The Reluctant Mom: my new hero

I recently was referred to this blog by my best friend, and the more I read her posts, the more I love her. I found it so liberating to read that there are a whole bunch of mums out there who absolutely embrace their maternal status but simultaneously embrace their need for time away from the sprogs, and who can also be really honest about the fact that motherhood is not always fun!  As The Reluctant Mom herself says, ‘I love being a mom, I just don’t love everything about it, all the time’ (or something along those lines). I’ll pop a cork to that!

About “Reluctant Mom”

24 November 2011

I thought it might be good to just as little update on me in the “about me” page – as the stuff written below is still valid, and I feel a bit “reluctant” to go and change it, as it is still what is going on.

Reflecting on this year.

I am slightly better now than I was to begin the year.  This year has had a series of downwards spirals, that really just turned in to me clawing at the sides of a bottomless pit.

I can honestly say that there were several moments where I sat on the edge of my bed crying and saying: “I am slipping in to madness, and I am worried that this is my last glimpse of mild sanity…”

So that was not all good.  Actually all pretty shit, no way to brighten that one up at all.

Depression and General Anxiety Disorder have held me hostage much of this year.  It really was one of my hardest and lowest down patches.  In some instances I was a willing accomplice (Patty Hearst Syndrome) but in many I was being dragged backwards behind an ox-driven cart.

Presently I am in a “feeling much better” space.  I am enjoying my life, work, my children and my lot in life.  I am well medicated, seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist who assist me in keeping my fingers firmly stapled to the ledge.

My relationship has its ebbs and flows.  Kennith is a good guy, if not a great guy.  We argue and we disagree.  And I think it is difficult to be in a relationship with me, when I am not always present.  It has been difficult to just be …… I can’t explain this unless you have been there before.

I am sure that this year has not been a total joy for him.  No doubt he has had several moments where he has been left questioning why exactly he has tied his yoke to a “reluctant mom/wife/person” but I am glad he has decided to hang in there for a bit longer. The good egg he is.

I hope that as I get better, I will have more “energy” to focus on improving our relationship, and being a better partner.  Right now I am pretty sucky if the truth be told.

I feel more in synch with my kids in the last two months than I think I ever have.  I really enjoy them and smile when I think of them.  I enjoy just being with them.  But that being said I am still easily overwhelmed (as I am this week) and I need to keep a check on this, before I find I am putting myself into a situation that I cannot cope with.

Connor is a sensitive caring soul with a soft and gentle nature.  He is a beautiful boy, who is a good soul.   He helps me so much, and I think he is an old soul, who sees more than he lets on.

Georgia is a child that tests my mettle, and often leaves me confused, frustrated and befuddled. Kennith has suggested she will be a “creative” and we need to really find a different way of dealing with her.  I adore her and I find her so challenging, but I do need to find a better way of “coping” with her differences, and have not mastered this.

Isabelle is a third child, but who has decided to surpass her siblings to she is not left behind.  She has shown herself to be the shortest person in our house with the most clout.  She tests me each day, and most days I fail, dismally.  She starts school in January, so I am hoping that peer pressure helps her with her speech, and maybe reduces her frustration.

Work is great.  I do not say that flippantly. I really love what I do and fortunately it lends itself to some flexibility – so I can sometimes sit at my dining room table in my shorty jammies and continue working.  That has been a life line to me.  But I do struggle to find the “balance” between working and stopping working when I get home.

My blog.  My blog has become more important to me, than it was. I do not earn a living from my blog.  I don’t make any income.  It is purely a work of love and obsession.   My ramblings, mutterings and cussing have assisted me in finding me (as flippant as that sounds.)

I try never to go back and change a blog post. I leave it – as you would a diary insert – it has the feelings and emotions that I felt on that day at that time.  My blog changes as I do, and my thoughts felt on one day, at one time, were true to that time.  But I change and I often rethink my thoughts and may think differentlyc or learn something I did not know before.

