Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My TV Moments 1

This year brought two big TV moments for me. I don't know if it means that my life is desperately sad. But last week's episode of The Good Wife definitely brought a sort of insight to me, and it stirred my emotions, there were tears.... Is it silly or just a part of growing older?

Alicia Florick had her moment in the last episode, with everything falling in pieces in her work and personal life, the ever cool and perfectly looking woman finaly lost it. She screamed, she cried, she opened to her partner Luca, who, in exchange, expressed her own soft side and explained that she trully cares about Alicia, gave her the long needed hug and explained how lonely she is in her life with no friends.

It made me think. I am on a crossroad myself. Child is growing up and I am thinking about the next steps - school and work. What is next for me? I decided to stop waiting for the next pregnancy. I don't want to dwell on it any longer. To have more children was the big plan, I saw myself as the busy mummy you see around and don't understand where her strength is coming from. But with one child in tow, you seem to have it easy. And I should not write about this any longer, this post isn't about my three little tragedies that defined a year of mixed hope.

But all of it plays on my mind. Life isn't what I expected it to be, not only with the way motherhood is working out, with everything. Sometimes, when husband and I argue over nothing, I do wonder whether it was better that our subsequent pregnancies didn't work out, because bringing up one child is putting its own strain on us. I am much more dependent on him, which isn't what I expected to happen to me, ever. But to have a child and to provide for myself while bringing the child up is quite impossible to do. If I had the means to support myself, would I still be here? It the big love different now, past all that we were through together, or is it gone?

So here I am. One fantastic child, no hope of others. Supportive husband who doesn't seem to understand me. No career to go back to. No friends. Lots of dreams but no way to follow them - who would take care of the child while I wonder around like I used to?

So Alicia's and Luca's little TV moment spoke to me. Of course it is only a drama, but there was a moment that made it real for me and when I was crying, maybe I was crying for myself more than for the characters. The truth is, like Alicia, I feel stuck. And I don't know how to 'unstuck' myself. It will probably work out at the end. One thing is, I am surprisingly happy to be a home maker, again, something I never imagined I could be or enjoy to be, and maybe I don't really want it to end. I don't see it as laziness, I just lack ambition. I want to write and learn to meditate and be healthy and do sports. And be with my child and be there for husband and take care of the house and the garden while doing the little things I like. I don't need titles, money or impressive CV. I like to be alone. I was considering further study, but I don't think I want to start and build a career. I will probably carry on with odd jobs which I can leave to do my own thing before I have to work again. My lifestyle was a nomadic independent lifestyle and it doens't correspond with a family dynamic.

Husband had the 'proper' goals, he wanted to progress in his career, have a family and he doesn't understand that I don't really need to hang with other wives, am not keen on all the get-togethers and do not have much to talk about with people. I often wonder why was husband so crazy about me when he was getting to know me, saw the oddball I was and yet thought that I was ideal wife material. I went on with it, because if somebody loves me so much than it is worth it, but I will not become someone else. So I have my private cry with The Good Wife and carry on with my quiet existence.

It is a strange mix - being not obviously unhappy but not being happy enough, wanting to be happy with what I have but needing to reach certain steps in order to feel happy, as if I did not deserve it right now... What a nonsense sentence. In every day moments, life is good. That is what matters. But it is also OK not to be floating with happiness all the time, isn't it? I probably just need to put myself together. Just like Alicia.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Lets Get On

It has been a while. I dedicated my November to writing a novel and I succeeded. It meant no disturbing myself with thinking about blogging, doing blogging, reading other blogs. I built up a great habit of writing every day. I had to rush because on November 29th we left to visit my family plus sort out some things that couldn't wait. And with the anticipating departure came more work around my neglected house. So I have made the words count needed to win and shaped a story. And I left it with a great feeling.

