Friday, December 09, 2016

'tis the season

Wow. To think I stuck blogging on this guy for almost 11 years, and now I kind of drift in and out every 8 decades.

Kids. Life. I'm in full survival mode still, and on days when I have the time or energy to brush my hair, put on a wash, while tending to my hatchlings, then I do that rather.

One thing I have noticed lately, is a spate of mums coming out about Post Natal Depression. Perhaps I've noticed it because that's what I 'have.' Either way, it's extremely comforting to know that some of the most successful, perfect mums out there have troubles too.

I explained to my husband that on my current drugs, I don't feel especially happy, but I don't feel especially sad either. You're kind of just sitting on the midline. It doesn't solve everything, and you still have to work through it all, but I do feel stronger and more self-assured in general.

Post Natal knocks your confidence. It knocks you a bit sideways, in that you feel like you can't cope, hate your situation, and you descend into this hole where you don't want go out, feel inadequate, and that you're a bad mum, all the things. No inclination to do anything. Each person experiences different things, and one thing I will say is that I did connect with Florence instantly. I loved her, and missed Sebastian terribly during those early days - I never didn't want my children, circumstances. My heart feels fuller than it has in a long time, and my little family is my world. I just didn't/don't think I'm up for the task. The huge task of raising them properly, ensuring they get the best opportunities, endless love, good manners, healthy food. After not being able to breastfeed, I felt like I couldn't provide. That this was the downhill slide into being a bad mother. I really did.

I've relaxed a lot since those early days, and let a lot of things slide that I don't bother to fight battles on. You can't fight everything, you have to choose your battles and make the most of what you have, while just trying your best. Sometimes my best is giving Sebastian ten Time Outs because he is behaving badly, or he bit Florence's fingers again, and I lose my shit and then feel pangs of guilt for hours afterwards. There are some gruesomely bad days, when everything goes wrong, everyone is sick, or I just feel like I cannot deal with this right now. I just want to run away.

I feel like that on many days. Then every now and then I'll come back after a long day and think, "Wow. I'm so proud of my little rug rats. I have to have done something right so far. Right? Right?!"

Motherhood is a crazy tough gig. There are plates flying everywhere, and you have to catch them all. Sometimes they fall, all at once. But if there's one thing I've really learnt, is that everyone has their shit. Everyone.
You have to really remind yourselves sometimes, as you scroll through beautifully filtered photos on Insta and endless smiling pictures, that it's only a tiny slice of the whole story. Social media can really pull you down if you let it.

Everyone has their hardships, sometimes you have to dig deep, but you can bet, anyone with kids:
1) has days they struggle and wonder if they made the right decision
2) sometimes wants to run away
3) have relationship problems with friends, family, husbands - kids change dynamics with almost everyone you know. Many take strain.
4) doubt if they're cut for the job
5) is exhausted

We're not in the Victorian times anymore, where a village helped to raise your children. Where we weren't all dispersed far and wide from our families across the globe, where school is expensive, and at least if you live in a place like the UK, you just don't have help. You gotta do it all. And while it's super fulfilling, it is full on.

But no one is an island, and making and meeting some lovely new friends in our new town has really helped. I went in thinking I was going to keep my options open; not to judge any books by covers, be completely myself, be honest about how I find motherhood, and be a completely open book. In turn, I have met some wonderful people I probably never would've crossed paths with before. Other mums who I can be open with, while equally taking delight in our little people, together.

It also goes without saying that my Brit really steps up when the chips are down. He is amazing with his children, and has been my number one support. It's hard, but we are making more effort to reconnect after a busy week where we pass each other like ships in the night tending to our list of responsibilities each day. He has a genuinely golden heart.

Tomorrow we fly to South Africa for a month, and I am both excited and fearful. All of us (being my family) under one roof can get slightly dysfunctional, but at the same time I can't wait to present Florence to her Grandad for the first time, and have Sebby look for birds with his grandparents, and be doted upon by them.

They are my pride and joy. I am so incredibly lucky.

 Packed and ready to go - Sebastian's little Gruffalo Trunki
 Florence, my little rainbow
Sebastian, my hero