Understanding Your Limitations

 

Before I start, I want to emphasise that I love my kids. Really love them. The love I feel for them is the purest and deepest emotion I have ever experienced, and will undoubtedly always remain that way. Some may not believe me after they read my post, while others, hopefully, will be able to closely relate.

I have been thinking about writing a post on the subject, when this popped up on my feed. I felt such a deep resonance with the words; it seriously could have been written by me, about me. Among other things, it broached the somewhat tricky subject of when you need time away from your kids; when they become almost enough to drive you insane, seriously. Most people are frustrated by their kids at some point, but sensitive people really struggle at times. Like the poster, I also had such a hard time when my first child was born; I used to say it was because I was selfish and set in my ways, which to some degree is probably true, but I think it is more the fact that I could never escape. He was always around; if I went somewhere, he came with me. It was suffocating.

I have spent the last two weeks in our family’s idyllic summerhouse. It’s by the beach, in the middle of a forest, and I love it here. The first week was amazing – we were here as a family, and there was the opportunity to dive into a book and lose myself for a while. This second week it has just been me and the kids. To be honest, this idyll has reverted to a living hell. The kids go to bed the same time as me, and wake up the same time. They are there every second of every day. I have seriously not had more than a minute to myself for a week. Yes, I hear the non-sensitive among you saying. That’s what parents do; that’s what you sign up for. But, to a sensitive person, it is akin to torture. I can’t think straight, I am grumpy, snappy and quite unforgivingly horrible to the kids. Things that wouldn’t normally bother me are sending my emotions into a devastating maelstrom. If nagging was an Olympic sport, I would win gold.

In reality, I don’t want to get away from my kids. What I do want to do, is get away from the noise, from the inane childish chatter, from the constant questions. I want to sit quietly for five minutes to settle my thoughts. It’s the inability to do that, even for just a few minutes, that puts enormous pressure on my whole being.

None of us feel good; that I am sure of. My eldest is very sensitive and also feels the need to get away, but can’t either. At home he escapes to his room with his iPad, but with a poor internet connection, he doesn’t even get that luxury here. So, we are constantly butting heads, with ever-increasing abandon. For the first time ever, I put them to bed last night without giving them a cuddle. I mean, the first time EVER in their lives. Their crime? Silly, childish hysterics and behaviour. How horrific, eh? But, in my defence (and I am feeling the need to defend my actions, probably because I am so aware that it is me in the wrong) it came at the pinnacle of a very stressful and frustrating day, and it was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back. I always tell them that no matter what happens, nobody should go to sleep sad or cross. I broke my promise last night with a cold and uncaring heart. I needed to get away from them, and the only way I could do that was to sleep. I must just point out that I am not Cruella de Ville; my kids didn’t wail themselves to sleep feeling abandoned by the only person they could depend on. They went to sleep as soon as their heads hit the pillows, but even so. It’s the principle that matters (and hurts in the cold light of day).

I am trying to be magnanimous about this; I could easily allow myself to slip into a quagmire of self-flagellation, as I have done numerous times in the past, but I am trying not to beat myself up about something I literally have no control over. It isn’t about me getting a grip, or needing to stop stressing. This is who I am; how I am made. When forced into a situation where there is no escape, even if that is from my children, I became claustrophobic to the point of distraction.

We’ve had a better day today. We’ve been down to the beach, and I have dipped in the refreshing Baltic. It’s swept away lots of negativity and frustration; it’s re-charged my batteries. I’ve survived to live another day.

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6 thoughts on “Understanding Your Limitations

  1. Non-contact hug 🙂 You know I know EXACTLY how you feel. I screamed for ten minutes at my son yesterday because he didn’t eat his breakfast (he’s 3) and at tea time I yelled at my 5yo daughter because of her fantastic school report. Seriously. Beause she was stamping her feet and refusing to tidy up, when her school report describes a calm, happy, helpful child that I rarely see. But underneath it all I know these poor parenting moments are because I’m ‘thin’. That’s how I describe it to hubbie. I get rubbed thin until I have no layers of protection and I feel the frustration and rage bubbling up. School holidays haven’t even started yet! I get 18 hours a week when both kids are at school/preschool but sometimes it isn’t enough. I love my children, but if I had known I was HSP/Introvert before I had them, I might have seriously wondered if motherhood was for me. So I get it. Don’t beat yourself up. Put some headphones in and try to switch off if you can. I know it’s hard. This too will pass. Xx

    • Thank you so much! You always know how to make me feel just that little bit less alone! I had removed this to the trash (or thought I had), because only a few hours after publishing, it sounded so self-absorbed to me. I use the blog as a way to express things I would never tell anyone in real life, and sometimes it goes deep, revealing more about who I am than I am sometimes comfortable with (who likes their negative traits?). Thanks again for getting it! And I really like the analogy “thin” – it really does explain it all!

  2. Thank you for posting this, it is exactly how I feel, I also suffer with misophonia and feel completely drainned by my children and outside influences. I then spend my evenings dwelling on what a terrible mother I must be as all I want to do is sit alone in a quiet room. I hope it helps you to talk about it and I’m sure you’re a great mother x

    • Thank you! I think it is really hard to admit when your children are draining you – mine are particularly triggering my misophonia at the moment, and it makes me so crabby! Some wise person once told me that the fact that you worry about being a good mother, means you are! People who aren’t rarely care!

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