Simply complicated

There is one phrase I’ve been saying a lot of over the last couple of years….. “how did life get so complicated?”

Never mind the added extras – hubby’s job insecurities and working away, miscarriages, chromosome disorders, mum’s stroke, Poppy’s coeliac – but even the bare basics of life as a mother – money moans, lack of childcare and support, planning and catering for umpteen meals a day for umpteen ages, timings and diets, school runs, 28 hours of jobs in 24 hour timeframe – life is simply, complicated.

I often wonder how my carefree days where the decisions all centred on, well, me… (what should I wear, red or white wine, which party??) ended up so crammed with conundrums and challenges created by the responsibilities of the lives of other people. I look at my girls and wistfully wonder at their frivilous freedom. Pulled back and restained by the few obligations in their little lives – teatime, bedtime and school /playschool – they shout “can we play?” at every opportunity of freedom, their battlecry of life as a child.

But recently I’ve realised the grass isn’t greener, it’s just a different shade. My little 5 year old daughter Daisy was forced into the position of older sister by two giddy siblings and the responsibilities and expectations that hang on that mantle are… simply complicated.

Since last September when she was just about to turn five, she got a new sister, her nanna was struck down with a devastating stroke, her mum dived into a dark remote place, she started school, her other sister went through tests and got lots of attention to diagnose ceoliac and now has ‘special’ food, her other sister sucks the air from her parents, ill, young and needy. Quite a lot for little shoulders. On top of that, recently, she’s had trouble at school – a little bit of bullying that has made her retreat into herself, battering that wall I’ve built up to protect her, dashing that confidence I have tried so hard to instill, clouding over that sunshine that eminates from her. Schoolyard socialising can be a dynamite place. How do I teach her to stand up for herself while being the good person? How do I not put too much responsibility on her when I need so much help? How do I protect her and guide her and teach her to cope? How do I help her make her complicated life simple?

But, like so many things in life that I have been taught by my children, she is teaching me again. She is teaching me to smile through it all, to take the complications on the chin and to seek the one thing that gets us through it all – family. At times like this, we turn to the ones that know us inside out. We stop trying to think outside the box for once, and get right back inside that box where it’s safe and secure. Simply? We uncomplicate things whenever we can.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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4 Responses to Simply complicated

  1. Really know how you feel when you talk about life being complicated – had one of the most difficult years myself with nothing but worry and insecurity. I thought life was meant to get easier as you got older but ubfortunately not. Hubby's business has not picked up at all. I'm struggling in my new job. Teenage tantrums at home . . .
    Hope the situation with Daisy gets sorted but it's an agony for you if they're not happy. Hopefully it will all uncomplicate itself xx

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  2. Oh sweet little Daisy, that makes my heart ache to think of her getting bullied. It is such a tough time for us parents as we navigate through not only our 'own' problems… but the problems of our little ones. The bullying thing worries me. I don't want my boys to be involved in any of it, either being a bully or being bullied. I fear that won't be the case though. Most children deal with this scenario at least once in their lives.
    You're absolutely right though, all we can do is offer plenty of support and a happy, safe home and hope it will pass quickly.
    Life is complicated and I often think of the time before we had children and recall having so many people say to me “once you have kids you won't even remember a time without them”. This is true for the most part. I guess every stage has it's complications. You have been through the wringer though my love. Hope you have a good week xo

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  3. cath c says:

    once again, a beautiful post. welcome to the school age years, you'll help her to negotiate the bullying and so many other things. there have been times in my life, i leaned on my oldest for a lot of help. it happens. it makes them stronger, too, so don't worry so much, she'll understand the parts of her childhood when you needed a little more and she could give it. don;t worry so much about her. she'll turn out alright, having gone through all of this.

    i watch my oldest at 16, and see how easily he is helpful to others, and seeks justice for underdogs, etc. i couldn't have asked him to turn out better than he has.

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  4. Caz says:

    I have had these thoughts too. How did it all get so complicated and why didn't I enjoy it more when it was simple. (I guess I just didn't realise it was simple back then.) The irony of life. I like the way you can still take time out to see it through your daughter's eyes – that is what makes for very good parenting. I hope the playgroud politics have improved. Such a horrible thing for little people to deal with. Caz

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