Ti-i-i-ime Will Never Be On My Side

Like so many things in my life (food, exercise, my ex-husband) I have a strange relationship with this blog. I think about it all the time but I just can’t get my act together. When I do actually sit down and write, the act is so cathartic that I momentarily commit to getting back into the habit – but finding that time is like trying to get me to leave a party while there’re still other people there. When I logged in this morning I deleted several half finished posts spanning the last few months. I wonder if this one will ever see the light of the monitor.

I feel like I juggle time like Tetris – slotting in work and a relationship around 4yo twins, 3 pets, a fitness obsession and an aversion to living in anything that isn’t spotless. I think the thing that I find the most frustrating these days is the fact that I need to sleep more than I used to. It’s a rare evening that I don’t fall asleep on the couch. I even did it when we had friends over a few weeks back. I don’t remember the last time I saw a movie through to its conclusion.

I used to have the party stamina of an ox. Those years were followed by the inevitable sleeplessness that 2 infants impose, and then on the back of that I managed to work myself into such a state of anxiety over my marriage that I if something woke me at night, I may as well have gotten up and begun my day because there was no hope in hell that I was getting back to sleep. On the one hand it was a good thing because I got lots of planning done, but it’s fair to say that I probably wasn’t that much fun to hang out with.

I was talking to my hairdresser (who is also a mother of twins) yesterday and I had an epiphany. I LIKE being so busy that I don’t have time to stop. I can’t imagine it any other way. I spent my childhood as part of a very tight family unit. My siblings and I are close in age and we did everything together. When I left home I had a job to go to every day and a series of relationships to go home to every night. Then I had my kids and I have spent the last 4.5 years spending every waking moment with them. I have developed a horrible kind of guilt over just doing nothing. When I finish my work and the house is clean, if the kids are still at kindy or they are playing together, I bounce around looking for something constructive to do. To sit down and read a book while other people are still at work feels like cheating somehow. The kids start school next year and it’s going to be the first time in my life that I have ever spent my days alone. I feel quite anxious about it.

I’ve been searching for time for so long and now it’s on the horizon and I feel like running from it.

I guess I’ll have time to blog again.

Life – But Not As I Thought I Knew It

Just over a year ago I lay in my childhood bedroom, staring at the glow-in-the-dark solar system that my dad helped me stick to the ceiling. My mother was sitting at the end of the bed and she was upset. We both were. She wanted to talk about blogging. She didn’t understand why it was that ‘I had to share everything in such a public way’. She suggested that I get a journal. I didn’t even know where to start. Telling her that it’s a generational thing felt insulting, but I was so far past the point of out of energy that I couldn’t even cry any more. I told her how it was and for the first time in my 36 years, I asked her to leave.

It was a variation on that same theme every night for the three months after I left my husband. As soon as the kids went to bed I packed my bed and drove over to my parent’s place. I got up every morning before 6 and drove back home so that they wouldn’t know that anything was wrong. We carried on like that for three months until I moved out.

If you didn’t used to follow my blog and have just read my last post, the timeline here might be confusing. For several years I wrote every day. I wrote as honestly as I was able. I wrote about everything. Some of it was catharsis. Mostly it was about nothing more than getting a laugh. Then in February last year, apparently out of the blue, my marriage ended and things went (for want of a better description) to the dogs. I wrote very honestly about that process – about what was happening and why. I did it fairly and kindly, because as I school people every day as part of my job – the internet is forever. But my husband was hurt and angry. As a result I removed a number of posts and left the building. I actually started up a new blog but walking away from a lifetime of words just feels kinda wrong. So I’m back.

I plan to start writing for me again, but truth be told, I have no idea when I’m going to fit that in. I have twins that are now three and a half. I’m a full time mother. On top of that I work 25 hours a week and spend more time than I should commuting 26,000 km to the office. I have a boyfriend and a step-daughter.

And I have emotional baggage.

All that said, life is good. It’s new and we’ve settled into a routine that is different, but no less crazy than before.

I walk around with a sense of sadness that didn’t used to be present in my life. It’s not a reflection on the life that I have now or of the choices that I’ve made, but of the pain that I caused along the way. When I was a kid I went to a drama club. We got taught that everyone has to have a ‘tear trigger’. Your tear trigger is the thing that you think about that allows you to you cry on cue. For years I struggled to find one and as I got older I learned that it is a rare and lucky person that has a life so blessed that they don’t have a tear trigger. Now I have one. It was that moment when I looked into the eyes of my best friend and told him that I was walking away. I watched the bottom fall out of his world and I will never forget the look on his face or the pain in his voice.

So I was true to myself. Am I proud of that? Very.