Than came the great family trip. And upon return, by December 8th, with all of us being tired and suffering sniffles, the Christmas countdown downed on me. There was so much work to be done and before that work there was the planning of the work to be done. There was no more lovely writing routine in my life. It would feel like a big travesty to sit down at the computer first thing in the morning and write for a while. No problem, I thought. As soon as Christmas is over the quiet time comes, husband will be home, I will be able to do something. Ha! I forgot that the lovely time between Christmas and New Year is the time when we absolutely have to see everybody. Idealy, husband would have all people around for Christmas. I believe it is time for family, time when people have their own rituals and stress and do not feel a need to cook for twenty. So I have to spend few days going around meeting people, hosting, hooking up in forsaken National Trust parks. No energy for writing. No time, too.

So here comes January. Christmas tree is put away, the poor thing was so dry it wouldn't last any longer, house looks normal again and finaly, husband is off to work. His big plans about potty training his child didn't materialize. So here I am, ready to revise a novel and potty train a child who isn't bothered by any signs it should be giving me. Will I do it? And what will be achieved first? I hope I will manage to build a new habit and keep it up. It is time to clear up my writing drawer. And about dear child? It needs to learn some good habits, too. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Just a quick one

I need a nice deep long breath..... I need a rest. September has been the most hectic month in my and my family's lives and October is all about picking up the pieces. But here we are. Home. Finaly.

Moving is exhausting. Husband did the heavy lifting but I was there for the boxes packing and unpacking, cleaning of the old house, sorting out the paperwork, deciding what will go where, organizing, and now decorating. I rediscovered the pleasure found in doing things by hands, be it a simple curtain or pillow case.

As if it wasn't enough, I decided to take part in Nanowrimo this year. Mainly because there is an idea in my head and I need to take care of. it. I need to put it on paper. I know, there is the novel from 2012 stil unrevised and an outline in a notebook. I should focus on finishing. But I can not help it. I did my first Nano when I was pregnant. I thoutght I would be able to revise, prepare and present a novel while on maternity leave. Ha ha. Nothing prepared me for the total change in my life, I didn't realize how impossible it will be to do something properly. But I do know that I can steal moments in the day and write. And I need discipline. So I will do Nano and then I will see.

Wish me luck. I will not be blogging much during November. But I will be writing a lot!!!

Child is fine. I am bit guilty. Moving meant slight increase in You Tube time. What shall I say. At the moment, I am not strict about screen time. Cormoran Strike novel arrived. It is fantastic. But we do explore our new neighborhood a lot, there is some structure in my child's life. Today is raining a lot, though... One more chapter then.... Go on......

Thursday, 3 September 2015

I am busy waiting...

Lately, I don't have much time. We started hunting for a new house, a first house of our own, at the end of April. I spent most of May on the phone, my mobile suddenly required top ups every week instead of once every two months or so and five weekends were spent on viewings.

Our dear child got used to the new rhythm, even without playgroups during the week because I usually forgot about them as I was too busy waiting for a confirmation of a viewing so I can call for the next one. I managed our weekend diaries with great precision. On Saturday morning I would prepare a list of viewings, water, changing bag and snacks for our child.

The interesting thing is that a toddler on a house hunt is quite interesting to watch. I noticed that she was happy and relaxed in houses we liked. She wouldn't mind to stay in the two that became our favourites. And in some houses none of us liked, she was a great excuse to cut it short.

After a decision was made, I became busy with chasing papers and numbers and researching does and don'ts of mortgages. I became the shield for marketing attacks. Who knew that every single estate agent can recommend the best mortgage broker in the whole world? I am still receiving five property updates a day, no matter how many times I unsubscribe.

Now, many weeks later, I am sitting in our old house, boxes scattered around, waiting yet again. There is lots of waiting involved in all of the process - from waiting for the viewing confirmation to waiting for a mortgage approval to waiting for this and that paper going through and the solicitor to return from yet another holiday. Unfortunately, our waiting is bit overrated now. There is some old planning permission hitch on our dream house which needs to be resolved. We don't know how long it will take. We already gave notice on our house and new tenant is waiting. We may end up in a caravan. If we are lucky and find one. I want to carry on with doing things. But can I pack? How much do I need to leave out? Can I do a big food shop? Order books from Amazon? Do I need to research caravan sites near by and self storage?

