Gosh but I awoke this morning in foul temper! I’ve not slept well the last couple of nights which is totally par for the course at going on 35 weeks pregnant, and I really can’t complain as thus far I have had such an easy ride. But, being both heavily pregnant and human, I have this morning perhaps complained a tad, or rather, seethed with resentment at my husband, for want of a better option. How dare he be able to sleep soundly, how dare he not be able to physically bear a child and thus share the load!! So very not nice, I know. And okay possibly just a little bit unreasonable.
I woke up at 4.45am and couldn’t get back to sleep, on a day when Miss M, miracle of miracles, was still fast asleep at gone six. Why? Why?? My beloved is fortunate that he has not (thus far) suggested to me that this is nature’s way of preparing me for the new baby. He did himself no favours, however, by later getting up and switching on the Skype while I was in the open plan kitchen, thus exposing me to our entire German family at a wedding reception, unwashed and dressed as I was in hot fushia elasticated sleeping shorts and an over-sized mens racerback top stretched over (most of) my bump and flashing my boobs. Having insisted that he cover the camera so that I could get past and change, I then returned to the kitchen and started furiously chopping vegetables for this afternoon’s barbie with friends. Which was actually quite therapeutic, and recognising that it would be nicer to fill the crudités with love rather than resentment, I calmed down (a bit).
Matrimonial bliss is not yet quite restored, but I am now home alone as they are off to the playpark and then the supermarket. Being home alone is nice and helpful when one is not feeling at one’s best. I am going to have a large mug of decaff and two thick slices of raisin toast. With real butter, and a real, grown-up book! After which I will meditate for five minutes…and hopefully, inner peace will be restored. Namaste!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 21/31
Kirri White posted this picture on her Facebook page today, and I love it. In my less joyful moments as a stay at home mum I sometimes find myself getting
a bit very resentful at the lack of recognition I get for everything I do. It’s not like I want constant thanks, but it would just be nice to feel like somebody noticed! (Holy crap someone please tell me I don’t sound like my mother?!). But the usual applies – folks tend only to notice when the stuff doesn’t get done. At least that’s how it feels now and then, particularly at times like now when the raging hormones are rife in this pregnant mama’s tired ol’ bod!
The reality is that I know my husband loves me and does appreciate everything I do, and it’s a bit unfair of me to expect a cheerleading squad style greeting from him as soon as he comes in the door every evening. He more often shows his love and appreciation in his actions, not his words, is all, but sometimes I can’t see that because I’ve gotten all twisty about things during a long day at the toddler coal face.
And at the end of the day the truth of the matter is, a little bit of self-reliance goes a long way in the life of a SAHM and that’s no bad thing. I am responsible for my own happiness and that means learning to celebrate, compliment and encourage myself when I need it, instead of hanging around getting resentful because nobody is telling me I’m the world’s greatest mother and homemaker every night of the week.
I will try and remember this little Truth when my husband gets home this evening 😉
Blogtoberfest 2012, 6/31
I lost sight of things a little bit last night. Well ok, a lot. It was a long 12 hours with Miss M yesterday, and by the time my husband got home I was feeling pretty resentful. It’s been a while since this emotion had a good hold on me. Knowing as I do how destructive it is, I’ve worked hard these past 9 months on cultivating a mindful attitude of gratitude and ridding my life of pointless resentments. After all, that was the whole point of this starting this blog! But, a very wilful and energetic toddler, anaemia and 7 months of pregnancy have left me a little bit, shall we say, frayed at the edges, and it all came to a head at bedtime. Started with a passionate speech about the utter unfairness of men not being able to physically bear children. Yeah, I know. In hindsight I do feel a little bad for my husband in the face of that little vent! Ended in much snot and tears, related to fear that I will be unable to cope with a newborn and a crazy toddler with a husband that works long hours, and expressed in loud anger and resentment toward him for not having instant miracle answers and always saying the wrong thing. He is so not a bad husband, he’s a bloody brilliant husband. Evidenced by the fact that after a rather heated exchange (well, he’s only human…) and despite all that vitriol, the whole thing ended in cuddles at about 3am when I snuck back into bed from my (rather uncomfortable) point of principle in the spare room.
