Monday, 17 May 2021

Motherland; Good For Whatever Soul I Have Left

 I'm really enjoying Motherland on Netflix just now.

If you haven't caught it yet - have a go.  It is a somewhat slightly exaggerated take on the trials and tribulations of parenting school-age children and the school-gate politics that arise.

As a mama to three boys and having dealt with the school gates for the last 13 years, I can find a wee bit of myself and people I know in each of the characters.

I'm no fan of trying to make mum pals - in fact, I flat out suck at it.  

It's caused me a lot of heartache and confusion over the years.

I've come to the conclusion that actually, I am far too eclectic, too full of dark humour and just not 'proper' enough to make it with the 'in' crowd and actually, I have totally given up.

On a Motherland scale of Amanda to Liz, I am 100% a Liz.


Diane Morgan as Liz in the brilliant Motherland

From the moment she chopped her own finger off slicing frozen cheese for Julia and calmly headed off to A&E after doing her own first-aid, to the drunken promises she made on behalf of Julia and Kevin for the school fundraiser, I can totally relate to being the outsider who just does herself and fuck whatever anyone else thinks. I appreciate her down-to-earth take on things, her patience, her wit and I absolutely see her dogged determination to survive and make sense of whatever shitty hand she is dealt.

As a mum at a small-ish village school, in a relatively higher class area, I stick out like a sore thumb.

I'm not well-off enough to carry off anything classy.  Messy bun? Tick.  Running late? Epically. Tick!

I'm the one whose son wears princess dresses because he can if he wants, who champions unbranded school uniforms to keep the cost of the school day down for everyone, and asks awkward questions around fundraising.  I'm a rule-bender, a risk-taker and someone who speaks their mind.

 My kids are not in the expensive swim team, football club, art club or drama group, nor are they sporty.  I let them spend a lot of time on their computers.  We have very loose bedtimes at weekends.  

I can't afford to send them to the various 'lovely' activities the other kids enjoy, nor do we massively value academia. We would rather the kids were safe, happy and loving what they do, because we both tried hugely and did all the right things, kicked our own arses to get the grades and have struggled ever since!

As two people who have been very roughly shafted by the world in the pursuit of such stuff, we are more than a little disillusioned and probably a wee bit traumatised, and so we are focused on raising our kids to be decent people with kind, compassionate, inclusive values, where you aren't afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty and where you open your mind to as much as possible - we can't begin to imagine a world for our kids where fitting in with an ever-decreasing elite of paid-for opportunity and outstanding grades at all costs would be a 'good' thing to do.

Me and my husband both work in the third sector - not only do we both know what it is like to live in relative poverty and deal with the many social, physical and emotional challenges it brings, we also spend our days scooping up other people who are dealing with the effects; the time for giving a shit about manicured lawns or whether our cars are immaculate is not really now for us.  

Is everyone fed, clothed, washed, happy, achieving, nurtured and well-humoured though? Yes! Isn't that what counts? 

Does our lack of care around some of the finer details come off as bad parenting?  

Probably.

I am tired.  My life has been a fucking struggle.  Girl, I am surviving and I will absolutely take that.



Motherland tackles this to some degree. It encompasses the spectrum of mother characters quite aptly; the single mum, the stay at home mum, the stay at home dad, the seemingly-has-it-all mum, the queen bee mum and her side-kick and the mum who has run out of shits and just wants to get through it.

Joining the school PTA has become a recent favourite weird pastime for me - I'm not sure the Head Teacher knows what to do with me.  

Here's the woman he has pegged as an incompetent mother (veiled very thinly) showing up, giving a shit, interacting, giving opinions that he finds he 9/10 actually agrees with and it's always entertaining on the Zoom call (with the brilliant rural wifi 1.5 second lag) inadvertently showcasing my dark humour, which the other mums really don't seem to understand. 

The dark humour usually comes out around some of the more mundane topics, like dog shit or parking and I can't help myself.  It's been nearly two hours talking about dog poop and I start making quips, and it's like unleashing the beast.  And guess what?  Apparently, giggling about dog poop on kids shoes isn't that funny, Genna. 

"Why am I such an outcast?" I'll sob to Dave (usually the day before my period when the world is a dark black spot of shit and everything is pressing harder on me than usual).