But the price was high and I’m not sure that I’ll ever stop paying it.

And that’s enough for now. It’s time for a gin.

2011 – The Beginning of the Rest of my Life

So I stopped blogging for a while at the end of last year. I had just gotten back into it when I started questioning myself. That in itself was a warning sign – and when those questions returned the wrong answers, I put on the brakes. I was in such emotional turmoil last year that this blog stopped being about fun and idiocy and I only ever wrote about extreme highs and lows.

I turned emo.

It then got to a stage where I felt like I was sabotaging my life and I realised that if I didn’t stop, I was in danger of losing my reputation of a witty and fun loving girl. 😉

But you can’t keep an old dog down.

So it’s with a sense of both excitement and trepidation that I make my big return. 2011 is going to be a good year for me. It is going to be a year of change and growth and beautiful things. I am bursting with possibility and I am lost in how amazing the world can be when you open yourself up to it’s possibilities.

I have discovered aspects of my personality that I didn’t know still existed. I am full of smiles and happiness and just generally gay. I’m alive. I am in love with the idea of what my life can be. I have found myself.

I could continue to puke out cliches and greeting card adages but then what will I talk about next time?

So 2011 is a year of hope for me. Hope and great things.

I think that’s perfect

I have never done this before. I am going to use someone else’s words. I’ve never done it because I have enough of my own, but these particular words are so innocently powerful that they need to be shared. These are the words of an elderly woman and they so accurately reflect my idea of utopia that I need to pay them forward.

Chickens know how to live. They get out of bed with the sun, raring to go, as if the day is going to be wonderful. They’re just focused on that day – they’re not worried about yesterday or tomorrow. They do something creative every day – like laying an egg – and they’re so pleased with themselves when they do it. They do something special and pampering for themselves every day, like having a dust spa, just to feel good. They stick with their friends and they go to bed when the sun goes down. I think that’s perfect.

And you know what? So do I. If I could gift just one thing to my children it would be the ability to live life with passion and not worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Just live in the moment.

If you run too fast you end up alone.

I’m sitting at the airport and my head is full of random words that, if pulled together, would read like one of those greeting cards that are both poignant and sad, but beautiful at the same time. There is something about doing airport admin by yourself that is inherently sad, even though nothing sad has happened. I always seem to go home from work trips feeling like I haven’t slept for days. And I guess that sitting in the departure lounge marks the end of something and the start of real life again.

I have a lot to look forward to at the moment. The next month is going to be a busy one full of crazy experiences. I’m going to be a best(wo)man for the first (and only, not doubt) time. I’m going to my first (and only, not doubt) stag’s do and I’m backing it up off a hen’s night. Ouch. I suspect that next time I come to the office I’ll be slightly more jaded.

Today is Father’s Day. I’m looking forward to seeing my dad tonight. I spent some time this weekend with a friend who’s father is sick and it has reminded me how much I appreciate mine. Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer a couple of years back and my world turned upside down. I had never before been faced with the mortality of my parents. As it turns out, the diagnosis was wrong and he’s still as healhty as ever, but it was a good wake up call. Nothing is forever. Not even the stuff that has been so far.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this post sounds a bit depressing. That’s not actually how I feel. I’m in a good place at the moment, but I only sit down to write when I’m feeling philosophical. It is true that I’m more emotional than I used to be though. I think having kids does that to you. These days I have an acute awareness of how other people affect me and I find it frustrating that I don’t have control over that. I won’t pretend to be someone that I’m not though – I live for the moment and you can’t do that if you’re not true to yourself. Great things don’t happen without collateral damage of some kind. But if you run too fast you find yourself all alone. I think it’s important to remember that. I should tattoo it somewhere.

That’ll do for now. I have a plane to catch and a life to get on with.

The Comeback

The night before last I had an epiphany. Ok, not really, I just wanted to use the word epiphany. But I did come to a minor realisation. I think I know what’s missing from my life. I read a tweet from a friend that I met when I was kick-boxing a few years back. She was talking about a fight that our mutual trainer is in this weekend. I realised that while I was reading it the muscles in my biceps and quads were doing little involuntary twitches. I’m sure that must be withdrawal.

So I made a decision. I’m getting back in the ring.

I contacted my trainer and he suggested that he’d be happy “to whip my fat ass into shape and have me looking like a boy again”. Great. Encouraging words which I accept would probably have some people running for the hills, but to me that sounds like heaven. I have never experienced anything like the level of endorphins that you get after an hour of kicking the living hell out of someone (that has volunteered to have the living hell kicked out of them). Aside from the short term buzz, the level of fitness that you can achieve is phenomenal. It will certainly make carrying around my 2x12kg children significantly less tiring.

