0 comment Sunday, May 25, 2014 |
The other weekend I suffered what one might call an emotional blow out. The kids were banging right at the top of their I NEED ATTENTION o'meter, but when I asked my mind to come up with something for us to do as a family, first my mind went blank, then it kept churning out the word 'jigsaw'. Jigsaw. Jigsaw. Jigsaw.
I, however, could not bare the thought of doing yet another jigsaw with the kids. Nor another board game. Nor another game of cards. Nor another drawing or painting. Nor could I bare the thought of cake making, a ball game or trip to the park.
So, I went to husband and told him that we really needed to do something with the kids or they were gonna blow, but as I couldn't think what to do, he needed to. I don't know what his mind churned out, but the next thing I knew he was pottering outside in the garden with a haunted look on his face.
And so the kids lost it. They had a "fight" (tickling each other gets out of control) ending in daughter getting "hurt" (oh pur leeze), for the third time that day, the fifth time that week, the tenth time that month. I am mighty sick of that trick. 'I'm bored, resentful my mum's attention is elsewhere, let's tickle my brother until he kicks me in the face!'
So, I brought emotional Armageddon down on my family. I believe the explosion could be seen from the moon.
Later that week I figured out what had happened. I was experiencing burn out. The reason all my mind could do was chuck the word Jigsaw at me is because my mind is starting to breakdown. It's tired with constantly having to come up with clever and effective ways of keeping my two adopted children from reaching a point of emotional blow out. And they can get to that point pretty damn quickly. And it doesn't matter if you've just spent the last month feeding their need for attention like you're a 24hr attention shovelling robot, the minute that you stop shovelling attention into them, the very minute, they can blow.
And for the last nineteen months I've carried this burden of emotional regulation of the family and I've grown tired. And not just me. Husband's clearly tired too. On evenings and weekends, we put our needs, and our relaxation to one side and make it all about the kids. We do what they like to do, what's good for them, what they enjoy. We take very little time to do what we like to do, or what's good for us, or what we enjoy.
We can be relieved for an hour or so in the morning whilst they watch TV or play on the DS, but we'll mostly be doing chores in that time. We can get more relief for an hour or so when they're allowed on the wii at 4pm, but one of us will be cooking the tea at that time. Every other hour of the weekend is about them.
And That's fine, in theory, because our kids need us to put that much into them, and they're thriving on it. But on the other hand, it's not fine, because husband and I are human beings in our own right and it's our weekend too. I have realised that if we don't start to take more than the fag ends of time to indulge in our own hobbies, passions and leisure activities, we'll turn into zombie like parents, going through the motions of play with our kids, the real us having long since died out. Or I'll turn into a screaming banshee like I did the other weekend.
And so, being the problem solver that I am, I problem solved, and tonight husband's olds are coming over to babysit so husband and I can go the the pictures! This is only the fifth time we have have been out as a couple in one and a half years. And - this is the really good bit - husband's olds are also taking the kids for a sleepover, for the first time, this coming weekend. That will give husband and I Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, Saturday night and Sunday morning to do whatever it is that we want to do.
Such a break will help mightily in the short term, but for the long term husband and I obviously have to start factoring our own enjoyment and relaxation into matters, or we're not going to make it.

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