Keeping perspective in the midst of raising small children is a nearly impossible task. Any mother who can maintain mental balance whilst cleaning up smeared shit, sorting out tantrums, opened cupboard catastrophes and other misadventures deserves a medal. I have never been one of those women.
Parenting for me has been the most life altering, fantastic and horrific adventure. Full of the highest highs and the lowest lows. My children have shown me what life is truly all about. They have taught me what love means. They have made me understand my own mother better and forced open parts of my own personality that were previously ignored by self-interest and self-absorption. Because of them I am kinder, more patient, more empathetic and less uptight. They have been an enormous blessing. But still, most days, at some point, I generally want to kill one or the other of them as they manage to find mischief that leaves me slack-jawed.
I suspect that I’m similar to most people and found my world closed down a lot during my first few years of motherhood. Most of my girlfriends didn’t have kids yet, so we spoke less. Everyone is busy. And then the years go by.
A couple of years ago, it occurred to me that I’d lost all balance in my life. My whole world revolved around my husband and kids, with a trickle of time left over for myself. And I never spoke to my girlfriends anymore, who by this time were also knee deep in shit and nappies and love.
For the past couple of years, with my kids getting a bit bigger and life calming a little, I’ve made a definite effort to get back in touch with the women who I’ve known all my life, who have been through it all with me, who saw quite a few boyfriends, jobs and adventures come and go, who were at my wedding, came to visit my newborn then drifted off into their own adult lives.
With 50% of marriages ending in divorce, it is quite likely that it will be these women who are there at the end of my life. We will have watched (some of our) husbands come and go, our children mature and leave home. They’ll be there for the health scares, deaths and upheavals. Well hopefully they will be, but I guess it will only happen if we can consolidate our friendships throughout this middle, busy stage of life.
Which is why I’m so pleased that we’re all dumping our families and kids and heading away together next week. 5 nights! It’s taken 18 months of planning and all sorts of personal logistics to make it happen. We’ve vowed to leave the mummy guilt behind and go and do something for ourselves for five whole days. We’re all turning 40 you see, and it feels really important to celebrate it together, to celebrate who we are, without all the other bits of life that keep us so busy.
It’s a good feeling to have these women in my life. I treasure them.
Even if you’re reading this, with a toddler on your feet crying, or a baby who needs a feed or another load of washing that needs doing, I urge you to take the time and get in touch with that wonderful woman who has been in your life for years, who you haven’t seen much of lately. I reckon it’s an investment worth making.
While I’m flitting around, e-book orders will continue to be delivered, but all orders for hard copy books placed from Tuesday will be filled from Monday Oct 29. Thanks for your understanding.