Coming clean and getting dirty…

I can see from the long lost date of my last blog that the effects of my trip are still working! In fact, I’ve become so laid back this last while, my horribly kitsh, beautifuly snuggly purple cheneille dressing gown has become like a second skin. I’ve done more arts and crafts with the girls in the last month than I have in a year, and I survived Christmas, 4 different sets of visitors, a baking bonanza and various family ailments with barely a wimper.

Time to come clean. Last April I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. I’d always been a half-full glass sort of girl – every problem just needed a solution. But my life was in such a mess it wasn’t that I suddenly saw the glass as half-empty – I couldn’t see the glass at all. The fog in my brain, the grief I was feeling, the helplessness that was drowning me meant at times I could not see how I would make it to the end of the minute, never mind the hour, never mind the day. One day I might write about it more… but the place I went to still frightens me.
Time to come clean. I have found Ruby the hardest baby of all. I have found Ruby unbearable at times. I have been reduced to tears and tantrums and sheer screaming by her exhuberance and willpower.
Time to come clean. The last year I have had to learn to love my mum again. I have grieved for the one I had, and have had to learn to embrace the shadow she has become since her stroke. Despite seeing her as much as I could, I would cry on the drive up with the reluctance I felt. I would have to walk into another room and literally scream into a cushion, before arranging my face and walking back to her lying in her bed.
The last year has been the toughest struggle of my life just to survive. Just to get to the end of it. But slowly, slowly, I am recovering. I am gaining strength. I have found my mojo.
I no longer dread my mum; I can’t wait to see her and tell her all the news.
I no longer hide from my girls in the bathroom; I put everything else aside and play with them.
I no longer wince when Ruby cries and holds her arms up to be held; I swoop her up and make her giggle.

I’ve had to make some decisions for the sake of my mental health – and therefore the sake of my family. I buried the superwoman aspiration. I cremated the yummy mummy goal. I sucked the spotless house ambition up the hoover.

I haven’t written a blog in 3 weeks because, well, other things were happening. And you know what? The world didn’t fall apart. I didn’t write a thing for three weeks in fact and you know what? I had a freezer full of prepared food for Christmas and guests and I spent the time with them and the kids instead of missing all the fun. I prioritised. I took breaks. The other morning, I put Ruby back down to sleep, the girls in front of the telly, and I went back to bed with my book and a cup of tea. I decided it was my Christmas holiday too. And you know what? The parenting police didn’t come and lock me up. The gremlin on my shoulder who usually tells me I have no right to rest was asleep. I went back to bed and read my book. I didn’t write my blog. I didn’t make lists. I didn’t bake, and most of all, I didn’t clean. There is dust in places there shoudn’t be. And you know what? I’m happier for it.
So, I’ve come clean, and the house is going to get dirtier.
Happy new year!

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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3 Responses to Coming clean and getting dirty…

  1. vegemitevix says:

    Oh hun, what a hell of a time for you. All my love and hugs and strength coming your way! But look how far you've come! Look how much better you are now, you have done remarkably well and I think that makes you a supermum. Fighting depression is one of the hardest fights I've ever had, so I completely believe that you are a survivor being able to say you've moved forwards. Oh and by the way, I was always told raising kids in a less than perfectly clean house was excellent for them as it builds their immunune system. We all need to learn how to cope with a little grit in our lives. Kia Kaha Mummy Mania (Maori- for Keep strong!) Vix xx

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  2. cath c says:

    you've been very open about what a tough year it was for you since your mother's stroke. I'm glad to hear the fog is clearing and you are forgiving yourself for the things we moms are hardest on ourselves about. you can certainly take a break and read a book with some tea. you deserve it.

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  3. You are so awesome Alana! I am so glad I have finally caught up on this post, I would normally not miss a single post of yours, but with Christmas and our holiday and my big boy turning 4, the past few weeks have been quite manic.
    I love this post, the raw honesty, the positivity, the acceptance and belief in yourself and what you do, it's all so refreshing. And it makes me feel good to think that those things we beat ourselves up over, are just that, things! They're not life threatening or even life altering, they're just stuff. At the end of the day, if everyone is safe and loved and fed, who cares about the rest :o) xo

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