I tried to make mum friends - I really did.  I suck at it.  I'm in the wrong area; outcast, out-resourced and outnumbered.  I'm in a weird middle ground and I guess I have resigned myself to a lifetime of lonlieness.

Fuck it.

For now I'm taking my solace in Motherland and enjoying their take on Mum life.

If you are like me and feel totally left out of the mum circle with no hope of getting in any time soon, give it a watch.

It's a source of real comfort in an ever-weird and confusing world of parent politics.







Sunday, 16 May 2021

A Lonesome Walk

 Yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of our us becoming home-owners, and as I woke up yesterday and saw this on my Facebook memories, it gave me a sense of how far we have come in the last 6 years, but also how hard the struggle has been.

Always decorating, eh, Doll?

We have battled against so much to barely keep our heads above water, and here we are this weekend, on the 6-year-versary basically starting all over again.  Except maybe perhaps, with the heating finally going in, on slightly better footing.

At least this year we won't be sleeping with our hats on and in sleeping bags under our duvets.

It also struck home with me this weekend, just how much we have had to do alone. 

I have written before about looking for that village when it comes to parenting, and the ever-changing scenery surrounding modern parenthood which sees a dearth of support in today's busy world. 

Well, we moved to a literal village and our already-wee world has shrunk considerably.

In 6 years we haven't had any child-free overnight time, and I can probably count on two hands the amount of child-free time we have had.  And probably on one hand how many of those times were actually date nights just for us and not fulfilling social commitments like work-related dinners or wedding invites.

We have to have a really good excuse to get a babysitter.

"Date" hour.  Lunch hour.

Our own "date" nights have lost all real purpose and meaning - they are usually snatched bits of time which have a lot of pressure attached to them to be back quickly or be on call for any complications.  

At least working from home has meant that we have managed to catch up on that - though there's nothing magical about watching each other do Zoom calls all day.

I guess it just makes me feel a bit sad sometimes that we are missing that support. 

Instead we have had to power on and find ways to get through it, and it hasn't always been pretty.

There have been many times we have totally lost our shit with each other, and sometimes the screaming loneliness that comes with the territory at times can be all-consuming.  

Not having another adult (who isn't Dave) there to help break up the day-to-day, not having someone else to take on the load of loving these kids is hard.  It's really tough to stretch ourselves between all three sometimes, and once you have, there isn't much time for much else, especially if you have a lot to do, like, say, a house renovation! 

It's counter-productive too - we live in a perpetual mess, so you feel constantly ashamed of the state of your house.  We rarely have visitors.  And when we do, it is a massive operation to get things looking semi-normal(ish). 

*sigh*

We. Are. Shattered.

Factor in job changes, home working and Covid, and we are basically a self-supporting commune of 5.

Looking back on the last 6 years this weekend has just made me feel shit.  

Really shit.

And really beat up.

I worry constantly about this whole thing - we live in a constant state of flux and the kids have had to come along for the ride, because mum and dad are so fucking stretched, they have no choice.  We have had to be their everything to them all the time; is it enough?

And that's the real middle-of-the-night stuff, isn't it?  That's the stuff that keeps you up and makes you panic.

Our house is crazy.  It's set to get crazier in the next few weeks.  We have so much decorating, structural work and sorting to do.

Another struggle.

Another challenge.

Man, I am so tired.


 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Moving in the house

Well, we moved the bedrooms round.


After 3 years of letting the kids have their own rooms, which were wasted, wasted on them, we managed to convince the older two to share again (I don't know what kind of twilight world we have slipped into), O has his own room, and Dave and I finally got our light, airy, lovely main bedroom back.

It's amazing.



For the first time in 3 years I have my own space, it's quiet, it's peaceful, I am getting loads done and I am absolutely kicking butt.


Except I'm not really.


We are getting new heating in this time next week, so we have SO MUCH TO DO, I don't even know where to begin.

Dave is on one - he literally spends all day sitting at his computer moaning about how busy he isn't at work, then tonight he sauntered out to the shops with all three kids, reappearing at 6pm, kids eating handfuls of sweets, and having missed O's dance class, which was PAID FOR, dammit!



It's not 6.20pm and I have left him to make tea, because apparently he "has a plan", and I literally WADED through bin bags and sacks of old books and socks and other nonsense to come back up to my new happy place.

