My littlest Ladey turns 1 in just over a month, and it occurs to me that I have very little time left with my babies! As if she could read my mind, Holly woke up at 11pm tonight with tooth pain, and so as my husband got an early night ready for a very long day tomorrow, I brought her down, and she and I are now cuddled up on the sofa watching The Crown while she has an extra feed. She’ll fall asleep soon in my arms, and after taking in the smell of her and the cosiness of being cuddled up to her, I’ll head to bed, dropping her off on the way in her cot.
I know I’ll be tired tomorrow. We’ve had a mad 24 hours after a last minute trip to St Ives to go and see family. A bit of a restorative and much needed retreat for us all. We stayed in a beautiful little cottage, and stood by the sea as the waves crashed over the bay. The sea being choppy and the air being so fresh and windy reminded me so much of being a little girl on the beach with my Grandad who taught me how to ‘read’ the sea. I’d forgotten just how therapeutic the ocean can be. For a tiny pocket of time, work stress was a million miles away, I wasn’t writing notes in my phone to monitor any signs of epilepsy, and I wasn’t responding to any emails. I was just surrounded by family, my hair all over the place because of the wind, and the salt spray of the amazing waves drenching us from our daring vantage point. I introduced my two girls to the delightful terror that a choppy sea provides! I’m not ashamed to admit that after the first few moments by the waves I burst into tears. Emotional, happy tears. I felt my shoulders unclench for the first time in, maybe years, and I truly just loved the moments, without anything else or any other worries seeping in. I could almost hear my Grandad saying ‘that’s better girl’. My husband arranged the trip, he knows me better than I know myself sometimes (eurgh, what a cliche..), and not for the first time did it feel a bit like I had been falling and he caught me.
So I now sit with my beautiful baby, fresh from the little detoxing retreat, and I’ll be tired tomorrow but this little late night cuddle with Holly is very much worth it. After a family discussion, it’s been decided I’m going to be cutting down some of the work I’ve got on my plate. Once the girls are at school I can go back to 60 hour weeks as standard. But for now, instead of taking on the world, I’m going to prioritise my world. A few things are going on a back burner, a few things are being passed on, and I’m going to balance out instead; a little bit of work, a little bit of what I’m passionate about (theatre and charity work primarily), and a lot of family time.
It’s a decision that in truth I’ve been a bit scared to make. Just as my career was taking off I started a family and the guilt I felt with the family support I had received in gaining my qualifications blindsided me. When I was made redundant last Summer, panic set in as I desperately searched for a new job. I was under the impression that my family would be disappointed or angry if I wasn’t going full steam ahead. As it turns out, they’ve all wanted me to slow down for a while, I was fighting a battle only against my own assumptions!
I’m NOT a good housewife. Most of what it entails alludes me. Ask me to write 50,000 words, or to analyse various larvae development to measure time of death on a violent crime scene, and I could do it with my eyes closed. But running a household is not a skill I possess. Which doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad wife or mother. I am extremely devoted to my children. I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, but I understand that’s par for the course and one thing I am totally confident in my abilities is how much I love my husband and children.
Slowing down is not really in my nature(!) but there are not three more special people in this world (or any other that might exist for that matter!) that I would agree to do so for. But importantly I think, (and something I haven’t done before!) is that I’m also doing it for someone I’ve always neglected quite a bit. I’m doing it for me. (Cue huge amount of guilt for even saying so).
I’m hoping to get back to the seaside with the girls soon, or at least I look forward to getting out and about with them that doesn’t involve being on the way to a meeting, or quick coffee dates in between shifts. I’m certainly not going to become the kind of Mum that starts doing things like making leaf rubbings! But I DO look forward to running around kicking up leaves and getting muddy!
When the girls are both at school, my health is (touch wood) back to 100%, and I have no good excuse to roll around in the mud anymore, I’ll get back to trying to change the world full time. For now, I look forward to making my girls world as happy as it possibly can be.