27th May 2017 Angela Hughes

A shit-storm of a month.

Surviving a shit month.

I know it sounds dramatic, but this month has been so hard. So, so hard.

Family, life, career and everything else has just been so much effort this month.

The chickenpox and subsequent fatigue and compromised immune system for Jonathan and Elias have led to almost an entire month of disrupted sleep, wavering appetites, short tempers between myself and James due to constant-needed-attention from our babies. It has been tiring, and now after so much missed nursery and missed work-days, we are headed into a full week of half term. The whole business has been confusing and uncomfortable, our routine for the most part lost.

My friends have been so supportive. You know who you are. In a way, we were lucky to catch chickenpox when we did. The children always had friends to play with, and friends to infect. You almost don’t feel like you’re alone much in it, which can be easy to feel. If it weren’t for them I fear I may have been driven cabin-fever mad.

I have to offer my thanks to the children, they were superstars. Pure superstars. They tried so hard to be well behaved, only really giving in to their exhaustion with a tantrum every now and then. The frustration was hard for them, I gave in to their needs and just played with them. I sat with them, watched movies (I’ve now seen SING around 15 times…) and just offered them someone to moan at. I say me….. I mean my husband also. My rock.

James has been super busy for the last year…..years…. but always finds time to help me. This past week and a half have been really rough on him. He has been so ill and has still managed to offer me a hand. I’ve been trying to find ways of telling him I really appreciate it, just little things. Nothing beats a solid cuddle, spending time together and just being with each other. I’m so lucky to have 24/7 access to James, he really…. is a rock. As I write this blog post, he has gone up to bed early. He always pushes himself, offers more than he can give at times. I hope I can just give him time to rest and heal, but there is really no rest bite. I’ll do the dishwasher and tidy up so he doesn’t feel like he needs to do it in the morning.

We need a week of health. Just to recover!

In all the hubbub (I love that word), there have been significant moments for me that I can take forward as positives.

I finally passed my driving test. The test anxiety got to me and I let it control the result of my tests. I’ve still not come to terms with the fact that I have finally passed, it feels surreal having managed without driving for so long. My mother never really drove unless it was necessary, and after she suffered a TIA (mini-stroke) she didn’t have the physical capacity to even try. Having it taken from her didn’t affect her so much, but I honestly don’t know how I ever managed without driving. And thats after spending a year or so in lessons, suffering from horrendous driving anxiety. Now I have passed the nerves has almost disappeared, I only really get anxious when I know I may have to drive in new conditions or somewhere I don’t know which I feel is pretty normal.

I can finally drive my children around, go places if we are bored and not resent our own surroundings here in Shaftesbury so much. It felt like we were trapped, always having to take a bus to see my own mother in Salisbury. Always burdening people asking for a lift, in a way it feels like something we should have done such a long time ago.

We’ve tried to relax with the children recently, letting them feel bored, letting them work out issues with each other. It can be tough watching these little people work things out for themselves when all of my insides are screeching to do the opposite, but they need to at least work out the pecking order and work together as siblings to enjoy each others company. There have been many arguments this month, mostly about sharing and realising that they are not the centre of the universe. I think there has been less frustration with Elias, being allowed to go and play with Jonathan without me sitting close by has allowed him to work things out for himself. He comes down the stairs on his own, opens the stair gate, asks Jonathan to play with him and although there have been moments I regret on the whole I feel more comfortable in allowing him to do these things himself. Not be such a helicopter parent.

I guess this month has been about giving in to just watching the children grow and learn, not worrying so much about the housework and just playing. Enjoying their company while they, and I learn about each other. I’ve revelled in it really.

This coming month will hopefully (touch wood) allow me to get mostly back to normal before we start properly getting used to the idea of us moving to Salisbury, and Jonathan starting his primary school. I’m not ready yet for that, but I’ve got the whole summer to be busy and forget about it until it comes and bites me on the bottom. And until then….!

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