I’m sitting here…at my desk at midnight…scoffing my daughters Jelly Bear Vitamins because they taste great and she can’t complain that I’m eating her sweets. Normally in times of difficulty I turn to jelly beans, but bear shaped vitamins will do in a pinch.
I’ve been feeling a bit maudlin lately. Great word ‘maudlin’. It’s that feeling I get when I look at my bank account, and realise that I miss getting a regular income.
Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely love being a mother. I didn’t expect to be a mum, but at 43 I had a beautiful little girl and my world changed. Slowly the career faded and school fetes, assemblies and ice skating lessons took over. I went from running a team of salespeople, handling contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, working with big companies, presenting results to…well…worrying about book bands and trying to decode National Curriculum levels. It would make anyone’s head spin. In the blink of an eye I went from lots of people wanting to hear what I had to say to one little person determined to ignore every word I uttered.
What really irritates me is I never thought it would be so hard to mix motherhood and work. I had it all planned. Work part time, be a part time mum and it will all be fine. But life doesn’t really work that way does it? The company changed, I changed and my daughter had health issues. For a while they looked like they could be serious as she was in pain, vomiting most days and struggled to gain weight. The moment our GP said ‘we need to rule out stomach cancer’ is etched in my mind. My insides went cold and I went into autopilot. The hospital took her bloods without the anaesthetic spray so it was horrendous. Luckily she was ‘fine’; it was a combination of reflux due to a birth defect (muscle in her throat not working) and allergies, but it took a procedure under general anaesthetic to diagnose it and days hooked up to a computer measuring acid in her throat and stomach via nose and throat tubes. Once we had a diagnosis it took a year (and a lots of meds) to settle down. So we were exhausted and somehow work seemed like the last thing I had energy for. We still juggle hospital appointments and spend a lot of time sorting out what food to eat but thankfully the dark days of endless sleepless, painful nights have faded.
But I’ve faded too. Maybe just that much older, or maybe it will just take a while to recover from all the sleepless nights and worry. Maybe I’m still ‘on standby’, watching to make sure things are really okay. Maybe this is just what most mum’s feel sometimes…when our babies aren’t babies anymore, no longer that all-consuming bundle of neediness. We have to find a new path; just as our children do. Molly has announced that she doesn’t want to grow up. Nope. No need to think about secondary schools because it can all stop right now. In fact she wouldn’t mind going back a few years’. Nor would I truth be told. But we’re both going to have to ‘hitch up our skirts’ and do a bit of personal trail blazing. Each walking a new, different path. Hopefully paths that will weave together, criss-crossing and intersecting happily for the rest of our lives. My path? Well…time to take a deep breath and start again. And remind myself of what I say to Molly - ‘not achieving your aims isn’t failing…not trying your best is’.
Oh the irony…
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