I'm driving along in my car, down a country lane. I pull over at a layby. Stop the car. Undo my seatbelt and get out.
I'm exhausted but I know this needs to happen, I have threatened it enough, I expected changes which didn't happen, simple and easy changes.
I go round to the other side of the car, open the door, unclick the seatbelt and remove Charles from the car. I stand him, safely, next to the car (obviously not the side near the road) and wait. I wait for him to just.stop.crying. To stop moaning. To calm down.
I planned a lovely evening for the boys. We met a friend and her daughter at the zoo, only for a short time as it closed at 5. They played, we talked although not as much as either of us would have liked, and the children put on a pretend show in the area the bird of prey demonstration is usually held.
We notice the time and say it is time to leave.
Charles breaks down. He cries and cries and screams. I ask a member of staff to confirm what time the zoo closes because Charles doesn't believe me. They say in 5 minutes.
He carries on. I show him the sign outside the main entrance and he read it with me "zoo closes at 5pm". He still cried.
We get into the car and he carries on. My friend is wonderful and tells me that I'm not the only one that goes through this.
It continues and I realise that a few times I have threatened to pull over and take him out of the car until he stops. I realise I need to stop with the empty threats, and at that point I pull over.
I expect to cry but I feel empty. And this is becoming something that happens all too regularly.
I have to keep reminding myself that this is motherhood. It isn't all about the easy life, the fun times, playing, learning, love and cuddles. It's not the image we long for when we fall pregnant or even dream of one day being a parent.
Fun trips to the park followed by ice cream and feeding the ducks.
Picnics and country walks.
Days down at the beach, splashing in the water, building suncastles, eating chips and burying legs in the sand.
The perfect family dinner, where the company was enjoyed to the full, food is enjoyed and a dessert is rewarded.
Motherhood isn't that dream.
Real motherhood is unpredictable. Full of good days and bad days.
Real motherhood is hard. Your emotions are up and down and one minute you are celebrating a good school report and the next you are frustrated and at boiling point because once again simple instruction has been ignored.
One minute you are praising a fantastic sports day and you feel so so proud and the next you are asking your child the same question 5 times because that's how long he tells you the truth.
Both boys are making life hard. And there are days when I want to walk away. When I question whether or not they love or like me...they certainly don't respect me.
I keep blaming myself. I keep blaming them. I make excuses for myself. I make excuses for them.
Maybe sometimes someone is to blame, maybe sometimes the excuses are justified, and maybe sometimes it's just motherhood, nothing else.
Parenting is full of a wide range of "moments". There are those ones which make you wonder why you ever thought you could be a mum. Those moments when you think you are doing everything wrong, and you don't know how to fix it or if it will ever end .
And then there are the ones which make you feel like being a mum is made for you and that you can do anything and deal with anything.
I am learning everyday to expect the unexpected, be it in a good way or a bad way.
Not being or feeling able to cope or control situations doesn't make me a bad mother. You can't prepare for every moment, every phase, every difficult situation that you will face.
You won't always react to things the best way, and will quite often look back and realise that you could have handled certain things differently.
Motherhood is all about learning and to learn you have to go through these horrible, hard moments. Moments that make you doubt yourself, moments you think you can't handle. Moments that break you down. And it might take a while to learn, and you may have to go through these things 2, 3, 4 or 10 times until you work out how best to handle it.
To try and resolve those bad moments I always try to have a nice cuddle with the boys at night. Whether or not it's at bedtime or if I see them when they are asleep, or end up waking them up. I hate to go to sleep without being friends or saying I love you.
This is Motherhood.
For your real life.