Awoke this morning feeling drained and puffy, and whilst having a cup of tea in bed alone (thank you lovely husband!) I came across a wonderful article via Twitter by Leo Babauta called The Only Way to Respond to Life, extract here:
“We often not only take life for granted, but complain about it…but goodness, look around you! What a wonder life is! If only we would take the time to see it, to really appreciate it, and to applaud. This moment is a ridiculously generous miracle. Give it up, folks, for life.”
And that was the boot up the ass I needed to get me out of bed and into the day. I got things back in perspective. Sometimes I think there’s too much social media in my life, and I need to cut back. Other times, as happens so often, I find a little gem – a quote or a short article – in my Twitter or Facebook feeds, and I remember what a wonderful tool social media can be. It’s all about moderation, of course. Less trawling through the crap and discussing nonsense, more constructive learning and sharing is the way forward.
Meantime, note to self, or rather, promise – every single day I will remember to stop, and be grateful. It really is the only constructive way to respond to life – especially when the going is rough.
Toward the end of last year someone pointed out to me that perhaps I was procrastinating all the time because I didn’t have enough to do, and that’s why I was getting nothing done and living in physical and emotional chaos. I think they were right. In recent weeks I’ve been so much busier than I was, but I’m also a lot happier. I think it’s partly because I am more focussed on scheduling proper family time, instead of just drifting about the house on family days doing bits and pieces of jobs, with everyone getting grumpy and dissatisfied – I have to be more organised now because otherwise I can’t keep up with the party planning and eBaying as well as running the house and caring for the family plus my voluntary stuff. So we are having more fun together as a family, and naturally that makes me happy!
I know it’s also because I’m kind of working again a little. It’s good for me. I’m happier on myself, and my husband is clearly happy that I’m happy, and he has had no issues taking on a few extra household and childcare tasks so that everything still gets done now that my attention is away from the home for a few more hours a week. If I’m honest I think it’s also probably easier to be cooperative and pleasant around a wife who is no longer giving off a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) vibe of discontent and resentment at all times. I’ve been working really hard on being mindful, and grateful for the little things, and while I have had the odd blip (e.g. irrational meltdowns caused by missing keys etc – well I am still me, after all!), I think things are starting to improve around here. Certainly, I am not currently feeling as resentful as I was. And things in general actually seem to be under control – for now, anyway! So, I’m just staying in the now this evening, and enjoying it 🙂
Before Miss M was born I remember reading that “having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage”. Nonsense! Said I. Not my marriage! We have endured long distance separation, migration, 7 whole months of 24/7 togetherness in often arduous physical and emotional conditions while backpacking in Southeast Asia! We have our moments of course, but we’re a rock solid team! Oh, how the mighty have fallen…It’s been quite a rough ride, particularly recently, and I think we’re both still adjusting to the change in pace and priorities that parenthood brings, especially coming from a background of such freedom and being a little later in life and therefore perhaps more set in our ways that we had imagined.
So it was with great hope and high expectations that I finally reached Chapter 7: Living with Partners in Sarah Napthali’s Buddhism for Mothers, yesterday morning. I was inspired! Loved it! We are not alone in our marital struggles as we adjust to the changes the past 2 years have brought us. I saw clearly where I might try and improve things and to my enormous surprise and delight my husband, who is not a reader, scanned all 20 pages and paid attention to the summary. We were on the same page!! We were moving forward!!
Until 10pm last night when he made the mistake of questioning a credit card payment in relation to my party planning business, which sent me into a spiral of rage stemming from a) I was too bloody knackered to look at numbers and how dare he be so inconsiderate as to bring this stuff up so late on; and b) ohmygod have I overcharged one of my very first customers and messed up my very first order ohmygod! And all our shared Buddhist learning from that day went straight out the window. Big time. Especially the part about skilful speech, I am ashamed to say…
We pulled it back together, but not until a lot of mean things had been said. However, as my gran always advised, we did not let the sun go down on our anger (well, it had already gone down, but you get my drift). And this morning I awoke to a cup of tea and a little bit of Me Time in bed before the day began. We don’t do Valentine’s Day, but I think this an appropriate day to start over and resolve to work much harder on my marriage, beginning with being constantly mindful of this powerful little piece of advice: pause before you speak.
