You know that Mum
That mum that has to say no, rather than chooses to.
It sucks being that mum.
The one who uses “because I said so” as the reason behind the no
Even the kids know it’s bullshit.
That’s why they keep asking, keep pressing, keep pushing for that thing.
They know you’re saying no just to say no because you have to – well, maybe they don’t know that you have to, but they know it’s not your usual no. It’s not one you can back up, have a real reason behind.
Like the time you said no to the sweets because they’d already had an ice-cream.
Or the time you said no to that toy because they’ve already got one just like it at home that they don’t even bother with.
The times you say “No” through choice always have a reason, a valid reason that you can tell them on the spot.
None of this “because I said so” crap.
And the way that you say no is different too.
You know it, you can feel it.
They know it too, they can hear it, sense it.
So what happens?
They ask again, they pester, whine, nag.
You lose your shit, tell them off, maybe shout, and then vow to never to take them anywhere ever again to save from this headache, this embarrassment.
Embarrassment of what?
Your kids playing up? “making a scene”
Or is it you?
Your embarrassment, your shame of for not being able to say yes?
For having to say no, even though you don’t want to and have no valid reason for it (that you want to share with your kids)?
Shame at yourself for mishandling the situation and losing your shit?
I know this much…
It’s not because of the kids.
It’s not because of the looks you’re getting from passers-by, either.
They’re just strangers.
No, it’s none of that.
Amplified only because now you’re directing it at your kids.
That just makes you feel even worse.
They’re no more responsible for any of this as the people passing you by in the street.
This is on you.
This is your shit.
But you already knew that…
It’s been there all along.
But recognising it, facing up to it, acknowledging it for what it really is? That’s the painful part.
That’s the weight you’re carrying around.
The tightness in your chest, the heaviness in your heart just waiting to break out.
It’s not anger at the kids
Or that they asked for something.
It’s anger at yourself.
For not being the Mum you want to be
For not being able to provide in the way that you want
For not being “the fun Mum” that lets them do stuff, like the other mums.
For letting them down.
For feeling like a failure.
For letting yourself down.
That’s what it is, right?
You’re letting yourself down.
You feel like you’ve let yourself down just as much as them.
Everything else is just a reflection of that.
Showing you clearly.
Showing you daily.
In a way that you can’t look away from. Can’t ignore.
It shows up on repeat.
The living nightmare that you can’t escape.
THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE!
Fuck this! Fuck it all.
This is NOT how it’s supposed to be.
Not your life.
Not your kids.
But what are you gonna do?
You can’t ignore it anymore.
There’s a walking, talking, never-ending reminder tagging along for the ride, and it calls you “Mum”
How do you escape that?
So maybe, maybe? No…
There is no maybe.
It’s time to change.
Time to put it all back together again the way it’s supposed to be.
The way it’s meant to be.
But first, you need to let it fall apart.
It’s time to lean into the crap that you’re feeling.
Claim it as your own.
Then make the moves to change it into what it’s supposed to be.
What you really want.
How you really want it.
It won’t happen overnight.
It’s gonna take some time.
But you need to start today.
Don’t you think you’ve given it too many tomorrows already?
And how has that worked out for you, eh?
It hasn’t, has it?
Nah, didn’t think so.
And it’s not because I “think so”. No.
It’s because I know so.
Because I’ve been there, done that.
Had the meltdowns, the tantrums.
The shitty feeling deep in my chest.
The pit in my stomach.
The guilt – all day, every day, eating away at me one piece at a time.
I still fall into that place, that time, that situation.
Far more often than I’d like to admit.
But, this is not how it is supposed to be!
THIS is not how it’s supposed to be.
Not how you, or I, envisioned it.
So surely it’s time to fix it?
It won’t be easy.
It won’t happen overnight.
But we can get there.
Change the environment, so there’s more to do and less to have/want.
Arrange a treat day once a month, or every few months if need be, when you’ve had a chance to save up for it.
Stop putting yourself into a position where you have to say no, not just the kids.
It’s not really about the kids anyway.
It’s about you.
And the more you do this to yourself, the worse you’re going to feel.
So start a savings jar.
Take all you need with you on a picnic away from anywhere that will require you to buy anything.
Have a movie night at home. Grab the pillows and the blankets, make a den and snuggle up together in it. (unless it’s summer, then you might melt)
Play games, go for walks, have water fights, climb trees.
Keep it simple.
And build up to the bigger stuff.
Because when you do get to the other places, and you do get to say “Yes” to that thing they want, you’ll all feel better for it.