I'm been a bit worse for wear this weekend. My cough has just got so much worse and I'm tired and achey. On Saturday I thought I was just hungover, which is such a rarity these days, as I just don't drink much at all. On Friday afternoon I took the boys for an afternoon play date at the home of one of Brown Bear's school friends. Her mum fired up the barbeque and had the paddling pool out and all of us mums sat in the garden chatting and enjoying lovely food and drink while our kids played and had fun. I had the best afternoon I've had for a long while. Hence more to drink that I am used to.
These mums knew me before Blue Bear came along and are kind enough to say they can see how far we've come. Their children are the same age as Brown Bear so if he's being annoying they help give me a sense of perspective as they also deal with similar behaviours from their own. Instead of worrying and being on edge I decided to enjoy some wine and to kick back. I called Hubbie to come and pick us up so I didn't have to drive and I'm so glad I did. I needed to give myself a break. I needed to just be nice to myself for a change.
I've heard it so many times and I've never really believed it. It is clearly true though - I am too hard on myself. I set myself unrealistic standards and if I fall short I punish myself forever. I spend far too much time telling myself that I fall short as a parent and as a result of this self-flagellation I'm not as good as I could be. The self-fulfilling prophecy nature of parenting is brought into even sharper focus during the school holidays when we're all trying to keep the kids busy and ourselves from going spare at the same time. I find myself shopping almost every day to keep on top of packed lunches for playscheme and food to stop the boys from yelling at me when they are tired and hungry. I can't leave the house without a kit bag of snacks, drinks and - as I discovered on Friday when I forgot it - my band card in case of unexpected spends.
The reality I have to face is that I only need to aim for average. This isn't an instagram family with perfect shots of us all laughing and smiling and playing in fun and exciting places. So long as my boys are fed, watered and safe I have fulfilled the basics. Anything above and beyond is a bonus, but not necessary. I'm not about to win any awards for this. I'm too short-tempered and my kids are too sarcastic for that to happen.
If I find myself getting all het up I'm going to remember that I'm with them every day and no one can sustain joy and happiness all the time. Instead of setting myself unrealistic goals I'm going to be kind to myself and them.
My aims for this week are simple - to smile at my kids, to hug my kids, to tell them I love them. If I manage to do that I'll consider that a win.