Everything is feeling a bit circular to me today. For a start, there’s starting. What do I write about, what I’m feeling now or how I was feeling in my recent bad patch, or maybe the last one, do I even know when this all started? There seems no logical way to make sense of one part before the rest is understood, a chicken and egg situation. Leaving me feeling like there is no beginning and I’m holding a hula hoop, turning it round and round looking for the end point.
Also, what to do, I’m feeling a bit better at the moment and determined to use the time it gives me to help myself, but where do I begin? Getting on top of the housework that gets me down, the paperwork, my inbox, the self help book I bought, finishing the mood gym thing the dr recommended, taking some time out for me, catching up on sleep? Again I’m going round in circles and in danger of getting nowhere or worse still whirling away until I’m too dizzy to think straight and the anxiety comes back.
Then there’s the cycle of the year. Start of term, kids back at school yesterday and WHAM back into all that that entails. Yesterday reminded me of going back to work after maternity leave and the surprise of how utterly familiar and unsurprising walking being in the office felt after so long away.
To summarise our school day trap that is so familiar to me from the first half of the year. I try to avoid waking up as I’ve not had enough sleep. The kids fight and shout and mess around instead of getting dressed. My husband pulls himself out of bed and coralls them into clothes and breakfast whilst I try and hide under the duvet. He leaves for work later than he hoped, which means he’ll be back later than he’d like. I dash around trying to get them ready but when I’m not standing over them they veer off course and when I talk to or help one, the other stops and stares to make sure they’re not missing out. We leave late and grumpy and get to school with the other stragglers. I hang around and chat for too long, coming down from my school run buzz, then maybe get some shopping, or go home and mess around online. By this time I’m hungry, having had no breakfast, and once I’ve eaten I start on sorting out washing, washing up, tidying but it’s somehow 2 o ‘clock and I don’t have time to do it all. I rush around madly, fail to do everything and end up late to pick them up. They’re tired and it takes ages to get them out of the playground. When we get home I have to cook tea and they bicker constantly Husband gets home tired and we all eat, then I run away for a rest as I’m exhausted. Then the battle to get overtired children to bed starts, whilst they do there best to muck around and wind themselves up. Usully the little one settles ok, but then we usually have an hour or two of putting the bigger one back in bed, time when we cant settle to do anything. Then, at maybe 9.30 the housework starts. At 11ish I give up tired and defeated and try to unwind, reading a book or more likely messing around online. Husband goes to bed and is asleep by the time I roll in, we haven’t talked properly at all all day. Then at 6am one of them comes into bed and wriggles around enough to disturb sleep, but we try and ignore it as they won’t settle back in bed now. We drop off just in time for the other one to come and start a fight, as our bed does not fit 4. We kick them out and tell them to get dressed, and it starts again.
Ok, so it’s not just like that. There is fun and laughter and good things too. And not all of every day is like that. And I am aware that is very much a 1st world problem, no fighting or food shortages her. But the bad sleeping, for 3/4 of the family at least has been a theme since Christmas which has culmatively worn us down, used up our reserves. And the sense of failure to keep on top of things looms large over me. The summer was a welcome change, different routines, but still sleep problems and the associated temper tantrums played a large part.
So back into all that, and I want to break the cycle, re write the script, change the way the cogs turn. I’m making a start, yesterday and today have had more focus. I’ve agreed a to do list with husband, so now I have a few achievable things to get on top off this week, not just everything. I’m looking at emails (even if I have to breathe out like they teach you at antenatal class when I press open) and I even answered an unexpected phone call. And my reward last night was 2 children settled by ten past eight, leaving us with an evening, where I got to do some sewing, husband changed guitar strings, we hung out together, we talked. Shame the boy woke at 3am and didn’t settle till 5, but I still feel I’m starting to make progress…