I started writing this post a few days back before I had my tantrum that saw me quit parenting for a night and fall asleep at 6.15pm. Those who follow my Facebook posts clearly resonated with my mummy meltdown.
But back on Tuesday, I so was frustrated with myself that I couldn’t get my words out. I sat at my computer trying to write both a column and a blog post and approximately four coherent words fell onto the page. Even less fell out of my mouth. In hindsight (oh, that value is priceless), it was because I was exhaustimipated.
It has, without a doubt, been a massive week and weekend. Two birthdays then two birthday parties. We do a party every second year but it appears that they are getting bigger then Ben Hur. I was super organised because that is how I roll. I was very calm all weekend which also surprised me.
During the busyness that is a birthday extravaganza, my reaction to some stupidity that seemed super important to a newly nine year old was blurted out as, “I am doing the best I can.”
Wash, rinse, repeat after me.
I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN.
What I hadn’t appreciated was that the kids would be very accepting of this as a satisfactory answer. And to be quite honest, I was really comfortable saying it and a little bit proud. Nay, a lot proud.
The kids spent the week in a spectacularly impressive “want, want, want” mentality as they were inundated with birthday excitement. Although I wanted to shout that theirs were simply first world problems, I refrained and answered their constant (and often unreasonable) demands with, “I am doing the best I can.” Mostly they shrugged their shoulders and walked away. They were either happy with my answer or knew that they’d pushed that boundary. And most of the time when these words left my lips, I did not shout. All remained calm and coordinated.
The one thing I do know is that my ‘best I can’ is really actually quite good. I don’t mean this to sound arrogant for it is the furthest thing from that you can imagine. When you do the best you can, it really is good. Really good. Because it is the best you can do. We should pat ourselves on the back more for this very reason. And not Judgy McJudgerson. For in my world, and for that mum on the iPhone like me, judging is for bitches.
My best I can weekend included a great disco party for the entire class plus the teacher which was as chaotic and noisy and exhausting as it sounds. But my seven year old loved every bit of it. She even loved her sugar free and dairy free cake which most kids left on the plate. Her resilience is phenomenal and sometimes she surprises me with her insightfulness. She knows that this is her birthday cake option so she scoffed it with coconut cream and all. If it was on offer she would have eaten it with a camomile tea. She is doing the best she can.
The next day we backed it up with a roller skating party. “It is roller BLADE-ING now mum”, says the newly nine year old rolling her eyes. I’d like to roller blade her rolling eyes.
Nine year olds are an awesome lot. The only problem were the bazillion extra grey hairs I sprouted watching precious offspring whizz around on concrete. Whilst many of them were completely hopeless in the first 30 minutes, they all kept trying and did the best they could. At the end of the party there was a whole room of exhausted but proud nine year olds. And I learnt a lot from them.
I learnt that trying is the best you can.
I learnt that resilience and bouncing back (or bouncing on concrete) is the best you can.
I learnt that friendship and awkwardness and learning how to manage all of that, is the best you can.
I learnt that birthday parties and parenting and trying to hold a conversation are the best I can.
And I learnt that sometimes just getting through my day without having a complete meltdown is the best I can.
So I invested back in myself this week. I will do extra Pilates and no mid week running thanks to sheer exhaustion. Then I decided to give a shit about my exhausted appearance and play along with Style and Shenanigans and her #snstexture. This means that I consciously get dressed and put on my game face every day. Faking it has worked for me in the past and this week, it has been a fabulous way for me to feel like I am doing the best I can.
Then at the end of a seriously large amount of sleep over the past two nights, I picked up the one fanged monkey from day care. He has oddly had an aversion to painting (I know, go figure) for the entire year. He straight out refuses to join in. What it is about, I have no idea. His speech is not clear enough for him to articulate that. But for whatever reason, he decided that yesterday was the day that he was going to do the best he can. And he did this.
Colour him a painter. Colour him doing the best he can.
Colour me red because doing the best I can should scream confidence + bravado. Doing the best I can IS the best. And that feels like the bravest thing I have done in a long time.