We (ChargeNet) are up to nearly 50 stations in the ground. The Auckland network remains incredibly quiet, but the rest of the nation is doing quite nicely thank you very much. Too many new projects and not enough people, so very typical third year – and it looks like impressive viability in the crazy world that is lean start-up. There’s been a total restructure (Phteven stole my GM, with my blessing, kinda) as well.
Today is also School Holidays official kick off as it is the first Monday of the two week “break” where bedraggled and world-wearied parents have to scramble to find childcare or alternative arrangements as the schools shut their hallowed halls to the children for an entire fortnight.
Every ten weeks we get to repeat this incredible dance, exhausted before it even begins. By week two, there are parents all over New Zealand curled up in the fetal position crying on the floor outside the loo in their home, sobbing into a towel and mumbling: “Why can’t you juusssssttt fucking fluuuuussshhhh the godamned toilet!”
The struggle is real. I’ve been there. It’s fucking intense.
So add to this the fact we are leaving for a week or two of Canadian summer. Have I packed? No. Have I planned? Not really no. Have I told my family I am coming? Kind of… But no not really. I told them July. This is July right?
And just to add further insult to injury I am on a dramatic down swing in the mood department. Not sad, just very, very angry. I have a short fuse with most people, particularly anyone I actually give a fuck about. Feel free to ask my best friend Rebekah, or my husband or any of the children about my current state of play in the fuse department. It. Is. Short. Just like me.
So tonight, after losing the proverbial plot at our seven year old son, after he pelted his guest in the side with the swiss ball, after three firm and clear warnings to stop playing so rough, I was given a timely reminder about my temper.
Adam, after being spoken to in the balanced mom-voice, was asked to go to his room for the 7 minutes that is standard for his seven years of age. The fate of his sleepover at Lolo’s house was in the balance, and he was told (in the aforementioned mom-voice) to make better decisions or lose his sleepover tonight. Rather than taking the mom-voice delivered advice, he hurled some abuse and told me he wished I would die. Pretty standard operating for our fraught relationship, but it still hurts.
I smacked his ass as he ran up the stairs. If you are a parent who rages against corporal punishment, I need to take a moment to say: PLEASE chill the fuck out.
The single thing that has been hardest and most important to learn after four very, very, different and undeniably demanding children, is this: Do. Not. Judge. Other parents are fighting their fucking battles and always, always intervene and speak up if you suspect abuse or interference or have genuine concerns for a child’s safety. But in the general running of life, most of us make some fairly big mistakes, but we almost always have our kids’ best interests at heart. We have three other children who never, or nearly never get any form of physical discipline, because other forms of reward and punishment are incredibly successful. Nothing gets through to Adam when he goes into the zone.
After the altercation, and some cooling off time. I ventured back into my middle son’s room. Feeling like a prize shit for smacking his ass, and painfully, in fact palpably aware that the reason this child pushes my buttons is because he is just like me.
So I stood and looked across his huge room, and over his big fluffy duvet, and saw his tiny arms crossed and his beautiful bow lips curled in a pout. And my heart fucking broke, as it does a hundred times a day, because I can’t make this shit any easier for either of us.
And as is always the case, he wound himself up so tightly he just wanted to further fuck things up by any means possible, to confirm his belief that he’s worthless. This child is most certainly not worthless. He is kind, and fizzes with hope and joy. It scares strangers, friends, and even his immediate family how clever and insightful he is sometimes. And he flies completely off the handle at the slightest thing and there is no rhyme nor reason, and the years of therapists, diagnoses, and intervention have not put this child’s demons to rest.
I asked my son what my punishment ought to be for doing exactly what I was upset at him for doing, taking things too far. And I asked him if he understood that the reason it made me so sad, and so angry was that he was just like me, and that is a part of me that I am deeply ashamed of.
And he looked at me, not with his glazed over angry eyes, but with his hurt doe eyes. And he said: “Your punishment is you aren’t getting any punishment. Even though you deserve it. You just have to keep feeling bad.”
And there went the waterworks.
Mom tears and a I took my troubled son into my arms and we sat there and laughed and cried for a little while. He squeezed me so tight. And I returned his pressure with appropriate mom-forced hugs.
So that’s it.
Work is nuts. Life is beyond busy. The kids are all busy and beautiful and broken in their own ways. My heart is full and my cup is empty, and I will be braving a long haul flight with four feral but fabulous humans that I cooked in my very own body.
Wish me luck.
Thanks for reading.