Saturday, 14 May 2016

Where is my village?

Last Sunday I walked out of the house. I just grabbed my shoes and phone and left. No keys, no wallet, no children and none of the accompanying baggage. I just needed to get away. I gave no explanation, I just went. My partner was home so it’s not as if I was abandoning the children, but as I walked around the block enjoying the peace I still felt guilt about leaving them.

It had been a tough night. Little had decided to feed more than normal and I had to get up several times with M. I was really tired. From the moment I got up M was demanding attention (how unreasonable!), I couldn’t find the swimming nappies and when looking for them the contents of a cupboard fell on me.  My other half came upstairs to help, but I was struggling so I told (shouted at) him to go away. 5 seconds later I turned round and noticed the bag of washing which needed taking downstairs. I called for help, but my OH couldn’t hear me. I got in more of a state as I struggled down the stairs with the washing and snapped at my partner for not coming to help. Understandably he snapped back (he’d got shouted at when he came to help and then when he didn’t). 

So that was when I walked out.

I put my phone on do not disturb and walked. I was worried about what would happen when I got back home. Would the children have had meltdowns in my absence? Would my partner shout at me? I had to fight the urge to turn my phone back on as I had a fear that something might have happened to my daughters and no one would be able to contact me. I was going to be gone 15 minutes max, but I just couldn’t relax completely and let go, even though that was the main reason I had left.

So I got home and rang the doorbell. My 4 year old daughter opened the door and gave me a hug. Everything had been fine while I was gone (I assume, I didn’t ask). My partner gave me a hug and life continued as normal. Or nearly normal. For the next hour my oldest daughter was incredibly well behaved. She even put away her jigsaw when she finished playing with it without being asked.

Being a mother is relentless. When they are small and dependent on someone for all their care you don’t really get a break. When you are exclusively breastfeeding that baby the dependency is pretty much on you. I’m on call 24/7. At any point in the day one or both children can demand my attention.

I don’t plan to make a habit on walking out on my family, but it was a warning sign that I need some time out. Everyone needs a break. I’m so glad I have an understanding and supportive partner, but he works long hours so weekdays most of the childcare is on me.
Bluebell woods with message "It's ok to take a break and have some time for you"
I’ve been taking it easy the last week. I’ve been going to bed some nights when M has finally been asleep (given one night that was about 9pm it’s not like I’ve had much of an early night).  I’ve been going to baby groups and meeting up with friends and I’ve been working on a few future blog posts, but without feeling the pressure to publish any. Next week I’m going to try and take Little to the creche at the gym so I can go swimming. 

I have recently started parenting classes. One of the themes people talk about is the pressure from the relentlessness of parenting. To be a happy parent you need to have a “village” around you. That might be family, friends or even paid help. Whatever your village is made up of you need to have people you can call on to help you, to give you a break, to listen to you complain and to make you stronger. Even the most amazing children can drain you when you feel alone. I’m going to spend time building my village and planning some time to ensure I don’t lose me.
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2 comments

  1. I've felt like doing that at least half a dozen times. The nearest I got was going out on our balcony and shutting the door (my husband wasn't home at the time so I couldn't leave). Freya was standing on the other side of the glass door waving at me. I think it really helped though, even for five minutes, to rebalance. I completely agree about finding your village. It sounds like you have great plans in place for some valuable "me time". I've made an effort to start running again first thing in the morning, which has helped me a lot.

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    1. Thank you. I really miss running, I found it so great to get me in a good place mentally. I think it will be at least a year before my body is strong enough to not aggregate my pelvic girdle pain though.

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