We are frustrated. The waiting without a deadline makes me stop everything else - writing and exercising and researching when a baby group near by starts again... I can not plan a workshop or book myself for a swim because I don't know if I will be too busy next weekend. But I hope I will. I hope that it will work out. I hope that we will move into a new home and that it will be great. I am glad that I have the time to do all of this. Husband was very busy during May and June and if I was working, too, it would be simply unmanageable. And it is nice to see that our child is simply a part of it all, that even when our days don't evolve completely around her she just fits in nicely and makes it all worth at the end - we are doing it for her, too. So sometimes being a housewife is actually being an unpaid top manager/pa/accountant/secretary/the rest. And I must say I enjoy the housewife life more that I thought I would.

Besides that, I have finally a new idea for a book, no more recycling and redoing the old ones (although they do need to be re read and processed....). I may be quiet for a while. For creative reasons.... But moving first, please!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Sore hip, frozen nose and best tasting coffee

The title of my post summarises my feelings about camping. I like camping in general, but this year I dreaded it. I hoped we will not have to go. I hoped husband will decide it is not Summer enough to bother, I hoped my health problems which followed me all Summer will not stop co conveniently (yes, really, I got so used to feeling uncomfortable that I preferred it to feeling uncomfortable camping without the problems - there is no win). I hoped husband will decide to spoil me and do a 'homecation' with some decent trips and lots of time with our child so I can finally recover.

None of it happened. And we left for Wales. For a quality family time I was told. To be joined by two more families. The husbands of these 3 families went to university together and stayed the best buddies. It is great. For them.

Quality family time: husband would wash dishes few times (because I complained about being tired so much before we left he saw it as a treat for me - while he did the washing I was chasing our enthusiastic 2 years old eager to explore and after 2 days started to do the dishes as it was much more relaxing). Husband took our child for 2 walks and played with our child while we were all at the beach (I read a magazine in one sitting. The next day on the beach as a group he ignored the two of us completely as it was my turn - suddenly we have turns!). When we visited local leisure centre for swimming on rainy days husband allowed me to swim few lengths every now and then between passing our child between each other or minding her on my own. He also allowed me to go and shower by myself (bathrooms in the camp site were BAD).
Quality family time in my husband's eyes: we went to Wales and I liked it. Everybody is happy.

I didn't count husband's cooking into the quality time because he loves cooking outdoors and sees his camp kitchen as an extension of a manhood.

Why I don't think it was really a quality time: husband didn't ask me what I would like to do or where I would like to go or who I would like to go with. Everything evolved around the guys being together, drinking together, making fire in the evening and drinking together. And the kids of course, the kids must have good time with their dads who miss them a lot while they are at work (and we are so blessed to have them around 24/7). He wouldn't even think about asking our friends to look over our tent after our child finally went to sleep so he could be with me or go for a walk with me. He would run off to be with his boys the moment the child closed its eyes. He would assume that I am having the best time of my life, too. And why don't we wives become best buddies, too, and chat nicely among ourselves? Wouldn't that be convenient?

On our last day a new couple arrived nearby and I watched the wife putting her younger child into a sling on her back and preparing breakfast while chatting to her older child while her husband unrolled his yoga mat and started his Sun Salutations with a very serious expression. I realised that I packed my yoga mat, too. It was in the back of the tent and I never found the time or energy to unroll it. When I started stretching once on  a blanket my child started to climb all over me. Husband saw it, said we are playing nicely together and went to have a beer and a chat with his mate.

We did have family time because all families did their own thing at some time of the day. So that probably counts as the holiday for me.

I watched the other families and thought that nobody is perfect partner or parent. It all works out in the end. If the wives continue to put the men and children first of course.