Because I choose not to put the kids into childcare (I’m one of those people that thinks that if you have kids then you should look after them if you possibly can) I need to find some other solution, and I think I have. My mother has decided that she wants to take them on Friday mornings. Oh yeah. So things are falling into place.

I went up to the attic last night and dug out my gloves. When I put them on it felt like coming home after being away for too long.

Behavior. The Good and the Bad.

I have moments of lucidity at the most unlikely times. At some point during the Hawkstravaganza I realised that of late my behavior has gotten out of control. I have always been prone to bouts of obsessiveness, but when it reaches the point that I realise that what I’m doing might make me cringe in the future, it’s time to stop. So it was with a deep breath that I confronted my demons today. I still have that slightly nauseated feeling that you get when you talk with someone about heavy shit, but I’m glad it’s done.

You’re no doubt wondering what the hell I’m talking about. I’m going to leave you wondering. After all, this blog is about me, not you.

Whilst I’m on the subject of my behavior, I’ve been giving more thought to my last post. The one in which I relentlessly bag my kids. It occurred to me that most twin parents go through the same thing and everyone survives. I have to take responsibility for my feelings. If someone else came to me with the same set of complaints I’d tell them to stop bitching and do something about it. So that’s what I’m going to do. I chose this life for myself, after all.

I saw on the news last night that a 34 year old man in Methven was caught doing an indecent act with a sheep. I am congratulating myself because that is proof that there are people around that behave a lot worse than I do.

I’m also wondering if it was a pretty sheep.

Walking into the light

It is so extremely rare that I have the time to sit down these days and when I do, I should be working. It seems like a gratuitous waste of time to be doing something personal when I could be getting paid to do something very similar. But I’ve become aware lately that my emotional state is all over the place and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I used to keep it in check by debriefing here. When I first started blogging it was just to offload. No one ever read it. I didn’t tell anyone about it and no one knew who I was. Now due to the nature of my job, hundreds of people that I have never met read this blog. You’d think that would make me self censor but I’m pleased that it never has. So if you’re reading this now, you don’t know me. Does it feel weird to be reading my thoughts?

I’m writing because I feel like I’ve reached a bit of a turning point. I’m walking out into the light after being in the dark for way too long. It all has to do with being a parent. When I decided to have my kids I knew I wasn’t ready. I’d been waiting to feel ready for years. When I turned 33 I decided that I actually was never going to be ready, but if I didn’t take the hit then, I’d be lonely when I was old. I wanted family, I just didn’t want kids. In many ways I was right. I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t cut out to be a parent. Don’t get me wrong – like every parent I love my kids to death – but unlike most, I’m prepared to admit that most days I think I made a mistake. It’s not ‘having kids’ as much as ‘being a parent’ that I don’t like. I was so selfish with my life before. I find it so incredibly difficult to be saddled with responsibilities that mean I can’t do what I want to do.

I do all the normal mothering things. I take the kids to music and gym and playgroup. I feed them and put clothes on them and keep them clean. I love them and sing to them and make sure that they feel special and secure. I worry about them and want the best for them. I also wish I could give them to someone else and love them by proxy a lot of the time.

For the first 8 months of their lives, I was the happiest I had ever been. We would walk in the park and I would tell them that we were lucky to be alive. We were fortunate to be living in this paradise and to be able to afford to spend our days as we chose. We were lucky to have each other and all of the people that loved us.

The year that followed has been the hardest of my entire life. I lost my identity. Every day was groundhog day. I would get up in the morning and go through the parenting motions. 10 times a day I would take myself away so that I could vent my anger without the kids seeing. Once a month I’d break down in tears of frustration. The kids are healthy. I have no reason to complain. I’d try to remind myself of my friend who recently died, leaving behind her twins of the same age. She doesn’t get to be happy or sad. She’s just gone. I felt like that should make me feel grateful. It did for a few seconds at a time. Then the kids would rip the pages out of another book or make a hole in the table with the scissors and I’d be back screaming on the inside.

When the grizzling started at 4pm I’d start systematically reminding myself that they don’t have the emotional maturity to be any other way. That doesn’t make the grizzling any less relentless though. I felt that if I had some balance in my life that things would be better. But where would the balance come from? But the time the kids were in bed I didn’t feel like going out. Going partying or even just to the gym was more than I could be bothered with. So I fell into the wine on the couch every night routine and I’d sit there asking myself what had become of me.

I should say now that none of these things have really changed, but they are starting to. The kids are beginning to talk and being able to communicate with them goes a long way to making life easier. They are more independent and they understand consequences. I can let them outside without the fear that they will fall down the stairs or drown in a puddle.

