I wake this morning once again to grey skies and gale-force winds and groan. I struggle to want to get out of bed. I struggle with this more often than I admit these days - having to be an adult; to be responsible for others.
I wonder if it’s burnout, the type all parents get at one point or another on this parenting journey.
But I know it runs deeper than that, more intrinsic to my core, and I recognise it as an urge to regress - to selfishly adopt the characteristics of an unencumbered teen, to be irresponsible and careless and to just not have to be the responsible one for once in my life, goddammit.
Side note: How to spot and combat burnout. Post continues below.
This feeling of wanting to regress is normal for people like me - people who have grown up with an alcoholic parent.
Forced into the role of the responsible adult at a young age, those of us who grew up with an alcoholic parent missed out on our childhood, often our teen years also; the linear progression of normal development skewed.
It’s often not until years later, when our grown-up muscle is utterly exhausted from overuse, we begin to grieve the carefree years we never experienced; long to grasp them back into our hands and live them now.
Except, now, there is my own family to care for.
I force myself out of bed; still, I must be the responsible one.
I didn’t have a normal childhood but grew up in dysfunction, neglect and abuse. I was the child who arrived late for school; the one with unwashed clothes and toes that poked out from holes in my worn shoes.
The one without food and adequate school supplies.
The one with unkempt hair and skinny limbs and dark circles under my eyes.
While other children were busy relishing in the sunshine of their childhood, I was busy being a responsible adult; cooking meals, cleaning, forging signatures on school notes, caring for other family members.
Vividly, I remember times of waiting to be picked up from school, camps, vacation care; always the last child there, stomach in knots, staring at the ground pretending not to hear the whispered conversations of my teachers.