional grumpy outburst, but instead, for how hard we tried and how much we love them.