We don't use the naughty step or time out in this house. That's not to say we haven't tried it, it just didn't work for us. But I'll tell you who it does work for... me.
Today I called in sick. I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and every single day of the year. Like all mums. I haven't taken a sick day in the almost four years I've worked for my daughter and I haven't taken annual leave either, that's not to say I haven't wanted to. Often.
When you're running on not a lot of sleep, sleep that might seem to your partner as long 11-7(ish) when in actual fact is pretty much nothing when it's disturbed the whole time (the sleep I get), you slowly (dripping tap slowly) start to lose your mind. And when you start to lose your mind at one of the most depressing times of the year, you're heading for a meltdown. Three year old style.
Last night was hard, I was tired(!) and she spent the night coughing and snotting everywhere. At twenty to three she woke up and so we went and ran the shower for a while to help clear her nose. And then she didn't want to go back to sleep because according to her, it was morning. So the whining (her) and shouting (me) continued until five twenty when she decided that actually, she was tired. Until six thirty when my husband took her downstairs. I slept on and off until half eight and then decided that I was going to follow through with my 4am threats to him, I was having a day off.
I got up, showered and dressed and went out wearing pink lipstick because last week I wore it and had a really good day (I'd like to think it was the lipstick that did that). Not bothered that Tuesday's are busy and important in his world because My world was about to explode. I could sit here and write a 3000 word essay on how he simply cannot begin to understand just how I feel but a friend pointed out I couldn't possibly understand how hard it is for him either. She has a point.
What I did this morning was remove myself from a situation I could feel turning unsavoury. It could've gone two ways: I was either going to pack a bag and leave or a have a really messy meltdown that wouldn't have been that nice to watch. I'm glad I took some time out, I went shopping and met a friend and laughed and forgot about the shitstorm that was heading my way. Then I felt relief. Because we are all going through this, together. Every other mother has felt this way at some point. It's part of being a parent.
And then I got home after four hours and that horrible knot in the bottom of my stomach came back. The dread of getting through another night without drowning myself in a bath of vodka. So I gritted my teeth, locked myself in the bathroom for half an hour and cried until I didn't want to scream anymore and now it's time to carry on as usual. Dinner, bath, bed. Because tomorrow is another day.
Except tomorrow I'll be wearing a new pink lipstick.