But relating to camping, I used to hike and sleep in the tent or under the sky a lot and I slept like a log. But year after year it is more and more difficult to get comfortable. I bought nice wide sleeping bags instead of mummy, started to pack our pillows which would be unthinkable in my backpacking years, invested into a better matres which doesn't loose at least half of the air you pumped in before you even lie on it. And yet I wake up every time I turn, I get frozen arm, sore hip and my nose and face get way too cold. But the morning coffee tastes absolutely best every day, there must be some truth about the outdoor cooking magic my husband keeps bashing out about (as long it is me who prepares the morning coffee as he needs to sleep off his last good night yet again).

So all in all lets carry on and look forward the day I am making money again and can afford some time for myself only. He can mind the child and have a really quality time together.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Quiet on the Home Front

How do I make everybody happy? Ever since our child arrived, everything evolves around the child. It is obvious. But lately, it is harder and harder to ensure that the balance between child activities and house work and mine own activities is achieved.
I still remember my child being few days old, 1.30 am, baby wide awake, expecting to be breastfed yet again, right after it felt of the boob. Me, crying, refusing to hold the baby. Husband, baby in his arms, all protective and manly. Me, sobbing through tears of desperation: 'I have a right to sleep!!!' It downed on me that my rights are secondary at best. I knew it would be hard, I knew we wouldn't sleep but I didn't know it would be THAT hard and there would be absolutely NO sleep between 5am and 2am. It got better.

But always when it gets really good and we start to think we have got the hang of parenting, something happens. And we are trying to work out how to get on with it once again. For example, why, after growing all teeth, being healthy and capable of sleeping through the night, does a 2 year old suddenly decide to wake up at random hours, wonder into parents room and demand hugs, snuggles, skin contact, chat, water, whatever. Why are toddlers going through this funny stage on non sleeping for no reason? Even special toddlers like mine who do not do naps?

According to clever newsletters, in my day, I am supposed to provide love and care, educational stimulation, 3 hours of physical activity, wholesome diet and safe environment for my toddler. How is it supposed to happen with no sleep?

On top of it, my clever husband, while getting ready for his day at work, for which I am supposed to feel sorry for him because his sleep was disturbed and yet he has to go out and earn the living for his family while I am lucky to stay home, instructs me to take child out as the weather will finally be nicer, notices he is running out of clean shirts, leaves behind messy shower, empty toilet rolls, unsecured working desk in his study (so our child can climb on top of it, dismantle everything, chew on electric cables and drink ink from his refill bottle for the pen he never uses/refills but which must stand on his worktop) and his drinking cup on the windowsill with a nice brown ring around the bottom. There is certain smugness in men's attitude towards us, we are homemakers, we have all the time in the world and house work is completely invisible.

I do the chores, entertain, feed and keep alive the child, but I never feel like I have done enough. I tend to ignore my child for a while each day, trying to have a cup of tea and stare at the TV screen without noticing much of what is going on or wishing to read some mails. I wish I could do something more useful while my child plays on its own for a while, but there is no energy. I do the house work but it seems to be never ending. Child produces new mess constantly, things don't stay polished or on their place, laundry basket can not be empty for longer than 10 minutes. What stays done goes unnoticed anyway.

In the time off, we have to do what husband wants to do because it is his time off. I have all time off so I don't get asked about what I want that much. Plus there is the irrational feeling of me not earning any money so not having the right to call it a shot or disappear to do my own thing like I used to before our child arrived.

To keep the household running and make everybody happy I have to put myself last. I have to learn to be happy with very little, with stolen moments. I don't have the luxury of time set as exclusively me time. I don't even have my exclusive space to do my own thing. There is no space that a 2 year old can not invade. I am happy, I have got a good partner and a fantastic child. But part of me is missing. And I need to find the time and energy to bring it back. Because I function much better when I have it, I keep my temper, I can do more, I am simply happier. I need to be ruthless for an hour a day, safeguard it for me and force myself to do whatever I dream of doing until it becomes a lovely habit.

