Some women manage to hold down a job, raise their kids and find time to blog.
Clearly, I'm not one of those women. I don't know how they do it - and I don't even have a job. Well, not one that pays, anyway.
My blogging time has tended to be when Miss Pie has her naps, but we're currently going through that god-awful transition where day sleeps are becoming a thing of the past.
I am peeved. I need that break. Hell, she needs it - trying to rouse her from anything less than two-hours' sleep (when it's school pick-up time) is a nightmare and only results in a stroppy uncooperative child for the next few hours, making the school run hellish at times. It's kind of a lose-lose situation. If I try to enforce a nap, she fights it for ages, until sleep wins... but by then it's not enough sleep to keep her happy and willing to wake up when required. If I don't enforce the nap, then I'm tearing my hair out (unless we're out and about all day - it's at home that this is a problem). The only bright side to not napping is the speed with which she goes to sleep for the night... but I'm in denial. I love the down time I get when she naps.
I've been debating whether to write about this or not. After all, my girls may be reading this one day. The truth is, though, I'm struggling with a certain toddler. Really struggling.
We seem to lock horns and battle all day long, and I hate that. I used to think that the Faery was stubborn and we've certainly had our moments, but Miss Pie takes things to a whole other level. Resistance. All. The. Way.
There are many days where - psychologically - I'm exhausted. I have nothing left in me.
Just the simple act of getting shoes on and out the door can take up to forty minutes, because she flat out refuses to wear them, or wants to bring something entirely inappropriate along to the shops (like her pillow and top bed sheet). Often, no matter how gently I've approached things, it ends with me forcefully carrying a kicking, screaming, sobbing child down to our car park.
She has no interest in toilet training - and I'm fine with that because I'm a big believer in not forcing it until they're more than ready - but there are some days where she'll have the same nappy on for eight hours. All because I cannot get her to cooperate for a change. You can bring the horse to water but you can't make it drink, and all that. She's strong. She puts up a good fight. She won't lie down. It's incredibly frustrating.
I don't judge other parents for smacking, even though it's something I've tried to avoid so far. I understand that there's a breaking point, and my hand itches so badly some days. There's a button that's getting pressed - a lot - and I worry that the urge is going to override me one day.
I'll ask her to stop doing something, or to come to me (and explain that it's not safe/is going to break something etc) and she will look me square in the eye and continue what she's doing. She doesn't just respond with a simple 'No'... I get an emphatic "Never, Mum. Never." Or "Of course I'm being careful, Mum!"
I have forward flashes of her as a teenager, kohl-rimmed eyes, flicking a cigarette butt my way and telling me to fuck off.
Most Mondays, within half an hour of taking the Faery to school and J leaving for work, she's having her first meltdown for the day. This is despite us having had a (usually) pleasant enough weekend. It's something about one-on-one time with me that induces her fits of fury. That it happens so soon on a Monday is upsetting for me, and makes me feel as though I'm failing her in some way. The thought of enduring another five days of this leaves a dark, thunderous cloud over my head.
J's (unsympathetic) response? That I need to get a job. On one level, I know he's right. I worked three days a week when the Faery was P's age, and it seemed like the best of both worlds. It wasn't easy, but it also meant that the Faery and I didn't get a chance to butt horns all day long, all week. And so, I've started the process. My resume is brushed up, applications for casual work have been submitted... and I fantasise about Miss Pie toilet-training so that preschool can be an option a couple of mornings a week (she'll be three in a matter of months).
Giving her choices doesn't work. Cajoling doesn't work. Counting down doesn't work. Bribes don't work, unless they're of the sugary variety. A time-out corner sometimes works, but obviously I don't want to overuse that. She responds well to lots of positive feedback, but I'm not always in the frame of mind to construct what I say in a positive slant when she's being a royal turd.
Who is this complex little being that she's growing into? She has such a strong sense of self. Taking things literally, if we dare call her a clown or monkey, she defiantly tells us, "No, I not. I P----!" She insists on doing everything herself,
Her current favourite phrase, when we're walking somewhere and she wants to stop a moment, is "Wait a second minute!" Hard not laugh whenever I hear that.
And despite all the headbutting we do, when she hurts herself enough to cry and need comfort (she's a tough cookie), I'm the only one she wants. Every little thought or desire that pops into her head, she runs to me to share it with. At those times, I remind myself that I must be doing something right.
It's hard to always see it that way, though. A lot of the time, I just feel like I'm doing it wrong.