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Desperate mum confesses: I hid from my kids

image with thanks to pintrest

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.

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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.

Now I am well aware I chose to have three babies all deliberately spaced a year apart. It was my choice to live this way. It was my choice just to suck it up and get on with the job at hand and do the best I could. I have no right to whinge; all of this was my (our) choice but let’s be honest; some days as a mother can suck. We can make boats, read books, make play dough from scratch, make puppets out of socks, we can blow bubbles from our own spit, make things go ‘bang!’ and we can watch High Five fifty times over and still it can suck for everyone involved. It can. We work a tough clientele.

I tried for five years but I was getting tired. I wasn’t enough, especially towards the end of last year. I take my hat off to all home-schoolers. Now, to cover all facts of the story and further justification for me saying motherhood can suck. What about day care? I used day care for two years when I was at my most tired for one day a week but because we no longer qualified for subsidies I could not justify the extraordinary money we paid. So I dropped it and things, although easier, became hard again. Again – my decision. I am not complaining, I am explaining. There is a difference, at least in my head.

Fast forward to today: Me in my kitchen baking a cake, because, you know, I have the desire and time. I have two kids in school, one at kindy. They can do things for themselves now due to good training (I like to think), and they do things for me including their own washing. I’m not boasting – just saying it can be done. The house is clean. The washing is done. I’m baking cakes and I am happy and so are the kids.

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I’m not saying they were the problem – they weren’t. But doing it all on my own meant it wasn’t fun any more. Being a mum was not cracking up to the romantic notion I had in my head. Nothing was or seemed easy; now it is. It really is that simple.  Now they come home from school, we have afternoon tea and eat things I baked for them and I listen to them talk about their day and they ask about mine. I’m doing this motherhood FIFO gig better than ever; homework and all.

My friend was right – it does get easier. I’m still a full time mum. I’m still a full time FIFO wife and I’m still doing everything, but it’s okay. I’m okay with that because I have some time to catch my breath. I can go to the toilet on my own. I can wear white from 9am-3pm without fear of getting handprints around my bum and going to town like that. I can finally stop reading my books by torch light.

So to all of you who roll over and think, ‘Great. Another day of cleaning Weetbix off the wall’: it gets easier. Truly it does. Trust me – I wouldn’t be off to bake my husband a cake if it didn’t.

You can read more about Debbie at at afifowife.com.au.

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