I got home from walking the dogs this morning and did something extraordinary – I baked a cake. Yes. A cake. First thing this morning, because I saw a recipe on the net and decided I had the time. Yes, the time.
As I folded the chocolate chips into the batter, it occurred to me what I was doing. I stopped for a moment; truly stopped and considered what I was doing. Was I on a hormonal high? Had I hit my head unwittingly during my walk? Why exactly was I making this cake apart from the fact I could? Was it asked for? No, there was no reason apart from the fact I felt like it. It was easy to do.
Would I have considered doing this last year? Hell no. It wouldn’t have even entered my mind. Everything last year – especially towards the end of last year – was an effort. Being a wife, mother and me was an effort. A real effort. Some days I would roll over and go, ‘Christ, another day, really?’. It felt so mundane. It was horrible. I know it was a choice and I did my best but I was tired of being a mother – I say that because I can and it’s allowed. I am human and no one suffered in the making of this story. Well, maybe a little – but I swear it was for their own good.
Yes, I can hear the gasp and that’s okay. I have learnt to walk the walk and talk the talk. I’m okay if my honesty offends you. Truly. So I will now contradict myself as I feel the need to explain, not only because it’s part of the story, but because I don’t want you to judge me without knowing the whole story.
I have no family here in my sweet country town. I do but I don’t, you know? It’s their choice as well as mine. It works for us – I have my parents who fly down as often as they can, and I have amazing neighbours without whom I would have surely killed my children. They represent what family means to me.
My husband works away four weeks on and off and I (we) love it. So I have it good for six months of the year, but those other six months were, until now, hard work – especially for the first few years. FIFO or not, motherhood is hard work. So apart from my husband and my neighbour, I had no support. No one to fling the kids off to when I needed; I had to find the time somewhere. Sometimes I would turn the TV on and run up the hill or play hide and seek. I would hide and they wouldn’t seek me for 20 minutes while I sat, drank coffee and read a book in the laundry cupboard by torch light – it’s true.
This life was my choice and desperate times called for desperate measures.
I remembered a dear friend saying to me, ‘It’s hard now but it’s worth it in the end; give it a couple of years’. That was when my youngest was born. I think I grunted at her. How could it get easier? They always needed me. There was always stuff to do, never a chance to stop and breathe. Everything was just so damn hard.