I'm nestled down on the couch looking like a mother duck in a bed of pillows all around me on the sofa in a quiet lounge. My little ducklings are fast asleep (after much sqwarking and mischief!) and my duck companion is working. Again.
Ok so the bird analogy ends there...
Whenever my blog posts become few and far between, it is because I am going through a phase of never-stopping, always-hurtling forward, living in chaos and trying to survive each day at a time with no room or time to sit down and ponder, think or even breathe!
Story Time becomes rushed and tense, Prayers are short and pleading "Please help Alex sleep tonight...Please keep Ross safe at work, Please help [insert family member and issue here] Please keep baby safe....Please....please...please give me strength to carry on!" No time for TV, No time for dates, shopping, social ocassions and remembering birthings...No time for anything but pure instinctual survival.
This has been the theme of the past few weeks. I have had terrible, endless, debilitating nausea rear it's ugly head once more, obsessive and intense itching each night, complete fatigue and exhaustion, emotional outbursts and a rising number of panicky episodes (e.g. I have an elephant sat on my chest, I'm going to die, I just can not get a grip!) I have been consumed by making preperations for the impending arrival of our newest family member. Washing baby clothes, sorting the boys' old clothes, dressing the moses basket and placing beside my bed, purchasing a good sling for the school runs with Ryan, packing the hospital bag, choosing a welcome home outfit for baby, all of that, wonderful, anxious, Jazz. All the while I have been trying to keep up with the energetic monkeys that are my sons, Ryan and Alexander. They are constant all day long. From 7am til 7pm (though often more like 9pm!) they scream, jump, throw, play, splash, dive, cry, laugh, shout, eat, poo, wee, growl, run, build, destroy and fulfill the same goals as a mini whirlwind....I am constantly feeding them...and myself....filling up juice cups, changing nappies, bending (and grunting) to pick up toys, fasten shoes, dropped toys, clear up crushed crisps, pieces of paper...the dishes are endless, the laundry mounts higher and my feet and ankles swell as I am on my feet all day.
Rest. They tell me. This is your last chance to rest before the baby is here....don't you realise I already have two? Those days were long gone! There is not one fragment of time in the day that I can truly lay down and "rest". Why? Because even if: (Cue beautiful, idealistic rose-tinted glasses scenario)
- The house was spotless, organised and presentable
- The meals were catered for
- The laundry and ironing was complete
- The bedding changed and fresh
- The toys alphabeticalised, sorted and cleaned
- The baby's "stuff" all bought, organised and ready to go
- The gardens were trimmed, weeded and rubbish sent to the tip
- The walls freshly painted and the carpets professionaly cleaned
- The garage organised and tidied
- The cars washed and vacummed
- The house decorated with beautiful, up-to-date family pictures
- The outside of the house adorned with lovely hanging baskets
- The cupboards full of food and a plan made for the meals in the week
- The bills paid up-to-date, the files and paperwork accurate and full
- The business accounts and history up-to-date
- The children have been taken out by someone to the park, or for a play date
Even if ALL that were the case...I would still find it impossible to "rest". And the reason? Every parent would easily know the answer. Because no matter what, no matter how much help you get or how hard you try to get away, once you become a parent, you never, ever lose that title. Ever.
When you create a beautiful, perfect, innocent and completely made from you, little being...oh the love. The adoration. The simple knowledge that you could never ever stop loving them and thinking about them.
I thought I knew what love was when I married Ross. Then I gave birth to Ryan and held him in my arms for the very first time. It was the love I knew, but on a whole other level. This love, so deep, so instinctive and powerful, it made me feel strong enough to move mountains if I needed to. This love doubled and intensified when I birthed Alexander and clutched him to my breast holding him close. I know that when I bring this baby into the world, that the love I posess in my heart will grow yet again.
It is seriously powerful stuff!
And yet with this love, comes another emotion. Another instinct of which it is IMPOSSIBLE to rid yourself....Worry.
Oh the worry. The constant, never-ending, nail-bitingly intense worry for your precious creations. They are forever present in the mind and heart. A constant prayer is uttered for their welbeing, their blessings, their safety and happiness.
It doesn't matter how organised the house is....or how many friends and after school clubs they have. It doesn't matter how many maids, babysitters, cleaners, drivers, gardeners, councellors, and friends you have to "help", no one can take away that deeply embedded motherly instinct of love and worry for her children.
So laying down and getting rest? No. Laying down, perhaps. But the sleep is a restless sleep. I put my feet up on the couch and feel terrible guilt for this selfish "me time".
I am no longer Laura Burchell, the teenage girl who loved to get lost in a Harry Potter book or write her own stories in the torch light under her duvet cover in the early hours of the morning....I no longer sneak downstairs in the mornings, put on the headphones and dance like a loony person to music pretending to star in my very own music video....I no longer sit in front of the mirror and pretend to have an interview with myself discussing the success of my latest best-seller. I no longer consume insane amounts of sugar and giggle excessively and become hyperactive....I no longer play riddle games online for hours at a time, no more chess, Sudoku, word games...there is nothing I do single player, nothing I do that is just for me.
Everything I am. Every part of the woman I have become, is for my children and my husband.
You have to understand, Ross goes out to work before the children wake up for the day and he arrives home long after the children have gone to bed. His work is intense. Stressful. Demanding. Relentless. Unforgiving. Unbelievably Challenging and ultimately Agonising. Coupled with the stresses of a long commute using the insanely unreliable train system...I am welcomed to a stressed, tired-out and almost empty-shelled husband at the end of each day.
It's not a walk in the park for Ross, for sure. I would not want to swap places for him for anything. Sweat of the brow he does work!
However, I feel that my work is of equal measure. Infact, you could describe my job using the same words as the ones I used to describe Ross'.
I don't get sick days, lunch hours or breaks. I have no commute because I live at work. My hours are 24/7, 7 days a week. I am blessed to receive help from my partner between the hours of 8pm - 6am, though these resources are limited as too many wake up calls means no energy for working in London...
I am a wife, a mother, a cleaner, a housemaid, a gardner, a valleting specialist, a nurse, a cook, an organiser, a project manager, a carer, a teacher, a massager, a PA, a hair dresser, a retail therepist, a fund raiser, a party planner, lizard expert and carer, a spider terminator, a pianist, spider-in-the-bath-vocalist, a comforter, a disciplinary, a stand-up comedian and toy enthusiast.
My job requires endless levels of patience, will, determination, understanding, compassion, skill, motivation, love, forgiveness, repentence and humility.
So how, may I ask, would anyone expect me to "rest"?
Well the idea was nice.
36 weeks and 2 days along....and "resting" ;)