Because I said it here does not make it so. Forever. I am entitled to change my mind.  I hope I do in some instances.  Try not to hold me ransom when I have said something once.

I am glad you have found my blog – and I also hope that some of my shit resonates with you.  I love my kids, and I like my kids, I just am not a cookie cutter mom. I am easily frustrated when I am with my kids.  I am easily frustrated when I am with YOUR kids, so it is not just mine.

I do struggle to keep sane in my insanity.  Right now I am on a yellow lifeboat and I am bobbing along quite nicely with my bottle of Chenin Blanc <presently looking for a sponsor wine farm, so please apply if you stock Chenin Blanc>

I find motherhood fkn hard and challenging.  I am not going to tell you that it is easy, or that I love it so damn much. I often sit and wonder if I could and would run away from it all, and just leave it behind.  Could I or would I?  But I am here and I chip away at each day.

I realise I am just a bit out of synch with the cupcake-making-craft-doing moms that I see.   I like to drink wine, lots of it, and I like to use a baby sitter, and spend evenings out without my kids.

I do love my kids – I just don’t want to be with them 24 hours of each day.  I can’t balance work, my kids, my relationship and my life, and my tentative grasp on sanity.  I have not found the secret. Yet.

So that is me … and this is my blog.

 

 

 

<< ————————- >>

 

I realized that I have been blogging for more than a year – my reason for blogging is about to turn two on the 10 June 2010.

I have three children and have always battled with motherhood – I find everything about it challenging and nothing about it came easily to me.

Kennith and I put off having children until I was 29 – when I mean put off, I mean, I put him off having children.  I was looking for a way to convince him that we really did not want children, as I really did not want children.

I gave in, and we had our first son when I was 29 – and really I like to compare it to the little Dutch girl – or was it a boy –  with her finger in the dyke (large dam rather than large dame type).

When Connor came along it was like an entire universe opened up to me.  And I am not necessarily talking about the happy universe where fairies and pixies play and giggled, it is more the universe where Stephen King gets his inspiration.

I focused my energies and the preparation on choosing the right colour for the bedroom, buying the right pram, would I wash all his clothes once or twice before packing them into his new cupboard – those sorts of details.

What I did not factor in was how the arrival of this 3 plus kilogram little person would create so much stress between Kennith and I that we felt our stable and very secure relationship was crumbling right before our eyes.

I could never factor in how the arrival of this baby would suddenly bring to life all my issues regarding my childhood and the issues I have regarding my mother and some of the choices she made.

The arrival of this baby made me anxious, paranoid, depressed and severely unhappy.

But, and I really must say but, I was not unhappy with him – of course I loved him with that fierceness of a love that a mother feels for a her child.  She knows she would lay down her life for him at the drop of a hat – no the pain and the unhappiness I felt was for me, my life, my relationship and well pretty much everything.

I struggled with ‘bouts of depression that had moments of light relief and others with shadows of wanting to end it all.

I hated myself.  I hated the fact that I could not cope.  I felt dreadfully alone and I began to hate Kennith because it was all his fault – well who else was I going to blame?

I felt abandoned and angry because I was becoming more dependent on him.  Dependency is a very ugly and frightening word for me.

Kennith assisted by decided nothing says abandonment quite like going off to do a two-year MBA!!

I decided – I, not we, I – at my darkest lowest point, that I wanted to have a second child.  I can’t explain rationally why, it was a primal urge and had all the makings of a breakdown.

We had Georgia in 2005.  If I thought things could not get any worse, I was severely deluded.

All that could go wrong did, we were living in a house of misery and somehow we were getting through the days.  Over the period of 2005 through to end 2006 I can honestly say we were not living, we were surviving.

But with these things, things do get better and they did.

We realized we were in trouble, and somehow find the resolve and the strength to make it better.  We started making more effort just to be present, just to be there for each other and to really value what we had.  I am not trying to indicate at all that it was not difficult.  It was hellishly hard, and running in our separate directions definitely seemed so much easier than trying to walk this path together.

