So I know I should be grateful. I honestly do realise that on paper I have so much going for me. I have a beautiful house, three healthy children (kindly note distinct lack of the word “happy”), wonderful friends, and an amazing family. I am well travelled, relatively well versed, work hard, play hard, all the usual clap trap. So why does it suck to be me?
Two short years ago I devastatingly lost one of the most important people in my world. In that very same fortnight, my marriage came crashing down around my ears and life would never be the same again. Which was I more sad about? That much will be blindingly obvious soon enough I’m sure.
I do not wish to waste time and energy on the obvious part of this story. The part where the wronged wife tells tales of the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s and why’s. How very predictable that would be.
Instead I wish to write of the double life I now lead. Of how nothing will be good enough for my children, till my children are old enough to open their eyes and see. Of how I struggle with the change in my life’s course. But wish you not to mistake any of this for self pity. That, rather categorically, is not something I can be accused of. In truth, I rarely have pity for anyone let alone myself.
Writing is not necessarily for me, I find myself all too easily distracted and digress to a path which I did not begin on. Maybe that will work. Maybe you can make sense of it all regardless. Or maybe I will get better with time. And money. Unlike my swiftly descending 36 year old body and face. But that’s another story.
I want to test the waters really. I write in my head all day long. Funny anecdotes, scene setting scenarios, one liners all parents could relate too. But as of yet I am lacking a strong following of followers, eagerly awaiting my word. If you are still reading I would be grateful if you would share and see how far I can go.
Bringing up three children, being by their side from the minute they arrive on the planet, first days at pre-school, first explosive pooh in Uncle Neme’s London flat, first word, first step, first girlfriend; well it’s quite a mean feat to give up. To serve 10 years, unpaid, little holiday, no sick pay and certainly no maternity leave, to then be thrust into the part-time parental-unemployment has been quite some shock to my system.
Don’t get me wrong, I am an absolute realist. We all want time off. We all yearn for that night out, that lunch with a friend, that weekend with the girls, or whatever it is that requires child-free time. There may be a minority who say they don’t but I would argue that secretly even they do really. And that’s ok.
I fought for that. Any little slither of time off I was given. And little it was. Now suddenly I have been thrust into a life where I am completely without children for days sometimes weeks at a time. It is hideous. Horrible! You know that longed for date you and your partner go on and you both end up talking about the children all evening and possibly even going home early to see them tucked up in bed? Times that by a gazillion and you might be half way there.
It has it’s perks. Of course it has it’s perks. Some days, it’s almost like I have a life! I can get up when I want and go where I want, I have full control of the tv remote, I don’t have to break up any fights, or clear up anyone else’s crap, I can go out drinking without faffing around with a babysitter, or still having to get up at 6am the following morning. I can even have sex. Anywhere in my house if I want to! I’m sure some of that sounds great to some of you. Even just for a bit. The reality is that it is so less than awesome it makes me want to cry.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I relish it. I wallow in it. I take full advantage and have developed a fine taste for good cocktails (and can pick out the bad ones) and a reasonably priced menu. But do I want it? No I most certainly do not.
I was pregnant at the tender age of 24. Looking back I was just a baby myself. Going on to have two more before I was even remotely close to 30 meant I spent most of my twenties either hugely fat, fat, or lactating. Which is fine. It was my choice. And I loved my babies beyond anything I could ever have imagined. The cuddles, the smiles, the finger painting, the paddling pool, the south beach, the sloppy meals, I loved them all from top to toe.
But I didn’t get to play at being a grown up. I didn’t learn how to be. Like, when I’m not a mum. So despite the fact it has been approximately 18 months since my babies were periodically taken away from me, I feel like Bambi with the rug being pulled from under me.
What do I do when they are not here? I leave the house. Go somewhere. Anywhere. It really doesn’t matter. But my house is not a home without my boys. They drive me insane. Quite literally to the point of no return at times. But would I choose to be without them? No I most certainly would not.
Part of the issue is the crap they are fed when they are not with me. This is a literal use of the word as well as the metaphorical one. Every time they return to me they are tired, screen-hungry and unclean. And so the routine begins again, no screens, limited television, shower and early to bed. Oh and I try to throw the odd vegetable in there for good measure. Bad mummy, so I am frequently told!!
The names I have been called by my darling children of late are enough to make your eyes water. I choose not to retaliate to the other side as my children are in the middle enough as it is. But to constantly put ideas into their heads requires a lot of unpicking and delicate removal which is sometimes proving to much to bare. I am tired this evening after a particularly tough week but promise to write again soon. It would appear to be cheaper than therapy.