Things have been very difficult round here for some time now. I have been very worried about all manner of things recently and have found myself back on the hamster wheel of life, furiously running forwards whilst things fly off around me. I haven’t been sure what to do about most of it. Stepping off would be a good idea for a minute. Sitting on a desert island on my own digesting each and every problem and dealing with each and every issue in a calm and structured way as things rise to the surface.
But as a single mother of three, defection is rarely a consideration. You simply have to stay where you are and get on with it. To weather the storm and find a way through it. I have been about to blow up – the swanlike features I have attempted in the past where I have attempted to glide across the surface whilst furiously paddling just below the surface has given way to a more obvious nostrils flaring just hovering above the water line. I have been splashing about and possibly even flaying my arms.
This is perhaps every parents lot and the whole “Having It All” debate hasn’t helped because, as I said at the Britmums conference, I clearly don’t have it all. I have a messy, chaotic, dysfunctional mess of a life that is far removed from the one I previously had. That said, perhaps the trick, for me, at the moment is to put a different spin on the whole thing. To reassess and re-evaluate. Perhaps I just need to embrace the chaos more, dance on the table and say this is it. Our life, our way. Not clean and safe and clear cut but happy and acceptable nevertheless.
My youngest child has caused me the most concern of late because he unexpectedly has had to change schools. It has been an immensely fraught time but what I have learnt from it – from him actually is that what he wants from a school is less structure – a messier, less rule driven, more fluid environment that suits him as an individual. I hope that we have found that for him. He is happy with his choice.
So many of my friends are going through their own version of hell at the moment that it makes me wonder about how any of us can actually forge our way through life with carefully laid out plans. Because things can go wrong. Just like that. In a flash. With illness your past can become warped because you regret that you didn’t enjoy it more and with betrayal you struggle to find a way to accept that a huge part of your life turns out to be completely different from what you thought it was. It becomes impossible to look back at anything that happened without wondering what was really going on. So maybe just trying to grasp the here and now, the present is the only real way to live – because we sure as hell don’t know what’s around the corner. Learning to accept that life throws grenades here and there and that even if you don’t catch them, you can adapt to the new environment and find a new way through (even if under, over or around).
So my new take on life (today) is to go with the flow and accept that we are not all going to have it all at the same time. To embrace the unexpected, enjoy the juggling and the exhilaration that can bring. I am going to try harder to become a believer in parenting in non ideal conditions and to stop beating myself up that I’m not doing a good job. It is very hard to protect our children from pain even if we do everything the conventional way. All we can do is our best and let them know that they are deeply loved no matter what. Helping them to find their own sense of self isn’t easy when you can’t give them calm and security all the time but who knows what is right or wrong.
Is there ever a right or wrong way to do things?