EVERYTHING needs decorated.

There's some really sad washing on the line outside which has been there for days because of endless rain and my inability to deal with it.

There's about ten bin bags in the driveway and general waste collection isn't until next week.

Yes, the boys are sharing a room, but Tom's bed is going to have to come apart so the workmen can access the radiator (haven't told Dave yet - not sure he has realised).

We've hired an Air BnB situation down the road for the shittest 'holiday' ever where we have to decamp and sit with the three anti-social dogs for two days.  We *might* get to come home overnight.  Eek.

Work is mental just now - I am exhausted.

And we have a week.

One week.

To pull a de-cluttered and clean house out of our bums.

Pray for Genna.



Monday, 1 March 2021

Bairns and Blethers - A Good Old Catch Up

 Well, world, what in the heck happened?



One day I catch myself saying to Dave: "I wish something would happen, you know?  Something that just makes the world stop for a bit.  I'm so done with the relentless-ness of it all and just want it all to stop"


And the next - it did.


Sometimes I do feel like I am connected to this wee old planet in a bit of a spiritual way (ooky spooky!) and well, most times I do really just feel like a bit of a spaceman floating around waiting for something to happen or tell me where to go.


And sometimes I feel absolutely driven, like I am desperately feeling like I need to fulfil my purpose RIGHT NOW, which is kind of how I am feeling just now.



Covid has been a bit of a crazy ride, and as we come up to the wierdest anniversary of anything ever - like, ever - I feel a bit like I have ridden the greatest rollercoaster in my whole life and now I have to get off and go home back to the boring mundane.


I'm not ashamed to say, I have quite enjoyed being locked down.  I mean, okay, it has been a bit shit for the kids; my oldest basically got chucked out of p7 and into high school with the shittest goodbye ever, my youngest has had to start school in pandemic conditions and I think I might have gained about 2 stone because I have comfort eaten the fuck out of it, but otherwise, it's been fine, really.

Middle boy has been better than he has ever been and has come on so much- any of the regular societal pressures he has felt over the years has completely gone and school is now much more manageable for him.  The weight of all of that being taken off has changed our family considerably.  The crazy merry-go-round has actually stopped, which is nothing short of miraculous.  It may even have given us some actual formative real chance of getting somewhere with this.



Myself and Dave are keyworkers in the third sector and our jobs have catapulted our careers further in a shorter space of time than any of us could have imagined.  It is absolutely mind-blowing compared to last year where we are now, and for that I am eternally grateful.  It feels like a mad dream.

By all accounts, I certainly don't ever want to downplay anything that has happened in the world or the horrible, awful, terrible hardships anyone has been through in the last year; not at all.  Working in the third sector (and in things like emergency provision for basic needs like food and clothing), I know life is so tough on so many and in so many horrible conditions all over the world.

But personally, for me, for us, for our wee family, in this wee dilapidated cottage which is going to suck our souls dry (or leave us dying of frostbite or in an electrical fire) for once...for once....FOR ONCE....the world isn't shitting right on our laps for a change.

And it feels good.

It feels good to be able to put food on the table without panicking.  We are travelling a lot less, so less wear on the cars, which meant come MOT time, we weren't completely destroyed.  We are paying a lot less for fuel, so aren't constantly running on empty.  We have been able to address some real pressing issues in the house like basic furniture needs, like buying the kids a bed and bedding.  We have been able to buy gifts at Christmas without sheer panic.

I keep waiting for the bolt to shut across the door, when whatever cosmic being has let us free from our usual crock of shit life realises that we got out, but it hasn't happened just yet.


While the rest of the world is desperate to get back to 'normal', here's me in a corner saying, "please, not quite yet.  There's still so much to do".


I mean, I've written it down now, so I have totally jinxed it, but it has been so nice to just have this break.


And if all I end up with is this little memoir to look back on, well, I'm glad it happened and now I know it can happen - so watch out world, here I come.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Haven Cala Gran Holiday Summer 2019 (part one)

We had a total blast this summer in my favourite place.

For the second time since Owen was born, we went on a family holiday and back to the wee corner of the world that feels like home - Blackpool.



Well, technically, Fleetwood, but hey, we were there for the main attraction.

It took me a full on year to pay for our holiday and save for the spending money - last year we went with barely any money and it was a very tight squeeze!

