I was feeling good this morning. I had a lot on my to-do list but I felt like I could do it. On my motivated days, I feel like I can sort my life out in 12 hours (but fall into a deep sense of failure when I don’t, because hello, I’m a Capricorn, that’s kinda my jam).
I started off strong. Fed myself and my toddler breakfast. Washed dishes. Finished and published a blog post. Showered and washed my hair. Put make-up on. Clothed my toddler. Put a load of laundry on. Answered emails. Researched a job that I’d like to apply for.
It got to 10:30 AM and things started falling down the ‘Hopeless Hole’ – something depression and anxiety like to create, making every new idea, new potential challenge, feel like it’s a pointless endeavour.
The ‘Hopeless Hole’ ignited a vicious cycle of negative thinking, ending up with myself sitting at the table in front of the laptop, head in my hands.
Too many tabs were open, both on screen and in my mind.
More things were piling up on me – too many to list really. The main focuses of the day were an important phone call about an upcoming event, as well as the chasing of an emergency prescription for my antidepressants. Add a bored/hungry/tired toddler to the equation, and you can imagine my stress levels.
After feeding my daughter lunch, we went out to buy a few groceries and thankfully pick up my last minute prescription. The buggy started acting up, making us stuck on a particularly thin part of pavement, with two large tractors passing each other (just about) on the road. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I was desperate to offload all my stresses to someone but instead had a cry on the side of our street, letting my toddler out of the buggy to splash in puddles as I eventually gathered myself.
We went indoors, I tried to get my daughter to nap as normal but to no avail. At that point I had had enough, was too hungry and drained to continue trying to get her to sleep, so I put Moana on the TV.
The TV stayed on for ages. I gave myself an hour or so of not entertaining my daughter, to give myself a break and a chance to eat. The TV stayed on for a while longer, with some intermittent playing together.
I really do try my best to entertain my toddler as much as possible, to get her to play outside as much as the Scottish weather permits us – but sometimes the TV becomes her third parent.
I don’t feel shame for it, because it is crucial to my own survival.
I have myself to look after too, and sometimes I need more than one nap’s worth of time (which is variable, see above). It doesn’t make me ‘lazy’. It makes me human.
TV is a great third parent. It’s always there when I need it. Always captures my daughter’s attention, always distracts her if she’s had a tumble.
I rely on it perhaps more heavily than some because I don’t have any family nearby to lend a hand. I do have a volunteer from a local charity who looks after my daughter whilst I am at my weekly counselling sessions, but that’s it. It’s 90 minutes a week of breathing space.
I need my breaks, my time to recharge, and sometimes the TV enables that.
I used to be one of those people that would see a kid watching a video on a tablet whilst riding the tram, and SCOFF. Thinking; “my kid won’t be doing that”. But now, I see my ignorance, and I would LOVE for just my phone plan to include more data, so that my daughter and I could ride the bus in peace.