Recently, I have been feeling the pressure of life following me. Not too closely – yet. It’s somewhere behind me in the distance, under shadows and bending behind corners. It’s ever so close. It’s creeping. It’s lurking. It’s catching up. We all know being a parent is hard. Regardless of your situation, the perfect days are few and fair between. There is always something to throw you off course. I guess I’m just having one of those weeks.
I’m finding it difficult to keep up, keep everyone happy, keep myself happy. The days are long, the pauses are short. I’m running on fumes and the fridge always feels empty. There’s no reprieve from the constant speed of family life and I imagine it will get busier when A goes to school, makes friends and begs to go to dance class. For now, she keeps us on our toes as it is. We dance nimbly around her as we keep our house, our lives and our relationship in some sort of a continuous motion. But I can hear a cracking in our everyday theme song, as though we’re being played on a 1940’s record player. Scratching at the surface of our days.
Somewhere along the way, the tap runs dry and everything feels as though it might simply flake and crumble around our feet. That’s where I am right now. Lately, I have questioned myself, a million times, in almost every aspect of my life. My job. Am I good at it? Do I give it my full undivided attention? My relationship. Am I neglecting the most important thing in my life? Do I make B feel loved and wanted? My parenting. Am I a good mother? Is our daughter happy? Am I doing enough for B and A? Am I doing enough for me? I am exhausted. I am anxious. I am feeling the pressure.
Darting in between all of these questions, I realise that I’m falling because I’ve forgotten one vital ingredient. Me. I go from day to day rushing with my ‘to do’ list. Any anxiety or worry I have, simmers under the paper that my list is scrawled on and I find that it usually seeps to the surface, soaking through my list, blurring what I should be doing. The worries amplify.
We have our bad days, even simple bad moments. I am far from being a perfect mother and wife. The hard days take over and make the easiest of tasks frustratingly difficult to finish. I wrack myself with guilt. I’ve struggled to keep the house in order, my patience with A has somewhat suffered on occasion and I’ve worried pitifully about whether I am inadvertently pushing B away because I’m worn, I’m suffering and plain tired.
There are days when I know I am not the best I can be. Days when I want to dig a hole in the back garden and hide in it. I have to let myself fall down every so often. I am not Wonder Woman. Yes, Momma and Papa Bears are strong, powerful and can take on the world to protect their family but we need a time out too. I need a time out. I need to find my feet before the pressure takes over, before it mounts itself on my shoulders like a python tightening it’s grip. I need a breather.
Where, amongst the daily life of family, work and commutes, can I find that pause to recoup?