Throughout my life and even more prevalent in my parenting journey I have carried a bag of emotions. It began with sadness because I felt I could be better, like I should be better for my children and for myself. Along the way I picked up guilt, a big pile of it. For all the things I couldn’t give my child, for every production I miss, for the time I wasn’t there and for the time I needed a moment to myself – and took it.
Jealousy was another that somehow I managed to load into my bag of emotions. I was jealous that some mums just made it look so easy, that they handled parenting as if they were made to do it and then there was me, crying in the shower because I was torn between sitting with my baby asleep on my chest or being clean – I now would rather smell than miss that fleeting moment, but at the time I was a very different person.
Loneliness is something that has been a shadow in my parenting, always there, you can see it but never quite touch it. 8 years worth of times where being alone in the dark, alone in the coffee shop or even alone at the doctors with a crying baby or toddler felt like I was the only person in the world at that moment. The only person who couldn’t soothe their baby, the only person who has a toddler who would look them in the eye before defying every rule I had ever placed.
In my bag I dragged around Guilt, Loneliness, Jealousy and Sadness. I should be clear here and say yes, they are mixed with joy, love, elation, exhaustion and so much more but they weigh the most. The emotional equivalent of a ten ton weight, times 4.
Parenthood isn’t the hardest thing on earth, it is wonderful and brings with it a lot of joy. However it is the emotional torture we put ourselves through continually that beings to weigh us down, or gives us the feeling of being mentally and physically tired. As a parent saying no is second nature, we feel we know what is best for our child, we know what they need and how to provide for them, but it’s when it comes to things we think they should have and they don’t have that we start to unravel.