I want this blog to be a happy, funny and life affirming place for the most part, but writing another cheery post felt rather like ignoring the elephant in the room. So, I have to admit that I’ve been rather down recently. Nothing earth shattering has happened. Nobody has died. There are just a few things going on for me right now which are making me feel less than jolly. Combine that with a desperate need for Spring to start, and it has led to a rather glum me.
Back in my pre-children days, I was certainly not adverse to a bit of misery. There is an age old depressive strain running through my family and, whilst I escaped the worst of it, I was certainly prone to being dragged down a little by it in my youth, especially in my late teens and early twenties. I didn’t feel I’d found my place in life; I just wasn’t happy in my own skin. I tended to turn to a bit of misery and wallowing to get through: put some Sarah Maclauchlan or some Radiohead on, drink too much wine and have a bit of a weep. That was my tried and tested method of dealing with it. I would be down for a few days but then things invariably improved. I think allowing myself to be dragged down by it all actually helped me deal with it before picking myself up, dusting myself off and feeling ready to face the world again.
I found my place in the world at about the age of 22 when I found a life and a crowd that I loved, so I was able to leave those days of wallowing behind me for the most part. Life moved on happily and raucously through my twenties, then came the excitement of marriage and the joy of kids. And as any parent knows, with children comes that incredible sense of responsibility, so much stronger and overwhelming than you ever imagined it could be. And, crucially, the necessity of putting their needs before yours.
As their primary care giver, I am the rock in my kids’ lives. It is my job to be strong, supportive and together. And I absolutely am, most of the time. I am a carrier on, a manager, a crusader. No matter what is going on with me, I do my utmost to make sure that this house runs as it should, the kids get decent meals, clean clothes, plenty of cuddles and endless love. They are washed and dressed and where they need to be, when they need to be there. Sometimes hair isn’t brushed and sometimes there is food on their faces, but they are always well loved and well looked after.
All this care stuff takes a huge amount of time. It also takes it out of you. Usually, I just watch a film, have a glass of wine or chat to my Mum to recharge my batteries and I’m ready to begin again. But when there is something a bit more substantial going on, something that gets you down, it isn’t so easy. I crave the self indulgence of my youth, a few days of having a cry whenever I need to without having to be together in front of the kids. A few days of lounging about at home and suiting nobody but myself. Not cooking, not washing, not keeping the house together, just sinking under for a brief time.
Before things get too maudlin or sound too desperate, fear not, I am OK. I also know that my life is pretty bloody good and that this is just an emotional blip. As I said, I am a survivor: I cope and carry on. So things will be fine, I’m sure. It is just that getting through the day when you are down and have three small people to carry through it with you feels like having a mountain to climb sometimes.
There are occasions when having a good old sob is the best thing you can do for yourself, to give you a break from pretending everything is OK. With kids, more often than not, the time that you really want to go for a cry, is the time you need to start cooking their tea or you have to change a nappy. Kids wait for no man and are, thankfully, generally unaware of their parents emotional needs until they are much, much older.
So, the best I can do is wait for it to pass. It may take longer with small children and their demands in my face at every turn, but it will pass. The evenings are still me time, wine time, wallow time, if I need it.
And one thing that I didn’t have access to in my teens was an endless supply of pudgy cuddles, which I have to admit help enormously. They also stop me from sinking too deep as they remind me just how much I have to be thankful for.