So much for my plans… children didn’t need me!
The kids are really self-sufficient these days, which is quite bizarre really. Such a big change from really not so long ago and definitely one of the big deals about this house; one of the massive upsides of more space and more room to spread out and do their own thing has been a greater degree of opportunity for autonomy. It fascinates me to increasingly hear my children engaged in conversation and projects around me; i find someone immersed in a pile of books behind a sofa, a pile of emergent writing on a table, a model built by someone left on a baking tray ready for me to cook. If they want something they know what they can help themselves to from my stock room, they feed the rabbits themselves (if not unprompted!)
This weekend has had a lot of gamecubing in it, mostly Mario Party (can’t buy Gamecube games in Game anymore. HUH!!!!!) but lovely co-operative play with teams and Josie being included and adding stars on for Amelie so she doesn’t get left behind. Amelie and Maddy made some amazing Fimo Nintendo characters, which sadly Josie mangled. Lots of Playmobil got played, some snuggly film watching all together. The girls rehearsed a Little Mermaid show (Amanda, MUST send yours back to you! Remind me!) Life feels an awful lot easier now and i’m kind of miserable to admit that i’m glad it won’t be getting harder again anytime soon. Really, business is just so busy and the Christmas rush is just all i can manage. I can take in 3 days now as much as i took in the whole of last December!
Yesterday was another huge business breakthrough day; i took over £500 (actually nearly £600) in one day. I’ve applied for a credit card machine at home now, which will give me other options and Max and i have written a business plan (well, the start of one!) that draws out what we need to do to both be employed by the business and living in our dream area within 3 years. It is more than slightly terrifying when you get to talking about those figures. More terrifying is that i actually think it might be possible to achieve. I can hardly believe that something that started in 6 plastic crates with £300 actually might end up being our livelihood. If we could achieve that within 3 years… well… how fantastic to have both of us at home with the kids. Fran would only be 12, she’d still have so much of her childhood to enjoy without having one parent out of the home all day. Yes, we’d both have to work hard still, but the plan included employees and still living and working from one place. It might just be do-able.
***navel gazing from here in***
So yes, the future is opening up a little again. Oh i so want this year to be over, i so want to feel free again. Just now i feel an awful lot like my laptop; distinctly short on processing power. I need more RAM. One bit of my brain is running a program that i can’t shift; it has crashed and i can’t get that stupid little box to close and shut it down. 30% of my brain is just running one constant process that drains and exhausts me and won’t go away. 30% is directed at the children and the house, 30% at business. The last little 10% is trying to put me back together, slightly hampered by the 30% that wants me to send an error report in to Microsoft. There isn’t room for forward planning, or recovery or working out who i am anymore because i just don’t have the available resources to do it. I end up sitting up late at night, crying and crying and trying to make sense of the utterly endless dreams and nightmares and flashbacks and reactions that are utterly out of proportion to my life as i want it. And then i can’t sleep, because i’m too wound up and alone – and then i’m tired – and then my processor just has to wait till i hold down a key long enough for my whole system to reset.
However, i have managed to put together a few thoughts which are effectively a few bricks in the wall that i’ll end up sat back on top of. I’m slowly running a defrag (oh how i wish that sorting out one’s brain was as simple as getting PCWorld to courier over more RAM) Anyway… a few of the things that are gradually getting kicked out into the line up of my life, courtesy of the very helpful way i’m learning to think at counselling, are as follows…..
*You can’t second guess life; sometimes “what seems best at the time” is just that – and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes the split is so close to 50/50 that you are stuck with just making a judgement call and living with the fallout. So, for example (not that this is my primary bit of thought on this, tbh)… i could keep BM small and minimise the impact on the next 3 years – or i could risk the fact that it might be a tough 3 years on us all, that it might even eventually mean the kids spend sometime in school or nursery, but that in 3 years time we get a fresh start – and hope the previous 3 years haven’t actually redirected that goal too far off course. Or… for another example… i could insist and demand that i’m allowed another baby in 6 months or so and hope i can juggle everything and that that baby allows me to heal – or i could live with not being allowed that and just vaguely hope that if the 3 year plan comes off, either i won’t want one anymore or i can have one then. And that it is okay and makes me feel better. Not that i’m even close to being ready to have another. Not that i even think it would be right now, or indeed ever. But you know, plans and dreams…
*Having options isn’t always the same as having real choice. I can apply this to about 85% of my life at the moment, including how i feel about the way i want the children to be educated. I’m keen to get to a place, very soon, that enables them to have real choice about their day, not just options to choose from. Equally, i’m beginning to accept that when things go wrong, it isn’t always my fault, that i’m not always a total failure in everything i do and that sometimes the blame lies either nowhere, or with someone else. I’m SO embracing the “other peoples baggage” concept. And i’m completely shaking off the boringly British notion of “making a bed and lying in it” -yes i choose to be a WAHM and an HEer and be busy and give up on being Mrs MP and yes i chose to have 4 children close together (seemed like a good idea at the time!) – but sometimes i still want stop the world and get off for a while.
I am also beginning to live with the idea that how other people perceive my life doesn’t actually have to have any bearing on how i see it. I’ve been utterly astonished as my counselling has gone on, to realise how much i view myself in terms of what other people think of me. If i do something good and someone criticises it, i lose all sense of pride. If i have a rough time and someone else’s baggage invalidates my feelings, i stop giving myself any right to recovery. If someone else has a different personality trait, a different set of life experiences that means their reactions are different, that doesn’t mean i reacted wrongly.
What is it with me that means that 10 loving, gentle people can be kind and accepting and want to help and support and then one person is venomous and damaging and i listen to them the most? Where did i learn that? Well, actually i probably know – but quite frankly, 32 is too old to be living life lessons learned at 7. Baggage, baggage, baggage….. off the bridge, into the water, floating away down the river. Bye bye, thank you and goodnight.
There is a perfect Elton John line for this (wouldn’t want to disappoint Nic, if anyone actually made it this far) “Some of us sail through our troubles and some have to live with the scars.” Time to stop picking the scabs and poking them with poisoned sticks. I’m not going to come out of the otherside without some white scars, but i am going to come out the otherside.