I don’t even know what to say. It’s been a long time. Sorry if I’m a bit rusty. If you’re reading this you’re either a) nosy or b) committed to me in the sense of being a friend or family member and therefore feel an obligation to read my blog even if it’s just waffle and nonsense.
I’ll split this post into three parts to try and keep some kind of vague structure going, but I’m not gonna lie, this is going to be long. Here’s how I’ve been:
I don’t want to be one of those people.
Unfortunately I am pretty busy. I’m normally an advocate of taking things slow, but sometimes life doesn’t work out that way.
I remember when The Boy was very small. I had to carry him around, strapped to my chest in a long, stretchy turquoise sling that I had to loop around my waist three times, constantly. I was so tired sometimes I could barely see. At six months or so, he wasn’t anywhere near sleeping through the night (and at almost two, still isn’t). Life felt like a merry-go-round of parks and toddler groups and getting small people ready to leave the house, because that takes way longer than you’d imagine, and weaning and cleaning and never-ending cluster feeding and playing and just … a constant physical pouring out of my entire self. All day. Every day.
I loved it. Sometimes I could barely believe it. Two kids! Amazing. And sometimes I was so tired my body would almost hum with it. Like an anti-energy. If you got near me you’d notice I was constantly sweaty and twitchy. One time I fell over with him in my arms when he was about a month old … I was hunched on my knees, reaching for something on the floor, and I got dizzy, lost my balance, and fell backwards onto my bum. He kind of flopped, roughly, into my chest, and then screamed. I cried for about an hour because I felt so guilty.
Anyway what were we talking about?
Things are quite different now, because Jellybean is now at school, and thriving, and so now everything revolves around the school run, and for the majority of most days, she’s not with me. The Boy is a toddler, a lovable and challenging one all at once. I’m working now, part-time, and I’m also studying for a good chunk of the week too, now that my degree has kicked up a notch over the past few weeks.
I used to feel very wary of people like me. When my kids were a bit younger. Those at-work-Mums (although at 12 hours a week I’m not sure you can really count me as ‘at work’ really) with their multiple projects and their happy social media posts. It made me feel crappily inferior, seeing them at their desks, breastfeeding whilst doing Skype meetings, and so on.
Now I’ve got quite a lot going on in my life, I see through that a little. I get this feeling of never being ‘done’. Like there’s always something in the back of my mind, there’s always new things being added to all the to-do lists, there’s always something I’m in danger of falling behind with. Everything is much more mundane when you’re actually doing it instead of watching someone else do it. Some days, I do the breakfast and we get the kids ready and I do the school run and I go to work and I have dinner and clean up and do a couple of hours of studying and it all seems to be pretty good. Other times, I feel overwhelmed to the point where my chest hurts a bit and I can’t stop thinking about all of The Things That Need To Be Done and I end up falling asleep in my textbook at 8pm.
(More than once, that’s happened.)
But although I’m busier, I wouldn’t necessarily say this is harder work than those not-too-distant-days, those long days, where Chris would work and I would stay home with the sole purpose of being with the kids, with nothing else to do. I don’t know. I don’t feel more tired, I guess. I just feel more overwhelmed. But excited, too.
But I do miss my kids, thus confirming how lucky I have been (and still am) to see so much of them.
Another reason I’ve been quiet generally online is because I’ve been developing the ‘hate’ side of my love-hate relationship with social media (that was a joke, but only just). I haven’t been on Facebook for ages and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about putting pictures of the kids online. I tried Bookstagramming for a while to scratch that creative itch, and because frankly I can talk about books all day long, but I quickly ran out of time to do that.
There’s a lot I could say about the blogging/vlogging world that is troublesome to me at the moment, and there’s probably a fair few things that we need to be talking about more, but I don’t think I’m brave enough to join in that conversation on this particular night. Maybe another day.
Or maybe I’ll wimp out and let someone else talk about it
I feel a bit adrift, blog-wise. Not sure where I belong. Similar to how I feel politically. Someone tweeted earlier today (and I’m sorry, I can’t find the tweet again) ‘What a day to feel politically homeless!’. Which is essentially what I am. Watching the Brexit stuff happening and wondering who exactly I’m supposed to be rooting for. Warily watching things unfold and not being able to imagine how it’s going to end up.
This is the biggest thing. I know, everyone hates the word ‘blessed’. But there’s so much to be thankful for. Our family, for being the village that we need, that wider network of people to care for and help shape and guide our kids. And when things get a bit overwhelming, I just stop and try and be there. To put myself fully into what I’m doing instead of being somewhere else all the time. I try and treasure it:
My son crunching in the leaves, and pointing out planes, and waving goodbye to trees (‘bye bye tree! See you laters!’). His wonky counting. ‘Seben! Eight! Nine! Ten! Leven! Twelve! Firteen! Sixteen!’. The word he uses for everything (it’s ‘digger!) and we don’t know what it means or why he keeps saying it all the time)*. His immense, long, luxurious cuddles.
The way my daughter scoots ahead on the way to school, excited to see her friends. Watching her unbutton her coat and hang it on her peg, clumsily independent. Her smile when I get home from work, the way she says ‘Mummy!’ with a kind of breathless excitement. Listening to her sounding out words.
It’s the only antidote to being busy. Just enjoying each individual component of my day. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but mostly it does.
And sometimes, at night, when things get too much, I cast my mind back, way back when I was pregnant with Jellybean. I used to lay in bed with my eyes shut, listening to the wind rustling the tree. I would breathe, slowly. In, out, in, out. A quiet metronome. And I would try to imagine how it would feel to give birth to my daughter.
(Oh, how wrong I was!)
Now, I lay there and listen to the wind rustling the tree and I just enjoy being quiet. Just for a moment. Kids asleep, safe. Roof over our heads. Pillow under my head.
And I thank God for everything I’ve got.
And then I promptly fall asleep.
*A bit more about digger. He literally says it all day long. We’ve established he doesn’t actually mean ‘digger’ as in ‘a vehicle with which to dig things’). Sometimes, he calls me in the night and, when I go to him, he will lay a soft, pudgy hand on my face, look me dead in the eye and whisper ‘Mummy, Mummy – digger.’) My Mum thinks he’s seeing a ghost (named, inexplicably, Digger) and finds it very funny to wind me up about it, which is not that funny seeing as I recently finished watching The Haunting of Hill House and had actual fear of the dark for days afterwards.
Also if you haven’t yet, you should watch The Haunting of Hill House.
And I’ll see you next time!