I saw you today.
You didn’t see me. You didn’t know I watched you as I passed you by.
But I saw you. More than that: I felt you.
Because I’ve been you.
Parenting is not how most of us thought it would be. The myths, perpetuated by hundreds upon thousands of carefully filtered social media moments and magazine features, turn out to be just that.
The reality is anything but.
I wonder what it was today. Was it the way your oldest two had bickered and pinched and wailed and fought from the moment they opened their eyes?
Was it the bone-crushing exhaustion which comes from year upon year upon year of broken nights’ sleep; momentary blessed collapses into oblivion fractured all too soon by the start of another series of unending demands?
Was it the sensation of drowning, however hard you try to desperately keep your head above water?
Was it the picture perfect #makingmemories lives that everyone other than you seems to be living, played out in glorious technicolour across social media?
Was it the seemingly total and irretrievable loss of self?
Was it the loneliness?
Was it the crushing weight of guilt, that feeling that, while you love your children, with an intensity that is all consuming…that there are times when you really don’t like them very much?
Times when you don’t like being a parent.
Times when you wonder what the hell you’ve done.
Because I’ve been you too.
I am you.
So the next time it feels like it’s too much. The next time you put your head in your hands in the midst of the noise and the chaos and weep. The next time that you feel that you can’t take another moment, another second of this.
Know that it gets better.
Know that it isn’t for ever.
Know that you’re not alone.