This year I was determined that we would be able to eat out, to spend money on souvenirs and do some of the things that we wanted to do the year before.

Then I quit my job about 3 weeks before we went due to stress and faced the prospect of no wage when we came home from our holiday - great timing, as per.

For a while, it looked like we might need to call time on the idea of going away, but we had looked forward to it for so long...and paid for it....so off we went.

Man, Blackpool is expensive.

We stayed in a caravan at Cala Gran holiday park, which is home to an arcade (hours of children pouring my hard-saved money into machines every night), an entertainment venue (where you dream of sitting on your bum with a glass of wine, watching terrible, but funny holiday shows but instead the children just want to pour money into said machines in the adjacent arcade) and a pub (where you dream of sitting on your bum having a cheeky half pint in peace, but horrible children grudgingly half eat some of the most expensive pub food ever in between trying to head out to the adjacent arcade with my hard-saved pennies  which are burning a hole in their pockets, or running excitedly to the just-out-of-sight park where the four year old keeps getting stuck on the climber).



There is also a small swimming pool (adjacent to the pub, so mum can watch dad playing with the cherubs in the pool while having a cup of tea - ha ha, win!) and an outdoor water park thingy (where you can watch your kids run around while shouting 'be careful' and 'don't do that' at random intervals instead of relaxing.

I don't know if I'm just more cynical as I have gotten older or if arcades are actually more geared to ripping all of your cash out of you for very little fun or return.  Well, that and inflation, I suppose.  It just irked me (and all of the other parents I saw standing in the queue for the prize shop at the end of the week to redeem their tickets) when what must have been about £100 equated to three keyrings, a Hulk Hogan bandana and a set of stickers.



"But the kids had fun"

Yes.  Yes they did.

We all had a blast on holiday - but it is knackering.  But noticeably easier than the previous year.  The older they get, the less tightly wound they appear to be at the beginning.

Last year was crazy - just absolutely constant.  With Ethan, we always have to be 'doing' something and he never seems to be happy with what we are doing - just looking ahead to the next 'thing' which is kind of exhausting and relentless.  Especially in a holiday situation!

He was definitely more chilled this year - not massively - but it was certainly a bit more pleasant.

The first evening was spent paying grace to the gods of Arcadia by lining their metal trays with offerings of coins from children's pockets (we won about 400 tickets at the 2p machines).

We spent so much money on our tea that I felt obliged to put in a complaint online ( £54!!) and I nearly felt like taking a swing to Lidl to just buy food to survive the week.  There's something really weird about living on barely nothing week to week for the last 5 years and then suddenly allowing yourself to splurge - you almost just can't do it.   It doesn't feel pleasant!

We spent the first day in Cleveleys, mainly because I had to cash a cheque at the bank, taking a stroll, marvelling at the 1990's vibe and fully comprehending that this is where every older person ever is holidaying.  It's a bit like Blackpool back in the day where shops still sell some random as heck items outside in baskets marked "£1 per item" and you can pick up anything from a walking stick to a vibrator.

It was actually quite comforting to take in sights such as market stalls selling some pretty questionable clothing in xxxl sizes, wigs and underwear, all of which the kids enjoyed having a giggle at while we shout-whispered "PUT.THAT.DOWN" with crazy eyes while trying not to laugh.

We lunched at a very reasonably priced cafe which was very busy and had a Monet theme, which gave it an air of 1980's Granny's Glasgow house chic (dusky pink, Monet pics in gold frames with gold lamps) , which again was quite comforting and hearty.



I had a very nice 'barm cake' which Dave had a lengthy argument with me about ordering due to the fact he said he would "just be asking for a cheese roll" and I had words with him about the fact a roll and a barm are two different things, which after a quick Google, he realised they were NOT!

HA HA, Dave!

(If you have any interest in this - a barm cake is made with excess foam from beer making! A roll is not!)

It may have been a more heated argument than it needed to be...aherm...

Thankfully we had the comedy break of watching what was a woman armed with a full-on water gun standing in the middle of the road outside, shooting seagulls who were swooping down on those who had chosen to eat at the pavement cafe.  So that was funny.

A quick walk along the water front (very windy) where we talked to dogs (not people though) and the boys (including Dave)  obviously decided that  every bench, concrete fixture and pole was some kind of elaborate parkour trail, so it was more me walking like I was the head of a troupe of crazy, not-very-coordinated, loud, monkeys that I didn't know were following me.




