Thursday, February 12, 2015

Coming out the other side

Sometimes when I see women with small children struggling in a supermarket, or sitting staring blankly on a bench in the playground, I feel sorry for them. Unlike me, they are not yet coming out the other side.
I should start by saying that, for me, having children was the most wonderful thing that happened in my life. The force of the love took me a bit by surprise - it is all-encompassing and inescapable. Your children fill your days, your thoughts, your heart and your soul. And it is magical.

But boy, is it hard.

My three children are now aged 6, 8, and 10 - and life with them is good. But looking back to when they were 6 months, 2 years, and 4 years, I honestly don’t know how I coped. It was Hard Work.

I’m not sure exactly when it changed, but I distinctly remember one Sunday morning looking up from the newspaper and thinking, "Hold on a second, I’ve just read that entire supplement and there’s still nobody looking for me."  

Those days of constant 5am starts, tiredness that leaves you feeling like you are operating on a different level from everyone around you, the constant running from task to task to task, the breaking up arguments, the guilt that you didn’t leave the house with them again today, the juggling of three levels of development when no one seems to get what they need and you are left falling asleep on the sofa at 8.30pm - they're all gone for me now. At the time it seemed as if those days were interminable, like they each lasted for a week and they would never, ever end.  But I’m here to tell you that they do.

Enjoying a gig in Hyde Park

As your children grow more independent and playschool or school beckons, the mind-fog clears a bit and you gain some headspace. You start planning things again – exercise classes to join, a business to start up, hobbies to begin, trips to take. Your house begins to become your own once more as multi-coloured plastic toys are consigned to the charity shop and replaced with much less offensive footballs and DS’s. You start to find a little me time again – going out, reconnecting with old friends, finding the old you to mix with the mum you.

If you are in the thick of it, crawling through each new day and wondering whether you will ever make it, the answer is - you will.

So embrace the chaos, revel in the cuddles, and try to just breathe. I’ll see you on the other side very soon.

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