10 February 2018

A better night – F woke briefly at 03:30 and everyone slept in until 07:10. Lovely ?

I’ve not had any meat for two weeks and all we have left in the house now is three tins of tuna.

I’m working on a set of veggie meals the kids will enjoy before I think about reducing dairy. Today I made (all vegan) tofu chicken nuggets.

The fried coating on these was amazing. The tofu inside was… well, tofu I guess. The kids ate half of what I served (6 large each) and didn’t complain. I’m definitely making them again. I adpated the recipe from the here one at Under A Lemon Tree and I used buckwheat flour instead of oats.

The weather here is appalling and the kids are now on half term so I don’t know what we’re going to fill next week with.

7 February 2018

Mixed night last night. I thought L was asleep, but after I turned lights out he came in at around 21:00 just as I was dropping off. Then again at 21:15, so I let him get in with me to fall asleep. I then carried my very heavy and lanky eight year old back to his own bed at 21:30. So much for my super early night.

F cried in the early hours as her nose was blocked. I was tired when I woke up, but my mood today has been so much improved – I no longer feel like I have a horrible blackness hanging over me.

Even C crying all the way home from school because he didn’t want risotto for dinner couldn’t phase me. I just gave him a big kiss and said I was sorry he didn’t like what I was planning.

In between playing feed the teddies and hand puppets with F today I sorted through the last of the cupboard stuff. Oh it’s so lovely now it’s done:

The rest of the house is a mess, but I’ll work my way around to that.

On my computer yesterday I found a backup of my first ever blog from 2005, on a very early version of WordPress. I had a read through some of the entries and my whole writing style was so different. I had a ton of energy and I seemed so much lighter. Isn’t it amazing how our attitude and outlook can morph over time? When did I become so serious, so maudlin, so worn-down and worn-out? I am going to see if I can import them – in fact I’m thinking of importing everything – 13 years of ad hoc writing about life.

Hoping for a good night tonight, as always. I really think that if I can get the sleep sorted, everything else will be so much easier.

4 February 2018

Just when you think things are looking up, last night F woke at:

22:30
00:30
03:30
05:30

Crying rather than the howling screaming she usually does, but still horribly disruptive.

She was up for the day at 6:30am and both of us felt rotten. She was grisly and miserable. I was tired and depressed. She has a cold and last night it was a blocked-up nose that was stopping her sleeping well. I felt so down this morning, wondering when this cycle of illness and bad sleep is ever going to end. However, the husband took the kids out to see some planes at a war museum and I did a week’s worth of meal planning and an online shop order. Then I did two loads of washing and cleaned out the linen cupboard, setting aside a big bag of stuff to put in textile recycling.

There is nothing like a good sort out to lift my spirits. The more functional and essential my possessions, the happier I am. My love of minimalism is still strong and it’s something I’ve really neglected since F was born. I find modern life and all its trappings and choices so overwhelming. I crave simplicity and order, and it’s a hard thing to balance in today’s world, especially with young children.

Is it odd that paring down the bed linen to 2 or 3 matching sets per bed and folding all the towels in neat piles by size makes me so happy? I keep looking in the cupboard, just because it looks so lovely.

Tonight I’m in bed before 9pm and all the children are asleep (even L, which is unusual). Here’s hoping for a decent night.

2 February 2018

Something interesting happened last night:

23:20 C came in and asked me to go to the bathroom with him

04:20 F woke up, yawned, and very nicely asked me for her BeeBee (giraffe teddy blanket). I found it for her and she went back to sleep.

No screaming! I also noticed that the last few nights (in my room), she has gone to sleep with very little fussing.

I had a morning of firefighting at work instead of getting the things done I had planned. I picked F up at 1pm and she fell asleep in the car. I drove to Sainsburys but she had a complete meltdown when she woke up. Total screaming nightmare so I couldn’t get her out of the car and take her shopping. She tried to kick me and screamed and screamed. I ran out of time waiting in the car park for her to calm down (20 minutes), so I just had to get back in the car and head to school. We took a long drive there and she calmed down a bit but was still crying when I collected C.

Then we did the daily wait for L to get off the bus. Waiting in the car with kids is a crap way to spend time. They climb all over every seat, press every button and generally annoy each other in a confined space. Every day. I’ll be so glad when the two boys are at the same school next year.

But this afternoon, once we were all home, I felt a little bit lighter than I have the last couple of weeks. Not quite so exhausted. More patient. And that is a good thing.

1 February 2018

And a month of 2018 has gone already. Last night was better:

22:30 F screamed
01:30 I woke for the bathroom (stupid bedtime herbal tea)
04:19 F cried (rather than screamed)

A better night, made worse by my own stupidity in drinking peppermint and lemongrass tea before bed. Lesson learnt.