Honestly, I wonder what we all look like sometimes.

"But the kids had fun"

Yes.  They did.  And I hear you.  But honestly, sometimes I wish it was just the kids and not also the fourth, large man-child joining in and that we could walk together nicely while the kids play.  That would feel a little tiny bit less like I was in charge of some kind of uncontrollable mass sometimes.

When I finally herded them all back together, there was thankfully (!) a small arcade across the road (yay!) and of course, son number one needed the toilet, so in we traipsed, spending more than we had intended on yet more tickets (which we later discovered we could feed into the ticket counting machine back at the park, so I felt like I was beating the system just a little bit...ha ha, fuck you, Haven arcade!)






Back to the car and then back to the caravan, where we decided on the camp Papa John's for tea this time (slightly cheaper, kind of) and the back to having the money hoovered out of our pockets by small children who fed it all into the shiny machines.  While I of course wished that I was sitting in the entertainment bit having a glass of wine and watching the kids join in the horrible entertainment instead...but no....

"But the kids had fun"

They did!  And so did I, really...





Part 2 to follow...












Saturday, 10 August 2019

The Struggle Is Real

I'm not having the best week.

Dave has finally come off on holiday from work for the last week of the holidays, and as always, I have limped across the finish line waiting for him.

I barely held it together the previous week, when I unequivocally stated that I was DONE with being the full-time, main carer for our three darling children.


What is wrong with me?

That's the question I asked myself for a good couple of weeks: What is wrong with me?

Why am I unable to get through lengthy periods of time caring for three children on my own, when so many other women also have to do it and without half as much complaint as I seem to constantly give?



Last week, I decided I needed to vent, so I posted a bit of a diatribe on a parenting forum, which went a bit like this:

"Ladies, we are week 5 into the summer holidays and I have been off work for 10 weeks now (quit a really awful, stressful, horrible job and a million times better now, and waiting for new job to start in 2 weeks). My teeth feel like they are peeling with the domestic boredom. I have three kids, aged 10, 8 and 4 and they are lovely kids, they really are, but quite honestly, I could punt them out of the window. 
The youngest is full on Oedipal, spending the majority of his time sqwauking "mum, mum, mum, mummaaaaaaaaaaay" a bajiliion times a day, just for no real reason. I mean, he doesn't want anything...just my fucking soul.
The middle one is in the spectrum and needs to know exactly what we are doing every single moment of every single day, which means there is absolutely no chance of standing down or having a casual 5 minutes, like, ever. He needs routine and I stupidly keep saying things like 'maybe later', instead of just giving him a specific time and date for stuff. He is exhausting. The oldest has decided his preteen side is going to come out this summer and he just spends his time back-chatting or wrapped like a slug in all my nice blankets in his smelly room watching YouTube constantly.
Plus, the eating!!! All they do is consume!!! What have I made?!
I fear our household is the biggest contributor to landfill in the world (sorry everyone else), despite my efforts.
I have about ten tons of washing I constantly need to do, they keep making me go to parks where they ruin their shoes by scuffing them on the roundabout, or in the saner moments when we don't have to 'do something' (for they must at ALL times be 'entertained' ๐Ÿคจ, they've managed to haul all of my soft furnishings and all the tiny little toys outside to play 'shops' (read: make a big bastarding mess), usually just before the wee showers we've been randomly having, so everything gets soaked. Raging.
I've had precisely 10 hours of childcare over the last ten weeks to fulfil the purpose of going to job interviews and yesterday I got to go to a funeral (yay! ๐Ÿ˜ž)
I left my job because I was burnt out, now I just feel burnt out in a different way. I miss socialising with adults, or just having a normal conversation that isn't preceded or followed up with demands, or just silence (these boys are so loud and they just constantly talllllllkkkkk!) Christ, I'd love to finish a stream of thought, let alone a cup of tea.
My house is a shit tip, I have eaten so much shite (no time to make nice things for me) and I'm knackered. School holidays are far too long. And I know some folk really embrace the time and enjoy their kids company because 'life is so short' and 'they are only little once' and yes, I feel guilty for moaning, because obviously I'm lucky to have them etc etc but HOLY FUCK I need a break!"


