Hello! How are you dear reader? I’m back after a lo-ong Summer and somewhat of an unintended writing hiatus. Life and apathy crept into the crevices usually reserved for writing and posting, which happens. But I’m hungry again. I have an appetite to write – and so here I am.
I hope you have been keeping well – your head above water, happy and all of that.
Some seasons are unremarkable but I have entered a new one, fully conscious that I am in a new phase of my life. My little one has turned three and gone to playschool, you see. Earlier than I had anticipated (or really hoped) but she was eager to go and I am eager to facilitate her goings, now and always – afterall, what else is a parent’s role if not to prep them for getting on and going? – and so I have three mornings a week to myself. Three whole mornings. To myself.
I went for a coffee and cried. I did the big shop on my own, unhindered, and thought ‘what’s the point?’. I made big plans to get fitter and for the house to be cleaner and the garden tidier and immediately felt extremely bored.
Because everything is boring now that I’m coming down from the chaos – that highly addictive chaos which comes with being submerged in tiny people with no time to wash or really think or eat properly or stand up straight. You see, people will tell you to take time for yourself, to get some balance. And all that is wonderful. And everyone should follow this really sage advice. But I could only ever do parenthood full on. I’m like a happy alcoholic – while some can have a drink at the weekend or on a night out, I’ve gone full throttle on the whiskey with zero regrets. I am to parenting what Shane MacGowan is to the booze – very happily enveloped and damned if I’m going to give it up. So now that my last little Peach Schnapps has wandered off into the world, you could say I’m coming down with a bang.
This hangover was inevitable.
And I’m asking myself – and other people ask me – what will you do with yourself? What will you do with that extra time? And I just don’t really know yet.
So I’m sitting down to write and I’m thinking about how so few people talk about the grief involved in parenthood. The daily grief that’s involved in unavoidable change and growth. It’s crushing and heart-battering.
I first started my blog five years ago this month and I’ve been reading through some of my earlier posts which were all centred around trying to live slowly and my learning to be a mother. I’ve been mulling over all that time and how it’s brought us to where we are now. Have I learned anything? How have our lives changed?
And, inevitably, the changes have been massive.
Our life five years ago was so much quieter and lonelier. Pros and cons I guess. The days were extremely long and it was just me and two small babies with Alan working and travelling alot. Now we feel loved and supported by a whole community that really did come to life once we ventured to playgroup and playschool. I cannot tell you how important making connections and having those brief drop-off chats have been for me personally. I have made really great friends and I really appreciate that because how precious is any additional friendship you can make in life?
My youngest skipping off to playschool has brought about a big change – her first morning in school marked mine and Alan’s first time alone together in the house since our eldest’s birth – but all through the years there have been many letting gos and each one has been hard for many reasons. Trust has been an issue. I have had to learn to trust other people, with other backgrounds and other beliefs and other ways of doing things with my children – and it’s tough. I’ve had to learn that others can contribute too and with that I’ve learned to chill out a bit. And I laugh a lot more – babies are serious, but children have a sense of humour. We actually have the craic and the odd conversation! We are all, finally, sleeping better and, crucially, we have Alan at home a lot more. An awful lot more, thanks to Covid and working from home.
We continue to want a slow life for our family but, ironically, slow living keeps us quite busy! There’s loads of feeding and cooking and now the school run thing means your eye is always on the clock. But we’re conscious to keep other things that can wait on the long finger – like having a tidy house or clean paintwork or getting involved in many activities – time will pass regardless, so the best we can do is keep it free of clutter.
On the first of September, when all mine were set to walk out to school together for the first time, I woke up with a song running rings in my head – an old one by Elvis Presley -;
I wanna be free, free, freeeee,
I wanna be free,
Like the bird in the tree
Round and around in a loop.
And I wasn’t sure if he was singing to me or singing to the kids, who after a lovely Summer break were more than ready for their back to school.
Maybe he was singing to us all?
It’s been a super few years. My best so far. But I know there is much more mothering and living to come. And I’m ready for some extra time and freedom for myself and tear-free coffees. What will I do with myself? For now I’ll go back to our ‘go slowly’ mantra from five years ago and just let it unfold, whatever it may be. I’m excited for it.
And a bit broken hearted too, X