I just felt so worn out picking the children up today. It’s an hours drive from 4pm to 5pm to get all three. I cannot remember if I felt this way before I became a mother. I can’t really remember how I felt at all before I became a mother most days. When I got the children home my brother called. He’s been quiet recently due to lack of credit on his phone. He’s awaiting a hospital appointment to check on an erratic heartbeat. He keeps getting these spells where he feels like he’s blacking out when he’s walking along the street. A friend of his said he nods in a scary way when it’s happening. He’s already on a host of medication and diabetic. He’s 36. I got off the phone and cried some silent tears. One day he’s not going to be around any more. My mother’s health is also bad. One day she won’t be around either. I know that their deaths are probably on the medium term horizon unless something changes drastically in their lives. How am I going to cope with that loss when they go? I don’t have any coping left.

Is it me, or when you reach your forties, does life just seem like it’s all a lot more serious than it used to be? I am probably never going to be rich or famous. I’m probably never going to do much more than I’ve already done. Relatives and friends will grow older and get sicker. None of them are getting younger and healthier. People will die.

One thing I never knew before I became a parent was how much motherhood depletes you. The lost sleep, the physical endurance of pregnancy and birth, and then the emotional toil – the guilt, the worry, the frustration and the numbness at the end of long days that only offer long, difficult nights as consolation. And even getting to the point of having a family can be so tough. After what we went through I was the equivalent of lame and half blind before I even started the journey. There’s no recovery, or time to build up your strength and resources. Some women go through years of hell to get pregnant, a hellish pregnancy, a three-day labour that rips their bodies apart, and then bang! Welcome to 18 years of being a mother – oh didn’t we tell you it doesn’t get any easier?

Maybe I am depressed. I certainly feel like I am dragging my heels through every day, just waiting to get to a point in some distant future fantasy where I can sleep, laugh, relax, and enjoy life.

Today when I collected the children L was upset as soon as I picked him up that there was no snack, and he was starving, and he has a mouth ulcer that hurts. Then I collected C, who had a biscuit from after school club, so L cried and C said he wouldn’t share because L never shares. They tried to hit each other in the car. Then I collected F. While I went in to get her the boys let themselves out of the car and ran around the car park. The manager came to tell me my children were loose. I rounded them all up and got them all home and made a 5 minute dinner of pasta parcels. F cried all the way through dinner. I tried to find out why but I couldn’t understand her because she was crying too much and that just made her more angry. She lashed out at me, kicking and pushing me away.

I left the devastation in the kitchen for later because they all wanted to play upstairs, so up we went. F cried and complained of a sore bottom, but as soon as I mentioned a bath she got hysterical, so we scrapped that idea. I managed to get her into bed and for once the boys weren’t trying to kill each other. I read C stories and tucked him in, heading downstairs to clean up, but as soon as I’m down he got out of bed, was in my room, dropping stuff on the floor and doing god knows what. I went back up and put him back in bed. I came down and we have a repeat. I went back up and told him off – the last thing I want to do at the end of the day. I came back down and resumed the kitchen.

L was looking for an envelope and wanted to start doing craft activities now the other two are in bed, but all I could think about was how I didn’t want to clean up any more mess. Normally I would put him in my room to read before bed, but I can’t do that now as F is in there, so he has to stay downstairs until C is asleep. I finally get him up and teeth brushed, but it’ll be an hour before he goes to sleep, during which I will no doubt have to make several trips up the stairs. Everything just seems so hard all the time. The constant tidying, the constant mess. The same things I put away day after day after day. The way the kids will get things out of cupboards and drawers while I am still putting away the last thing or clearing up the last mess. The endless complaining and crying and bickering and the relentless asking for things I have to say no to on a daily basis (chocolate for breakfast/legoland/instant playdates/digging up the lawn for treasure/buying new toys/bike rides when it’s raining/going to Australia/new shoes/etc). I sometimes feel like my children must be the most miserable and unhappy children ever with the amount that they ask for that I can’t give them.

I panicked slightly today about the six week summer holiday. Amusing toddlers is a hard enough job, but young boys need space, and exercise. Their energy for play burns up everything around them. What on earth will I do with them every day? I have no idea. I have no energy of my own. My fading light is letting my kids down. I cannot be the mother I want to be. I feel guilty about living apart from my husband. That was not the vision I had of family life. It’s not what I wanted for my children. It’s not what I wanted for me. I could write oceans of words on my emotions but it wouldn’t be right. I can tell the world about my miscarriages, but not the problems in our marriage.

The house looms with all it’s chores. My freelance work is becoming something I am starting to resent. Even just getting through the day requires so much work, and that’s before I’ve tackled the school emails, newsletters, work emails, post, household admin, budgeting and food planning. There is only so much that one person can do. I fantasise about getting rid of almost everything, and having time to play with the children, and to sleep. Always sleep.

I should pay more attention to Buddhist thought. Unburden myself of so many attachments, both emotional and physical. I cling in fear to so much in my life, terrified of losing those I love and pondering who will be next to go. Having been through three family deaths (aside from all the miscarriages), in the last few years that were all so traumatic in their own way I find that thoughts of funerals and loneliness haunt me. Mum is the same. She has told me she is saving for hers. She wants me to place a star on the tree in the big church on the Christmas after she leaves us, just like we did with her brother a few weeks back.

In short, I have lost the joy of the day and I want it back so very, very much.