The Parenting Rollercoaster
The wise philosopher Ronan Keating once sang, ‘Life is a rollercoaster,’ and I'm pretty sure he was talking about parenthood.
It's true I was fairly emotionally expressive even before having kids. I have been known to shout, ‘Pick a lane, any fucking lane, you wanker,’ while driving. I have also been known to laugh hysterically on drunken nights out and cry at those Britain's Got Talent VTs because it's the first time they've had the courage to sing since their cat died.
I knew there was an emotional range there to start with.
But Christ Alive I’ve never known a rollercoaster of emotions quite like the last 3.5 years.
Gone are the 'good days' and 'bad days'. Days are less easy to emotionally rank now. Sometimes I encounter the full spectrum of emotions in the same day. Sometimes I encounter the full spectrum of emotions in the same hour..
There are times I feel angry.
Because try as I might to suppress those feelings of fury there is only so much food-refusal, sofa dive-bombing and incessant whinging that one mortal can take. I mutter, 'For fuck's sake,' at least 127 times a day.
There are times I feel guilty.
Bastard sodding guilt creeps up on me and smacks me around the face. At times, it's just a niggle of guilt but other times I swear it is trying to suffocate me, punishing me for getting angry and feeling bored and sometimes wishing I was at work. Guilt tells me I'm hands down the shittiest mother in the entire history of shit mothers.
There are times I feel happy.
And really bloody thankful. Not just averagely-pleased happy but overwhelmed-with-joy happy, bursting with pride and gratefulness for all that I have and all that we are as a family. Times when I find myself laughing at hilarious things the boys have done or smiling like a loony from ear to ear, wondering what I could possibly have done to deserve so much greatness in my life.
There are times I feel scared.
Scared of how much I love them. Scared about letting them go out into the big wide world (okay pre-school, but it is bigger and much wider than the living room). I feel scared when I can't see them or hear them. Even when they had a sleepover at Nanny's I couldn't bear to look at their empty beds because I knew it would trick my mind into thinking what if .... what if the unthinkable ever happened. I can't even type it. And it all takes its toll, doesn't it? The laughing, then crying, then shouting, then worrying and then laughing some more. It's not surprising parents feel tired. But I think I'm learning to accept it. To take the crushing lows with the pretty remarkable highs and heed Ronan's advice about the rollercoaster.
We just gotta ride it.