I fully expected to be taken apart for my comment  but I didn't really care.  I was at the end of my tether.

I did not expect what are some of the nicest and supportive comments I have ever had from total strangers.  Hundreds of women replied in solidarity.  I've never felt more seen.

I have honestly had the most shittiest few years - between a crazy house that is falling apart, the worst financial issues I've ever faced, couple that with not on, mot two or three, but 4 cars which have all had some pretty hefty problems or being scrapped completely(we need our cars where we live for work and school etc), some pretty crazy employment, redundancy, unemployment situations, health stuff and the general craziness that goes with raising a family around all of this...I wouldn't say that we haven't done too bad, considering.



During this time we have had some really great help from some really amazing people - I've been in absolute tears sometimes with the lengths that some folk have gone to to help us out, and we will always remember everything, every little detail, because sometimes quite honestly, it's all that has kept us going at times.

We have had our fair share of shite from folk too, which keeps it all at a balance, to be fair, but in the main, folk are generally nice and supportive.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that we have not had it easy, and that all things considered, we are doing okay.

It does feel like walking backwards through treacle in heels with handcuffs and a blindfold on sometimes - especially when we get handed three boisterous, loud and to be honest, quite demanding children for weeks at a time.

This summer, I haven't had a payday for two months - that's bound to add pressure onto a situation, especially when we have to factor school uniforms, the big p7 school trip payment by the end of August, feeding the buggers for six weeks plus activities.

Man, life is easier by miles when you have some kind of liquid cash to put into activities.



And everything costs money - I mean, everything.

I'm so tired of moaning about it, but I am always so fucking stressed about bloody money - the kids are like wee money hoovers.  Sometimes I feel like we are finally getting on top of something and can relax a bit and BOOM - it's like they can sense it and they grow, or need shoes or suddenly need money for something else.

And to try and take the edge off, I give them pocket money every week.  Burning a hole in their pockets - they go mad with the power. £3 per week is tons to a kid, and actually a bit of an annoying, sickening feeling every Friday, trying to remember to pay them and trying to remember it's good for them to have it and it's good for them to learn budgeting and stuff - but honestly, sometimes it's my last £3 every week and it kills me to hand it over to be spent on rubbish.

Something popped up on my Facebook feed today that reminded me that this time, 5 years ago, someone had our kids overnight!

Can you imagine!

Which makes that the last time we spend a night together alone away from the kids.

And in that post, I mention how the last time before that had been 3 years previous.

That means we have had 2 nights away from our children in EIGHT FUCKING YEARS.

No wonder I am feeling a wee bit fraught.

I love my children, with every bone in my body I love them.  

But, man, I am tired.  And I am so in need of a break.

The last time Dave and I had more than 2 hours alone together was back in March.

March 22nd, to be exact.

And I hate to say it, but I am jealous.

Jealous of the mums that go away on holidays with pals abroad for a couple of nights, jealous of the couples who get to go away for a night at the weekend in a different city to recharge, jealous of the families who take children away to caravans to spend quality time with grandparents or stay with them for a week, jealous of the sleepovers at aunties and uncles houses, at the people who go away in large groups of pals, mish-mashing their kids together for unforgettable trips where they take the weight off each other just by being there.  I'm jealous of the people who have groups of pals they meet up with frequently for day trips, and the gal pals who meet up for a reunion, of the siblings who old each other kids for each other while they go and conquer whatever it is they need to do.

It's so bloody hard to be one of two whole people in the whole world who take responsibility for three growing kids on very fucking little for so much time in one go. 
 It's knackering and hard and honeslty, as much fun as it can be , and as tight as we are as a family, and as lucky as we are to be all together and safe and warm (because there is always that one person who has to 'play devils advocate' or 'see the positives'), I honestly do benefit from stepping away for a bit and gaining perspective and being apart from the kids.

As does everyone!

The more women who commented on that post that day, the more I realised - I am not alone.  My situation is not 'usual'. My husband couldn't see it until I showed him the post and the comments from other women in similar situations.

We all need a support network - whatever form that takes.  We all need someone to hold a hand, or wipe a bum, or to simply batten down the hatches with when things get rough.

I sincerely wish that the women on my computer that day lived beside me.

Thank fuck for the internet or I might have not survived the last week.