I entered Motherhood a big fan of the gentle approach and my little girl slept very well for most of the first year of her life. Then gradually, as she grew, things changed, as I now know they always will, and finally the upheaval of moving house a little after her first birthday did for us all. It’s been a pretty hellish few months around here with regard to sleep as she has lost the ability to self-settle, so bedtime and naptime are very hard, and she often wants to start her day at 4am. I now completely understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. I also know what it can do to a marriage. Sleep deprivation has the power to increase marital strife a thousand fold – it fuels the fires of resentment like nothing else.
I’ve spoken with Tresillian several times, and tried almost all the other recommended solutions, to no avail. Tizzie Hall’s Save our Sleep is a controversial method, but desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say. So, since waking at 4am today, I have listened with a breaking heart to almost 5 hours of crying, and I’ve shed a fair few tears of my own. And we haven’t hit bedtime yet! I’ve also dealt with some unkind comments about my methods (why in the hell can’t every mother just live and let live??). However, I have also been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received from my IRL friends and my online mummy partners in SAHM life. And when I was about to reach absolute breaking point this afternoon, there was a knock at the door. D is a relatively new friend of mine, but she is one of those people that occasionally in life we are lucky enough to find, one with whom we just click, despite differences in years, background and circumstance. She knew today was a monumental struggle for me, especially because to go down this new path of strict routines is against my cherished earlier beliefs, and she wanted to make sure I was ok. As we talked, I managed to rebalance myself and by the time she left I was ready to keep going as planned, with strengthened resolve.
Today has been my hardest day of Motherhood since bringing Miss M home from the hospital. But my most overwhelming feeling right now (apart from exhaustion!) is not resentment or despair, it’s gratitude. I’m so lucky to have women in my life that can and do make the hard times better, as well as sharing the joys. Today especially, I am mindful of that.
I am not a mindful mum, I’m a bloody grumpy mum. I love my one year old daughter and I love my husband and I know I have a lovely life, when I take the time to sit and think about it. But I have a blinding temper in the drama of the moment during “discussions” with my other half, with pretty unpleasant consequences. I often feel over-worked and under-appreciated, and I’m not good at hiding that fact from him. I wasn’t always a stay at home mum, I was once a corporate slave, and while I’m delighted to have left all that behind, I’m still a lover of the Performance Culture – I want feedback! I want praise! I want recognition for my work! Over a year after giving birth to the fabulous Miss M, I still haven’t made peace with my new role. I want to be a SAHM, so why in the hell can’t I just do it for the sheer love of it? Why do I need the acknowledgement?? Why can’t I stop feeling taken for granted, even when I know I have a fantastic husband who does think I’m fabulous, he just doesn’t feel the need to shower me with compliments day and night? I’m beginning to have an inkling that I need to start looking inside myself rather than seeking fulfillment from outside praise and pandering. It occurs to me that I need to trust a little more, worry a whole lot less and start having a heap more respect for my marriage. I’ve been playing martyr on the Alter of Motherhood and it doesn’t suit me, that much is for sure. I made this choice, I want this life, but something doesn’t quite fit, and I don’t think that the niggling yet constant sense of dissatisfaction really does stem from the fact that I hate bloody housework and my husband sometimes doesn’t put his breakfast dishes in the machine…
So, I intend to start over. I will stop feeling resentful and start feeling grateful. I will count my farking blessings and remember every day that I only have one shot at this life, and it is time to make it count. Tough years taught me hard lessons that I appear to have forgotten. Wide travels taught me perspective and I’ve lost that too. I am not my best self, and my family deserves my best self. My goal is to find out what is missing, one post per day. I will become a Mindful Mum!