Monday, April 9

The Straw

The final straw.
The straw that broke the camel's back.
Not that I'm a camel you understand.

This weekend I have gone a little bit....dislodged shall we say. Discombobulated. Finally accepted that perhaps you can't do everything all the time. Accepted that sometimes principals have to be flexible. Accepting that help does not equal failure.
Tomorrow I am going to go to my GP and plead to be signed off work for a period. I cannot do it all. I just can't cope. It's been brewing for a while and in the last five days, I have fought off anxiety attacks like nothing else. I have been constantly on edge and unable to concentrate on anything at all. I could barely bring myself to play properly with Wriggles, couldn't get dressed til gone noon. I know we all have off days, but I know this is me falling apart.

I had Wriggles at 23, barely out of university. I was so desperate to prove I wasn't a silly young girl who had just got pregnant that I was terrified of not working. As a single mum, a young single mum, there is still very much a preconceived idea of who you are and a stigma attached. I wanted to prove it wasn't me, that I could take care of my little family. That I could do it all. That I could hang out with the Cool Mums and still pay my cheque in at the end of every month. Damn prematurity and all that came with it playing with my brain.
I was so keen to prove everything I wasn't, I insisted on trying to work when Wriggles was in NICU, a decision I very much regret now as I near burnt myself out running between the office and neonatal, sitting by the cotside long into the night until the last train home. I was of course next to useless in work as all I could think about was Wriggles, and I couldn't start the day until I had rang the unit. The only thing that eventually stopped me was Wriggles not being able to kick the oxygen habit, and that she would need a full-time stay at home carer. Four months later via Intensive Care, I returned to work. Throughout the Great Summer of Illness, I would spring back to work hours after we had left the hospital. I was too scared to ask for time off, time to come to terms with things, times to set my head straight, time to see my baby girl being well. I was so grateful to be still employed so I could prove everyone wrong, I railroaded through every dip when I was sinking in periods of depression and stress and all over the place. I made mistakes left right and centre and time and time again would return to the nice counselling lady weeping. Now, enough. Eighteen months on, I have finally realised I am doing us both a disservice. I need to just concentrate on being a Good Mum before I can become a Competent Person again. 

I am under no impression this is the easy route. I now I will have to be extra-extra-extra-frugal and this is not a long term fix. I still fully intend to provide by myself as soon as I can. I know this will not magic away bad feelings or that suddenly life will be rosy. I know it will be just as exhausting running after a small toddler.

So. Um. What do you do as a SAHM?  

(Assuming my GP agrees!)

1 comment:

  1. Aww Amy mouse! Well done for standing up for yourself missus! It's admirable that you wanted to be independent and support yourself etc but equally admirable is the mum who recognises she needs a break. Stay-at-home mum- ship is fabulous. In no time at all you'll be a dab hand at slamming the lap top shut when the door bell rings, throwing flour down your jeans and microwaving Maryland cookies.
    No actually, the best tip I have is : go out of the house for as many hours as possible, the park, cafe's, other peoples houses. This is how you minimise the amount of time spent cleaning up your own mess. If you stay in then if your not cleaning, you'll be organising and sorting...system creating. Not what being a stay at home
    mum should be about at all!! Yeah get on the old Internet and check out what groups are going on. Try to go to low cost private groups if u can find em, the ones attached to church halls etc. I've had to pay through the roof before to not use sure start. There is s middle ground somewhere between paying £5 an hour for some dodgy bush craft activity or sitting in a children's centre with some pregnant chavs learning how to play with your child.
    Anyway more importantly just remember you're a brilliant mum and you mustn't feel bad about any of the decisions you've made to date. You did the right thing then and you're doing the right thing now, try to enjoy the time off (assuming you get it) because you deserve it!! It takes s strong woman to go out to work each day and earn the crust but an even stronger woman to take a step back and see a clear way forward. Xxxxx