I am normal.  IT's okay to be struggling in my own situation.  It's okay to be tired.  It's totally okay to need people.  It's fine to need a break from your kids (and healthier for everyone involved).  It's cool to need to vent. 

Everyone - please check on your friends and each other; near and far.  It's a bloody long summer, and nobody should ever feel at breaking point when we are all in this together.










Sunday, 4 August 2019

Jaded

I think I have become slightly jaded and lost my way a bit.

I had to quit my job.  Not because I couldn't handle it, not because I was bad at it, but simply because the people were extremely awful to me, because I was working way way over and above for little to no recompense and because there were things going on which I wasn't prepared to compromise my own professional and moral integrity for.

It's been a rough ride.

Me, the week I decided I was leaving my job.  Check out the eyebags.  Anyone who says mental health is invisible is a liar!


It took a lot for me to walk away.  

First came the huge guilt - would everything be okay if I left, would things fall by the wayside?  
Then the stress, the anxiety and the fear - what if I bump into people from there, what if people think it's all my fault, what will people think of me?

I spent a solid month waiting for my p45 - in the meantime there was absolutely no acknowledgement of the sick line I had handed in, no messages of concern from any ex-colleagues, no notice that my resignation had even been received; just radio silence.  It was a long month.

With a husband working in the same sector and around the same kind of people, I lived every day in fear of what he would learn - would someone let slip that I had ruined a perfectly good and well-working project before I got my hands on it, or would people pay their best lip-service to him because I was his wife?

Would everyone be whispering about how badly I had handled everything and how poorly I had performed?  Was I just a weak and poor performer, unqualified and unable to cut it?

I spent the month feeling sick.  I couldn't shop in places I had shopped for the project (still can't!), taking myself 6 miles out of the way every time I needed any shopping.  I nearly spewed on my dashboard one day when I drove past someone who I used to work with. I had vicious dreams about being trapped in my old building while people hunted me down.  I had palpatations in the middle of the night thinking about how and if it might all end.  I had to get rid of certain clothes, paperwork, block people from my social media, filter out my emails...

Of course, news filtered through from various sources; so and so had done whatever, things had or hadn't happened, things weren't going so well, there was a lot of scrabbling around etc etc.  I felt worse.

The people I worked with throughout the sector knew I'd been under a lot of pressure - it was a lucky escape.  I was lucky to get out. It definitely wasn't me - they were awful people and didn't deserve me.  I had done a lot of good and now that was being wasted. What a shame - how awful it had happened to me.  Life went on.

Meanwhile, I could barely breathe.

I tried to get a new job - I had interviewed for a nursery back when I really should have left. The manager was really nice and offered me a full time job there.  I went there for 3 days.  It was awful.  I hated it.  Nobody acknowledged my existence, let alone spoke to me and the children, though absolutely gorgeous and cuddly, just didn't want to be there.  I was in the under 2's room, so they couldn't communicate verbally.  Some were ill and just needing to be at home with mum. I found that parents dumping small kids for 10 hours a day in a mediocre setting upsetting, so I left as quickly as I had started.  Not for me.

I had no income.

A friend very kindly lent me money I have no idea how I am going to pay back and I breathed a little deeper, knowing I could take my time and find something I wanted to do.

I put my all into applying for all the jobs I didn't want.

I got one.  It's really not me.  

I feel like one by one all of my passions have been extinguished and I've been left with an empty and soulless life with little purpose.

And boy, do I need purpose.

Even writing at the moment doesn't feel right.  

I feel stunted - stunted by my gender, by my level in life, by my position and by my status.

I should have went to University to do the Forensic Science degree at 18, if not I should have went to the RSAMD audition, if not I should have went to the Primary Teaching interview, we should have delayed having kids, we should never have left that house we were in, I should have finished the post-grad, I should never have left the library...

Should of, should have never, should be....

What the heck have I done?

I keep saying "what's for you won't go by you", and I am trying to keep the faith that this is true, but honestly, with things the way they are at the moment...what if life is truing to tell me that this is all I deserve?  A falling apart house with no income, a mediocre wage when it comes and a life without anything to pour my passions into?

And if so, what the heck have I done to deserve this?

I've got so much to give, so much love to spread, so much passion to pour into the right thing.  

Could I just please get a chance to do this without being shafted all the time?

Please?

 













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