So, it’s no secret, (when you’re an external processer with a keyboard and a WordPress, at least…) that the last few weeks have been a struggle. Like a reverse twist on the Green Day classic, I pretty much shrugged my shoulders, threw my hands up and begged, “wake me up, when September comes!”
And now, here it is!
September… With my its term time, toddler friendly openings and belated holiday plans.
Seriously, come on…
Someone… Wake me up!
Last Sunday night, I was on the cusp. I’d written a couple of blogs, spoken to a few friends and was starting to anticipate the relief of the summer holidays’ end. Two more days until some kind of normality ensued. We’d done it; nearly made it; this depressing chapter was almost through!
I went to bed early, Husband still at work, and really, really thought that I was over the worst. Until, that is, he came home; tired but, you know, buzzing. The sort of exhausted energy that comes from being busy. He reminded me that tomorrow night, of course, he was out…
At a meeting?
At an event?
No… Out with friends.
I don’t know exactly what kind of trigger this pulled folks, but come 1 AM, I was sat on the sofa downstairs, on my own, sobbing uncontrollably into a half-eaten tub of half-price Haagen Daaz. Never, in the history of our marriage, has my lazy-texter Husband had a better social life than me!
Oooh… I SEE….
We’re that kind of “over it” are we?!!!
The following day I was so exhausted from all the issues and ice cream, that I found my parenting was somewhat lacking in stamina for the challenges ahead. For on Monday morning, rather out of the blue, Toddler decided that he and nappies were officially… through! (Thankfully, this has been going a lot better than last time, so far; but still requires a level of attentiveness that I’m struggling to make up for…)
On Tuesday, “we” forgot (ahem!) that the Vicar and his wife were coming for lunch, and so found ourselves in a panicked rush to the kitchen, and then out to the shops. In the midst of this, the kids- on their final day in each other’s hair- uncharacteristically squabbled, teased and fought each other, without coming up for air. My phone rang and I took it to the bathroom, hoping for something good… To find that it was the nursery asking- at 11am- where the oldest one was?!
See, in my self-absorbed exhaustion, lamenting the lack of structure and others’ company… I’d totally screwed up my days and could have had both, back in routine?!!
Half crying and half laughing at myself, I went back into the mess. Only to be presented with a potty full of poo, by my proud and smiling youngest! He’s so doing well, all by himself! (Save the fact that he’s a climber… “NO WILLIES ON THE TABLE!!!” Isn’t something I imagined shouting, either!)
The point I’m beginning to angle at here, is that there’s been a serious flaw in my approach. Considering myself just a wife and just a Mum… Well, it’s made me rubbish at both. I thought this phase was about learning to accept and be comfortable in my new skin. To neglect what I want or even need, for the sake of settling everyone else in. But Husband, in all his wisdom, helped me to realise anew, that when I am tired and miserable it rubs off on all of them too!
(Which, incidentally, is exactly why I am never allowed to fast chocolate for lent…)
And so… we talked.
But, thankfully, not in rhyme. (I really don’t understand why I write like this all the time?!)
Sorry. Where was I?!
We discussed the things that I am struggling with now that really, cannot be changed; but also, more importantly, considered a few adjustments we could make. For example…
1. I don’t feel part of a new church in my own right.
Largely, we figured out, because there are two churches and so far I’ve been trying to split my time, follow Husband around, and show my face at both. Which is, perhaps, fair to our new parish; but entirely unhelpful for us. So, as awkward as it may be for some… I picked one. I picked the church that was more suited to my preferred style of worship; the one with the most familiar faces in it; the one in which I could see opportunities to serve; the one with the active kids club and, more importantly…. The one with the TOILET!
(I mean, I’ll still go to St Looless for special events and such… Just maybe when there’s no baby on my bladder, or potty training toddler to require it so much?!)
Making this decision; and then actually making it to and from our chosen church, alone and largely unscathed this morning; really did give me a boost. At least now I am starting to imagine that we could actually lay down some roots.
2. I am struggling to pray…
(Which is all the more awkward when you are someone who considers intercession your spiritual gift!)
What normally gets me back on track, however, is the opportunity to gather together with others and pray with a bigger perspective. Pray for the church, the town, the neighbours, the nation… Pray for all of the things outside of my own, tiny situation. I was frustrated that, with the kids in bed and Husband out practically every evening, there was no chance of me being able to do that or be a part of a grown-up gathering.
Until… Well, until we both decided it was important enough to do something about. And so… Husband talked to his boss, and he agreed that, starting this week, I can go to my new church’s prayer meeting twice a month, instead; while Husband gets to stay at home and put his kids to bed!
3. Finally, I miss the college social life …
Largely, this is something I can’t do much about.
It wasn’t “real life”, and it was always going to end. However, I’ve gotten so sulky about the fact I can’t just pop next door, that I’m not reaching out to actual, nearby friends.
Granted, I am tired. I’m almost twenty weeks pregnant, with two toddlers and an under-active thyroid; even when Husband is home for the night, I can’t bear to drive anywhere, and so the TV does just right!
But it’s a vicious cycle.
I’ve had to recognise that actually, people energise me. As such, the more I shut myself off, the more lethargic I get. And so, while it can’t be every week, just arranging a few rare get-togethers has again just done the trick!
But necessary ones, for my mental health!
Sometimes, it seems, the most “selfless” actions,
Can have the most selfish results…
Especially if, like me, you’re prone to dwell,
To over-think, and, yes, to sulk!
So, is there anything you need that could be achieved,
With a little choice and a little change?
For happier husbands come from happier wives,
And happier children from mums less deranged!