17 Apr a whiff of guilt
The other week, at the end of a long day I found myself asking Matt; “Am i a rubbish parent?” (Classic Monday night)
As the day drew to a close I had become increasingly aware of the thought processes I had experienced during the day.
How I wanted the kids to go away and leave me alone. How i ‘didn’t have time’ to sit and chat with my eldest. How I
was basically ignoring couldn’t summon up the capacity to deal with my girls’ emotional needs.
How bedtime couldn’t come quick enough.
Later, after an hour or so of child-free bliss, I became aware of that day’s reality: I had run out of energy for my children.
No… That’s not the truth… I was withholding my energy from my children. I was pulling away from them. I was disengaging.
My children who I love more than I can describe and who I would happily lose a limb or two for.
Who, when they are gorgeously asleep, I feel overwhelmed with my love for, but when they are awake and very present I could do without them
most a lot of the time.
So as I got into bed my fears presented themselves to me. One by one, forming a queue…
…and the conclusion that, it was me. I was rubbish. Everyone else was blatantly better at this, more patient at this, more loving and gracious at this than me. I was never going to be good at it. My children would suffer and be emotionally stunted as a result. ( not that I am prone to catastrophise or anything!)
I have been thinking about this today. And I have realised something.
When I end up like this, stepping back and dis-engaging from my family, it is because I am suffering under a misapprehension:
That I am time-poor.
When I feel this way I am suffering from a poverty-mentality with regard to time.
I don’t think there is enough time.
And, specifically, I don’t think there is enough time for me.
There are legitimate reasons for this supposition…
… for a lot of the last decade,
it feels as though there hasn’t been.
After hours caring for children, husband, home, friends and church, there was not
anything much left for me.
And I didn’t do anything about it because I did not realise that I was important enough to put time aside for. I didn’t think that was what you were ‘meant’ to do. I thought it was selfish.
So i started to disappear. I became invisible for a while… or at least transparent. A colour-less version of myself.
My confidence was so low that I didn’t see that by denying myself time, I was harming myself.
And that if I was not healthy it could have a detrimental effect on those around me. The ones I was denying myself for…
I was existing under an assumption of lack.
And I withdrew from those closest to me – my husband and children – because I had decided they were going to ask a lot of me… more than I could give.
It is a mindset that is difficult to switch off. A habit that had become ingrained in my emotional responses.
Recently I’ve been busy, and I’ve got tired and… old habits die hard.
As the smell of guilt crept under the door and I could taste insecurity on my lips I was back there again.
Back in the place where there is not enough.
Not enough time. Not enough energy.
The place where I need to conserve these things and hoard them because otherwise
the world will end I will be ill.
Back where I need to stock-pile my affection and time and save the surplus for an emergency.
(Yeah… cos that works…)
It doesn’t work. I know that.
But these thoughts are leftovers. From my old life, my old ways of thinking. Previously held beliefs that re-emerge when I am tired and trip me up.
This last year I have unpicked the fabric of my emotional assumptions. I have taken it apart and examined the threads that it was made up of.
…The lies it was made of.
And, I am not that person anymore. As a family we don’t operate like that anymore. I have made time for myself. Time to be well. I don’t spend my days pleasing everyone else at the expense of my health anymore. I have
for the main part given up on shoulds, oughts and musts.
Time can only run out if you are trying too hard to do too much. If you allow other peoples’ expectation of who you are and what you do and how you behave dictate how you use your days. If you allow the Fear Of Missing Out to drive you to overachieve and over-attend and over-extend until you are stretched so thin you become see-through, and all the life starts to drip out.
It. Doesn’t. Have. To. Be. Like. That.
But somedays… somedays I have to remind myself of this.
This was one of those days.
A day when I needed to remember that there is enough time.