As I write, it’s the first day of 2018. Typically, a day when we look ahead, filled with wonder and anticipation about what the year may hold. But I am thinking about yesterday. Particularly, a fight between my twin boys who are ten.
Hubster was busy doing something. I can’t remember what exactly – you know how the days blur in the week between Christmas and New Year. I was dressed and readying myself for the day that lay ahead. I was in the bathroom, fixing my hair with my most beloved possession, my GHD, and I heard screaming. Not little girl, fun-type screaming, more like an anger-infused, high-pitched, can’t-take-a-breathe sort. Times two. Because twins.
I gently lay down my GHD on the bench in the bathroom and walked the length of the hallway to investigate. Hubster was only two steps behind me. As we entered the boys’ bedroom, the screaming reached ear-piercing heights, and we saw with some horror, the two of them dirty-fighting. On top of each other, wrestling, scratching and – oh my god – biting. We got them apart. But there was still screaming. Now mine was added, in a failed attempt to get them to stop, take a breath and listen to me and their dad.
Here in Australia, we’re in the second week of our summer holidays. These stretch on interminably. I’ve said many times, if we were able to go on a long overseas (or even interstate) holiday, or if we owned a beach house, the school holidays wouldn’t be so bad. But we rarely go on a holiday, simply because we’re a one-wage family, and while I do a bit of freelance writing, it is never enough to count for anything other than to pay for extra-curricular activities for the kids, or sometimes, a trip to the hairdresser for me. And we don’t own a beach house. So we’re stuck in our house. For weeks on end. Of course, we do outings and movies and the like. But these are intermittent. They get bored. I get shitty and wonder why I screwed up my life by becoming a mum. It all spirals downwards quickly, usually on the second day.
Back to the screaming. As it lessened in decibel level, Hubster and I were able to decipher that, Twin 1 had bitten Twin 2’s leg. Twin 2 had clasped his hands around Twin 1’s throat. What happened prior, to escalate to this, I have no freakin’ idea. They both pointed fingers at each other, and one shouted, ‘But he did *insert anything*’ while the other yelled, ‘Yeah, but he called me *insert name-calling*’. It’s a lose-lose when we endeavour to go down this path. I looked at Twin 2’s leg. I have never seen such an imprint. It was a perfect stamp of Twin 1’s teeth. A forensic pathologist may have been able to identify the person who made this mark, if necessary. Which of course it wasn’t. Twin 1 had no markings around his neck, so I focussed my attention on Twin 2, and asked him to sit on the couch while I brought over an ice-pack. Then, I sat beside him and went through him like a tsunami. Twin 1 was sobbing in his bedroom. Good that he felt guilty, I guess.
There are times when I think they’re going backwards. Or maybe it’s me who is going backwards. I don’t know how I’m stuffing up the parenting gig, but I know that I am. It’s hard, and I feel rather ill-equipped for the task. I look around and everyone else seems to have it together: brightly glowing with the appearance of calm, patience and happiness. Um, how does this happen? Are there actually people who are rocking this parenting gig?
Parenting is, I suppose, on a spectrum. There are times when all of us rock it. Other times we fail abysmally. There must be others out there who are like me, and wonder why we got into this lifestyle, who feel too, like they are going backwards. But I believe, in those times, we should choose to be kind to ourselves, pick up and raise our focus forwards.
Let’s remember that we are all in this together. Ask for help if and when you need it. Drink the wine. Eat the cake. Exercise your way through. Whatever it is, do it until your spirits lift. And I will too.