When I was pregnant, I expected hectic few weeks, then a slow glide towards routine and easy flow. I felt my staying at home to be a great luxury. I thought that I will write, be creative, and during the first year of my child life, I will turn myself into a super fit person I could be - no work to go to, home food, what could stop me, I thought? The balancing act of peace and quiet on the home front did. Time to reload the guns...

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Little Swimstar

I love going to swim with my child. To enrol with Waterbabies was one of our very good ideas. We started last year in February, our daughter was 10 months old. She was one of the oldest in the beginners class but I think it was a perfect timing. I wouldn't be able to commit sooner with her non stop breastfeeding and the stress of being somewhere at a certain time. Smaller babies were enjoying themselves, too, but I had the feeling that her advanced age brought a better awareness of what was going on.
We planned on taking one course of 10 classes and see what will happen next, but we just carry on and probably will do for as long as it goes. She loves it, we love it and it will give her a skill for life.

What is fun about swimming with babies is watching their surprise after every dive, their excitement when they get back to the water after a week, the pleasure they get from chasing the toys or doing funny stuff in the water. When you let go of them sometimes, there is a surprise in their face, as it is when they are separated from you for a moment and passed to the teacher. They gain confidence and strength, too.

When we started our first course, we met new people and as usually great friendships weren't build. There is always a hope, when joining a baby group of any sort, that we will meet 'the one' - the little family with a child of similar age to ours, who we will get along. The truth is, swimming day is a busy day. There is lots of logistics involved regarding eating, sleeping, pooping, packing and transport. All day evolves around half an hour in the pool. And some parents have to run off to pick their older children, too. So the group never really stays together, it is every parent for himself.

I enjoy observe people and I can distinguish a special group which I call make up moms. There is at least one in every group (I usually meet one group in the changing room, one is in the pool ending when we get there and the next group is around the pool by the end of our class, plus sometimes there is new group getting ready in the dressing room, too). And most of these groups will have some 'flamingo'. They have their hair perfectly done, all nails long and painted (how do you change nappies with these?), and full face of make up plus I assume spray tan. The make up is something worth mentioning. There are eyebrows, eye shadows, eye liners, false lashes, blushers, lips, all the jazz. For a trip to the pool. Some mums try to avoid swim and hand the babies, in their cute little swim customs, to their equally coiffed dads (either hipsters or body builders). I still remember the look on the faces of two mums when, in our third class of the first course, we were told to bring our swim goggles as we will need them to dive with our kids. Some refused to go under water, some sent the dads, few braved a half hearted face dive. I realized that great deal of waterproof make up was involved, but they wouldn't risk the hair extensions.

There are few questions I never asked:
First and foremost: when do they get the time to do all of it?
Why do they bother?
Isn't it better to have fun in the water than show anxieties about your look so early on to your child?

Most of them are very pretty, I am sure they would look great without all the slab. Why is the look so important all the time? They are probably the women who worried about how they will look after labour, so they made sure their spray tan, hair, nails and make up are on during and after delivery. They stressed themselves about the post baby weight  more than about their sleep. Their look defines who they are, I see it on people around me a lot and find it quite sad. It doesn't matter who you are and what you can do, you must look the part!
I like to make myself pretty. But I can not be bothered to do my make up every day. Not for running around the garden, going to the shop or park, or a local pool. I am confident in myself with or without my make up because whatever is or isn't on my face isn't really me. And when I had a difficult night it shows and I can tell you all about it if you want to hear. But I do wear my smile in case you don't .
I don't want my daughter's first memory to be of me sitting by the mirror or worrying about my shape. I would never let her sit in a pram in the nail salon and let her inhale all the fumes. I don't want her to think that she only matters if she looks good and if she is perfectly made up. And I don't want the world to expect it from her.

So lets hope that we will fit some good swims in our Summer while Waterbabies has a break!