Something happened one day recently and I just stopped writing. It’s rare for me to admit this but after a fair bit of criticism from a few people, I just thought, nope, can’t be bothered putting life and the universe ‘out there’ to be criticized when they didn’t actually know me, my life or how and why I live the way I do or what motivated me to write. So I stopped writing or sharing. I got on with the job of being wife and Mum and CEO and worker.
Now that I’ve had time to get off my high horse, and back to the real world, I’ve had a chance to reflect on why I did a big delete on some parts of my life.
I shall explain. You see, in almost the same week as I found out that I was pregnant with baby no 5 (yes, 5, more about that later), my youngest child was re-admitted back to hospital with more respiratory issues which put him on the hospital ‘critical’ list. This was also in the same week a family member died and my Mum flew home to New Zealand to be with her family and given she was my children’s primary carer, I stayed at home with the kids and to be on hospital duty with our little guy. This was all at a fairly critical week for one of my businesses in addition to hubby needing to work uber late hours due to work pressure at his end. Oh and this was also the week I gave up smoking. Both of us were stressed to the max and there were loads of “arghhhhh” moments where anyone else would have divorced me but not my hubby, I just got those supportive hugs that came JUST at the right time or as I was going to kick the dog for walking all over my nice clean floors with wet paws.
My life always seems to be falling apart at the exact time where other mother’s look at me and say “I don’t know how you do it, you’re AMAZING”. The standard supermum response is “Oh, you know, you only take on what you can cope with”. However not me, my response to anyone who asked was “I don’t, I can’t, I’m shit at it all and no I’m not coping.” People think I’m joking when I say that because I tend to put a comical & confident tone into my response but it’s true, only my best friends will be able to verify that when I say it, I mean it and walking into my house is pure proof. The place is a bomb site when I don’t have my Working Mum Mojo together. I wasn’t coping and I was crying a lot (I’m not good with pregnancy hormones).
Looking back on those last few months, I think the guilt overwhelmed me. Guilt that I had been a smoker for almost 20 years and now I had a nearly 2 year old who was in hospital and couldn’t breathe properly, guilt that my only daughter whom I’d left at 7 months old to go back to work was now 4 years old was going to school in 6 months time and I’d not ever spent a full day with her doing girly things, guilt that I had no idea where our electricity bills and phone bills were let alone if they’d been paid for months and guilt about my pregnancy based on a few things a few people had said about my ability to parent the existing 4 kids.
I wasn’t coping. I don’t know why. You would think that a woman who was expecting her 5th child in 8 years would have a handle on what causes pregnancy. We have always wanted 5 children and this baby is enormously wanted and loved but like the 4 before it, they’ve all been beautiful and delightful surprises so this one also caught me off guard (I’m not organized enough to ‘plan’ having my babies, we’ve been lucky enough for babies to just happen).
Erk, how was I going to tell my business partners when all the businesses I work in rely on me being there to work in the businesses, it wasn’t like I could take time off and come back in a year, I couldn’t. What if No 4 was one of those kids who was in and out of hospital for the rest of his life, how fair would that be on no 5? How were we going to afford childcare for 5 kids if I was a full time working Mum, How on earth could I get fat again after losing all my fatness from baby no 4 only weeks before falling pregnant with no 5. How much FOOD were they going to eat over the next 18 years!?!?! It was all too much!
IN between all of this I was getting reports from various people who know me but don’t know me well, having an opinion on my life etc saying “What, she’s pregnant with No 5? Is she MAD?” or “I’m worried about how she’s going to look after this one when she never even sees the kids now?” or “Her mother does everything for her, she couldn’t do a thing without her Mum around to do it all for her” – Stupidly I took it all on board and set about to change everything in my life possibly with a big “F-You” to those who thought I wasn’t capable of doing it all.
Suffice to say that whilst I’m still not coping very well, I am getting a lot of my work done in strange and weird hours at night which is allowing me to spend a bucketload more time with my kids and enjoying every moment of time I have with them. I’ve managed to do a few reading groups with the boys, a ballet class with my daughter, my youngest hasn’t needed his asthma puffer for 4 weeks and he’s now talking the leg off a chair, I’ve learnt how to cook and I’m close to half way through pregnancy no 5 and enjoying it twice as much because my younger sister is also having a baby three weeks after me and because we’re so close, it makes this pregnancy even more special. My Mum is now just my Mum and Grandma to my babies and she knows that I can’t cope very well without her and that’s ok with both of us because I appreciate her 1000% more now than I ever did before. The washing is still not up to date and it never will be. The dog still gives me the shits, I still have to travel an hour to and from the office and $20 a day in tolls, and my house is still a bomb site but the difference now is, I’m happy. Those people who judged, threw stones and perhaps gave me a reason to look at myself did me a massive favour because a little bit of what they said was true. I regained balance and perspective. My career remains important but it’s had to slow down a bit to make way for baby no 5. My kids and my hubby make me the happiest person in the world and I have incredible support and a team who allow me to do a little bit of everything.
SO we return to normal programming where the Mum Network shares the ups the downs, the funny and opinions on life and the universe and how we see it. We have a few writers coming back with some fascinating stories and more interviews with people we admire as well as true life stories.