Having my kids half the time is a headf*@k. Sorry for swearing like that so early on.
There’s such a fine balance with everything (and this is in life generally in my experience, not just with shared parenting of children), and one thing (or several) can be going sweet, but then you’re out of balance somewhere else and it changes the dynamic. Swiftly. Dramatically.
Not that I want to be dramatic about this. I’ve been doing reasonable since it all began about 2 years ago, and I do truly believe that both parents should be able to raise their children, however practical and possible it is for them to do so. It’s not about disagreeing in principle with shared care. It’s about what it’s like to feel like you always have to be awesome and on it and doing the very best job, and not miss a minute, and not be grumpy or impatient or unreasonable because the next minute they’re not here, and you miss them and wish they were here so you could be exasperated at them for not going to bed the first time or eating their dinner like a human or whinging all the way to school or crying over the size of the hair lackies in the hair lacky drawer.
And they miss me too, so when I work when they’re here, the second I step out of my office (because I work from home, a very conscious choice I made so I would be more available for my family) they are all over me (nice) and then trying to get stuff out of me that they don’t ask the au pair for (irritating), and then bashing each other for my attention (flabbergasting and rage-inducing). And I feel so MAD, I want to run back in my office and shut the door and talk to the nice and reasonable adult people I work with, but I ask them to be nice, they screech some more, sometimes I screech, and then I feel bad because I know soon enough I’ll miss them. And then they go to sleep and the house is peaceful and quiet and I think how beautiful they are, and remember the cute, funny or random stuff they did all day.
I think I am impatient, I think I want it to be easier than it is, so it can be nicer than it is, and then it’s not nice or easy and I can’t seem to change that. I created peace by lying with them in the lounge room today playing Barbies with Miss 5 and 3, which lasted for about 5 minutes, and then they wanted me to read to them, had a fight over who would sit closest to me, then once I really got into Winnie the Pooh (man I LOVE the original long-winded ones!) they both got their own books and proceeded to read out loud over the top of me, but wouldn’t let me stop reading. And then I won’t even start with where is goes to after that, when it’s dinner time, and bed time and I’m impatient about that going smoothly and peacefully (because they’re both so shattered that an early night would do them and me good). And then there’s not a speck left for Miss 10, let alone me or us or writing about something other than my guilt.
What am I impatient for? What am I missing every moment I wish it would be different? Reality I guess. How it really is. Me, them, irreplaceable moments in time. What didn’t I do today that would help me appreciate that more? And how do I be OK with that?