I’m okay for a while, I tick along, doing my thing, being a mum, being a wife, keeping my career on track. Then one day, like today, I just can’t do it any more. One 5.30am start too many. One nightmare at bedtime too far that tips me over the edge of my sanity. It tears at my very soul to see my daughter crying for her mummy, I can’t just leave her, but in going to her I know I’m ‘making a rod for my own back’ as the books say.
The pressure to be all things to all people is just too much for me sometimes. I can’t be with my children all day, I can’t reassure my toddler that it’s okay Mummy’s here, because as soon as the Nanny arrives I won’t be. I’ll be out the door, jumping on the train and coming into my other life.
I can’t say to my husband ‘do you know what, just give me a fucking break today, can’t you just get up with the children, please. Can’t you just find a way of keeping them occupied while I try and have a shower. ALONE? ‘ Because that would be unkind and unfair and he doesn’t deserve that. But I’m a monster without enough sleep. I really don’t adapt well to it like so many others.
If my 25 year old self were to look at me now, she’d be amazed by what I had achieved. But she’d also be saying to me ‘Take a break Holly, give yourself some credit for what you do’. The truth is though I have no inner-life coach. I have no one to tell me that. And actually what I’m doing is not at all amazing really. There are plenty of working mothers out there. Many of whom struggle with other issues too, more children, sick children, children with challenges. My life is very easy really.
And most of time it’s all good. I can get through life with a smile, thanking my lucky stars for the great gifts I’ve been given in the form of my two beautiful daughters. But some days the pressure mounts too high. I think I’ll scream. I think I’ll just walk out of here and keep on walking. Like that character in that Anne Tyler novel. I’ll just leave and keep going, turn up somewhere coastal in a few weeks, with a broken pair of heels and a bad hair do.
I did try that once (the leaving, not the heels and hair). When my toddler was about 3 months old and I thought I couldn’t cope with the crying, the sleep deprivation, the very life of being a mother anymore. I packed a small bag and waited at the bottom of the stairs for my husband to come home. The baby cried upstairs and I drowned out the noise with the thoughts in my head. They were evil buggers at that time. Properly nasty little sods that would invade my head whenever I stopped moving. He came home and hugged me and told me it would be okay, then he went and did the same with the baby. He saved all of us that night. He was perfect. Life went on and it was wonderful. But that fear lurks somewhere in the back on my mind and doesn’t go away.
Maybe after the pressure releases (primeval shouting therapy perhaps?) I’ll get my equilibrium back. Maybe a good night’s sleep will put perspective on this and I’ll read this again tomorrow and hang my red face in shame that I’ve shared such personal thoughts with the world (who am I kidding, I think about 10 people might read this and that’s probably an exageration). At any rate I hope I’ll do that. Because reading this with a degree of embarrasment will mean I feel better.
So thanks again Josie for giving me the prompt to bear my soul. The prompt was ‘What is putting you under pressure today?’