Whole lotta history
November 9, 2017
I have uttered the words before ‘oh I really like change, it keeps things interesting’ (or something like that!). I’m not entirely sure I knew what I was saying at the time, but in recent years where I’ve had quite a bit of personal change I don’t think I’d be repeating the statement quite so readily and with the enthusiasm I had once before. There’s been a plethora on the professional side too but there’s a time and place for me to talk about that and today isn’t it!
I’ve been lucky – pretty much all the change I’ve gone through has been positive stuff, but let’s be honest all change gets some sort of reaction even if it’s really good and something you’ve instigated yourself. Starting our family has to be the biggest for me but with it has come a reaction I didn’t foresee – a desire for history to repeat a few things….
My parents divorced when I was five and my sister was two. I remember little snippets from that time but nothing major or life changing – I’d like to think that was down to them and our family proactively keeping us away from it all, not just my questionable memory! Even before they split my Aunt and Uncle (my Dad’s sister) played a huge role in our lives. From being tiny my Mum had to go back to work and because we lived in a small town there was always family on hand to help, but when my mum was solo with us it really was all hands on deck. There was a changing rota of who was dropping us off at school, picking us up, where we’d be on a weekend and covering those extra hours when she took a second job. The lions share of time was split between Grandparents on both sides and then my Auntie and Uncle. I’m incredibly close to them but in particular my Aunt. We will speak on average about three times a day, she treats my kids like they are her own and she’s my eternal moral compass. Graham and I are usually pretty independent people – neither of us have lived at home since we moved out 13 (me) and 16 (him) years ago, family is super important to us but we generally rely on each other. However, having kids has left me wanting to recreate history – in particular the family relationships.
I struggled, and still do at times, when I think how far apart I am particularly from my Mum, Aunt and sisters. It’s typically on the more sleep deprived days when I’ve got a lengthily jobs list and the overwhelm wins. After a minor meltdown I can usually restore calm with a quick phone call to one of them and I remind myself that we’re not close because of geography but because of who we are, what we value and it’d take something spectacular to change that. I’ve also needed to accept that relationships and life logistics aren’t going to be exactly the same as when I was growing up – I know that sounds really obvious but when you’re not feeling at your most pragmatic it’s a big deal to get your head round. I’ve definitely had my rose tinted’s on with this too – I do know that there were tough times but there’s very little good that comes of over thinking that!
I’ve found myself having similar wishes about my second maternity leave. It has been quite different to the first – we’ve moved house and although it’s five minutes down the road it’s changed our dynamic and moved us away from our previous way of life both literally and metaphorically so I’ve had some adjusting to do on a few levels. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely adore our new digs and it’s exactly where our little family needs to be, but like I said even positive changed gets a reaction, yes?? Throw in that I had a few close friends on mat leave at the same time with round one, had more energy and definitely less life admin to contend with and hey presto you have a very alternative experience to what I’d had before.
I don’t remember feeling lonely in the slightest when I first became a mum, but this time around it’s been a prevalent feeling and one that I didn’t see coming. I’ve found the last eight months to have incredible highs and some rough lows, and at points I’ve craved a repeat of the experiences I had with Polly. Lilly has been incredible but I’ve had chunks of guilt that I’m not doing enough with her because I’ve done less classes, not been to soft play as much, avoided long energetic walks and trips out and favoured more low key activities and just the one baby class at a time instead of filling everyday. When I’m being rational I know that I’ve done enough, I am enough and she gets exactly what she needs but maaaaaannnnn some days I have to work hard to believe my inner voice!
Life continues to move at pace and I know change is inevitable throughout, I just need to keep in my mind that the support network I need is there and even if I don’t know what I’m doing I DO know how to wing it!!