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Fat Mum Slim /

I have a little ritual on Thursdays. After the kids have gone to school, I run around and do a quick tidy, put some washing on, check my emails and then I sit down in the quiet of an empty house and I watch the latest episode of This Is Us. For those not acquainted with the TV show it’s a drama series based around three siblings who are 37, which happens to be the same age as me.

Each time I watch the show, I cry. Not just misty eyes, but big fat tears falling in my lap kinda crying. I audibly sob too. And I love it. There was a time in my life, before kids, that I rarely cried. I probably went almost a year or so without crying. I just didn’t. Now though, I cry regularly on Thursdays and it feels so good. Such a release. {I know that it sounds like I schedule time to cry, and that’s so weird, and it isn’t but this show, it hits me in ALL the feels. It’s so good}.

In one episode, a few weeks back, the whole family {the mother and the three siblings} were in a therapy session, and everything was unraveling. They were talking about hairy stuff, deep stuff and confronting stuff. I hate when people tell me about their dreams, or about TV shows, so I want to keep this as short as possible so I don’t make you fall asleep. The mother, after hearing all the stuff that they felt she’d done wrong as a mum, spoke up and said, “I know we had moments”.

And it got me.

Right now, in this stage of my parenting life, it got me. Amidst all the begging kids to find shoes, or homework battles, or trying to get kids to eat things that are green, we have moments. Moments of laughter, happiness and memory making. Moments of love. We have moments.

Most of the time, as a parent, I feel like I’ve lied in my resume, stating I was an Expert Hostage Negotiator, when I am most definitely not. My negotiation skills are lacking, and I feel like I’m losing more than I’m winning.

We were driving along in the car recently and a cool song came on, and one of the kids asked me to turn it up, so I did a smidge. And then the other kid asked me to turn it down, because she was trying to concentrate on something. My days are filled with moments like these. They fight over the colour towels they use at bathtime, the side of the bath they each sit on {no one wants to sit near the plug hole}, the colour plate they eat dinner from, who gets what apple, who gets to sit next to me, who gets to check the mail, and probably who is going to send their mother insane.

Driving along in the car, with the radio on that song, my eldest sister beside me, with the kids in the back begging me to simultaneously turn the radio both up and down, I lost it. I turned to my sister, and I said, “I can’t. I can’t. I just can’t.”

Right then, I realised that parenting is a series of negotiations and refereeing opportunities that I’m not equipped enough for. I turned around to them, yelled something about being quiet, and turned the radio off, and kept driving in silence.

I love my kids, that goes without saying, but gosh things get more challenging as they get older. I wasn’t expecting it.

I can only hope, that one day if we ever need therapy and I’m having to justify my parenting… or even if they’re reflecting on their childhoods that they remember the moments. The good moments, not the ones where I lose my mind about what level the radio is on. {And I mean really lose my mind}.

Where are you at with parenting? What are you finding challenging right now?