Do you ever get times in your life, where you seriously feel like you're failing and flailing. I've felt like that for several weeks now. I have so much self doubt. I doubt myself as a mother, I feel I'm lacking in the good wife department, and rightly or wrongly, I define myself by the roles I have. As a woman we have so many. Wife, friend, daughter, sister, mother, worker, housewife, organizer, cook, cleaner, accountant, disciplinarian, counsellor, motivator - and these are just what I can think of on the top of my head.
I can remember one day, when I'd had my mini breakdown. I'd got up one morning, the kids were small, and I was getting breakfast bowls out. I just fell apart. I couldn't count and figure out how many bowls I needed!
I rang my wonderful husband, and just cried. He came home and took over. He took me to the doctor and I started a round of treatment which included counselling sessions.
Prior to the sessions starting I had two people from Mental Health Unit come to the house. I sat down and Peter just pottered in the kitchen. I was neat, tidy, hair done and with a touch of makeup on. The two, assessors (I don't really know what their role was) looked me up and down and didn't know where to start. The told me that they were not prepared for what they found. All they knew, is that they had to evaluate someone (must normally be an onerous job, for them to have sent two people!!). They said they never find the patient, made up, with hair done. The patient doesn't have clean children. The patient doesn't tend to sit in a clean and tidy home. The patient doesn't normally have a husband who works quietly in the background, obviously supporting his wife just with his mere presence.......
They sat there, and had to explain why they were so stunned. I answered that, I would need to be rather ill, or dead, before I would let myself and my house go to that extent. I would never invite anyone into my home and have them see anything other than order.......Perhaps they wouldn' think I was sick enough.
They did, and I got the help I needed. Counselling and a safety net.
I always know they were there. I still carry their card in my wallet, never ever knowing when I'll need their help again, and not too proud or cocky to think that the time won't ever come again.
I haven't been to that level the last few months, but I've not felt strong and resilient either. I've not felt that I've fulfilled all my roles to their best potential, although I'm possibly the only one who thinks so. I've always been my own worst enemy and my harshest critic too.
This last weekend, was interesting. My eldest boy, whom I adore, has had pre pubescent attitude since he was 8 years old. We are so alike in may ways, and that's probably why we clash like we do. I'd had enough of his attitude. I know that my God Given role of parent, doesn't always make me a friend, and I tell him that's not my role. I'm set on this earth to be his guiding light, support and his soft place to fall. This means I'm here to do what's best for him, not to tell him what he wants to hear all the time. He has mates for that. That's not my role.
As luck would have it (his luck) he want to a sleepover on the Saturday night. I was glad that he was away. The dynamics change, and it gave us some much needed breathing space. He had apologized, but it wasn't heartfelt.
So my mind worked, how could I mend some bridges when he comes home. I thought about how much we enjoyed each others company. When he came home yesterday I asked him if he wanted to be my training partner again. Like we'd done last year. He was quick to think that was a good idea.
Today I worked. Today I was told that I had work until the end of the week. That feels good. It's good money, and makes up for the many weeks of no work. Added to that the two teachers in the block actually asked for me. When school finished one of the teachers was heading to the office to let them know how much they liked and respected me. They both told me in the morning that I had a good reputation around the school amongst the teachers. They wanted the office to be aware of this, as they were the ones who actually did the ringing. As you can imagine I walked around on a cloud all day.
My shoulder's still not good, but the acute pain is gone. I don't need pain killers to get through the day. My pupils are all ambulatory and require no toileting, so the physical side is nil. It means it can still rest and I can still work.
I picked up the kids and headed home. I supervised homework although only Sammy had homework, much to his chagrin. He wasn't impressed at all - being the last week of school and all. He has a cold with a sore throat and headache, so I crushed him some panadol in some juice. I've had no complaints since he's been playing on the computer.
Billy-Joe and I headed down to the 'gym'. I walked, jogged, walked, jogged, and coached him with his weights and crunches. We were down there for over half an hour. At one stage, he ducked upstairs saying he was doing something to help me. I said it was okay, I didn't need my treadmill I only had about seven minutes left. He said, no, it's okay, I've done something to help you and you'll see when you go up.
I head upstairs, and left Billy-Joe to sweep out the dusty gym. (It's under the house, on a concrete slab, but in the open, if that makes sense). I walked past the bathroom, Mickey was drying himself and Sammy was in the shower. Mickey said, that Billy-Joe had asked them to shower, to help me. I was rapt. No arguments, and they were done by the time I came inside. While I was putting on a load of washing, Mickey set the table - I was gobsmacked!
Everyone was in a good mood. No-one got into trouble. No attitude.
It's days like today, that make me realize I do indeed fulfill my roles. I know I'm my harshest critic. In my teaching studies, I learned that one always evaluates one's days, and then makes efforts to improve it for next time. Reflection is a powerful planning tool for a teacher, and I've found, for life also. I am hard on myself, and often feel severely short of the mark. Perhaps that's not a good thing, and during the 'down' times, it's awful. But I keep plodding on, always trying, always improving, never letting my standards drop, and then a day like today proves that I must be doing a few things right.
I will never stop learning, I'll never stop making things better for myself and my family. And I'll give myself permission to celebrate the goodness that I create too.
Dinner is simmering, the kids are happy and well behaved. Husband is hard at work and will come home to a tidy house and a cooked meal. I've got a good, albeit spasmodic job, I've got awesome family and friends. Seriously, it doesn't get much better does it?
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