The twin factor is a big one. Unless you have had twins it is impossible to understand. A single baby feels like an accessory if you’ve had twins. You simply can’t do it alone. Now the kids are old enough to be safely bathed by one person. That means that Shaun and I have more freedom. We don’t both have to be home at 6pm.

I long for the day when the kids are old enough to be my friends. I’ll always be their parent, but at the moment they feel like very precious pets, not people.

No one tells you about this side of parenting. People tell you about the tiredness. That’s nothing. I used to CHOOSE to stay up all night. People should tell you about the fact that you completely lose sight of who you are and what you used to stand for. Some people choose to define themselves by what kind of parent they are. That is just part of who I am. Sure, it’s a part that I’m proud of and do to the best of my ability, but there are other parts of me that are just as important. I’m looking forward to hanging out with those parts of me again.

It’s been too long.

Putting on the Brakes

I’m feeling quietly philosophical today. That’s a good thing considering how I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve been whipping myself up into quite a frenzy and have been taking other people along for the ride. I remember one of my boyfriends telling me once that I’m exhausting to be around. I didn’t really take that on board at the time. It wasn’t until a later boyfriend told me that I use up all the air in the room that it occurred to me that perhaps that first comment wasn’t intended as a compliment.

I know it’s what I’m like. Most of the time I don’t mind. In fact, most of the time I consider it to be one of my strengths. I have lots of energy but I haven’t learned to harness it.

Over the last week or so I’ve been winding up until I hit 100% on Saturday evening. I was away for the weekend and it was great. I needed the time out to regroup because I’ve been driving myself to distraction. It was great to get away from the kids. When I saw them this morning I felt so fortunate to be their mother. Last week I felt nothing but frustration for them. Everything they did got on my nerves. I missed what my life was like when I didn’t have other people that were reliant on me for their happiness.

I’m not sure what it is that has caused this introspection or why I’m feeling calm today. I don’t feel any differently towards the things that are going on in my life right now than I did yesterday. I just feel a sort of acceptance of them. Rather than running myself into the ground I’m feeling better about sitting back and enjoying life, with things to look forward to.

Last night my phone was stolen on my flight home. Usually that would have driven me to despair. Today it just is what it is. I have a loan phone. I’ll get a new SIM card this afternoon. I’ll attempt to be patient until the new iPhone comes out and then I’ll replace it. In the mean time I have no alarm clock, calendar, email on the run or any of the other things that I’ve come to rely on, but so be it.

I can’t actually believe how good I feel. Calm.

I know one thing for sure though. It won’t last.

When it’s all you know…

It’s amazing how long a person will put up with a less than ideal situation if it’s all that they know. I was watching one of those ads for World Vision on TV last night and I was wondering what keeps someone living when there is nothing to live for. But I guess if it’s all you know then what’s the alternative? Sometimes that’s how I feel.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that I have an issue with flies around the head or that I am deserving of World Vision money, although there are times when it would come in handy. I am also completely aware of how inappropriate it is to even make this kind of comparison, but sometimes it’s ok to cross the PC line for the sake of a laugh.

Where I’m going with this actually doesn’t have much to do with quality of life. It’s more about being satisfied with what you have until you see something else. I spent a couple of days over at the office last week and after a few drinks on Friday night I was talking with a guy from work about how great an employer we have. It put into perspective just how much I put up with at my old job – for more than 10 years. I worked with a great team and my immediate managers were fantastic, but the company in general treated people badly.

Still, I didn’t post just to bitch about that. To be honest, I’m not sure what I am posting about. I feel restless. I love the fact that I have a flexible job. I love that I work from home and can fit my hours around my kids and the other things that I choose to do in my day. But being in the office last week made me realise just how much I miss the energy of having people around me.

I think if I’m completely honest with myself, the fact that the office is in another country – far, far away from the responsibilities of home, is also part of the appeal. When I’m there, I’m no one’s mother – I’m just Hawk. I can go out after work and get trashed. I can get up and go to the gym even if it’s not my gym day. I can behave badly if I want to. And I usually want to. But I haven’t had the freedom to be that person for a while now.

I know that on paper I have an almost perfect life and to complain about it might seem ungrateful, but that’s human nature and I won’t apologise for it. I won’t apologise for slamming the door when I’ve had it with the grizzling. Or for telling the cats to fuck off because it’s better than telling the kids. Or for telling my daughter to eat her veges when I’ve had nothing but coffee and biscuits all day. I won’t apologise for being restless.

I guess once every month or so I’ll blow out just so that the pressure doesn’t get too extreme.

It’s about balance, right?