Things got better each year, and my depression definitely got easier to handle, and our children flourished.

In late 2007 we decided to start “talking” about a third child.  We discussed, chatted, planned and finally fell pregnant late in 2008 – we welcomed Isabelle in June 2009.

And here is where my story begins.

I was convinced I had got over all the hard stuff.

I had endured the relationship issues, I had survived two children – often getting through difficult times alone.  I knew the realities of the situation.  I was no longer under false illusions of how easy or difficult it was going to be.  I had experience, I had this all waxed .. well that is what I thought.

However …. yes there is always a but …. but I thought ‘a however’ would sound better.

I had always nurtured illusions <delusions> that I would be a stay at home mom.

I would happily prepare kids for school, drop them off, do some of my freelance work, maybe start a business from home, and grab the kids later and well do kid-mom stuff.

That is sort of the picture I had in my mind.

When Isabelle popped up on the scanning monitor in the OBGYN office I thought, well this is the time.  I need to gear myself up to be at home with her, nurture her, and be there with her to see her gurgle, and take her first step and reach for me when she is crying – I am going to be that mom.

I work for a great company, and I really enjoy what I do.  But I thought I am going to go on maternity leave, finances are going to force me back to work, but I will work until she is about a year and then, I will resign and start this “stay at home mom” life that is all the rage.

The problem I did not factor in to this issue – was me!

I am so depressed being at home I start to slide into a rather dramatic I-think-I-am-going-to-harm-someone depression.  I just cannot cope.

I become erratic (more than usual), and start to go off the edge of my very thin postcard.

I realized while on maternity leave with Isabelle, with crushing clarity, that I am just not designed to stay home.  I will probably kill myself or sell my kids to the circus.  I am embarrassed and frustrated that I can’t do it – but the truth – as cutting as it is – is that I make a better mom working than a mom staying at home.

I am happier and saner when I brush my teeth and put my work clothes on and drive off to work, than if I stayed at home.

Recently someone asked me – a good friend – “But why did you have children if you don’t like being with them?”

Initially I thought I would bitch-slap her, but then I thought about it, and can understand how it seems …. that there are other moms  like me who love/adore their children, but do not want to be with them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  I know we are not meant to say it … because that will mean we love them less.

I love being a mom.  I just don’t like being a mom all the time.

I hide from my children, I miss the days of lying on my bed reading, undisturbed.  I would rather be out with my friends eating copious amounts of pasta and drinking wine, than sitting with my kids doing arts and crafts.

Initially the guilt I suffered for thinking like this consumed me.  Again I felt it was just me.

The moms I saw were perfectly turned out and just love being with their off-spring all the time, but that was not me.  I would see these clicks of moms at my kids schools and they were just so into everything their kids did – and I kept thinking, I need a gap to go and drink wine, I would much rather not sit and watch my child practice hockey or playball – that is why I pay these other people to do these things with my kids, so I can go off and do something else.

While on maternity leave in June 2009, I started jotting down some of my thoughts about my experiences through motherhood and the daily battles I have being me.  I was seeing a psychiatrist at the time and had just started on my new script of Zoloft.

When I started blogging, it actually made me start feeling better, just putting it out there.

But then I started to get responses from other women – who felt the same as me – possibly with less wine and Zoloft, but they echo’d some of the things I was going through.

I can’t tell you how liberating and amazing it felt, that it was not just me crying in the bathroom at 2am, there were other moms like me, who maybe did not quite fit the mould.

So, to sum up who I am, I am a mom of three delicious children, I adore them so much, and if I could have a fourth I would, I also love being away from my children and being with my friends and a large bottle of wine.

I struggle with motherhood nearly every day, and nothing about it comes easily to me.  I stopped faking it was easy and that I was coping around 2007.

Since then my life has got easier, not easy, just easier and just a little saner.

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