The ‘Work trip’ and the anxious wife

Technically, I’m not his wife. Let us be honest straight away. I am, however, his life partner, his baby mama, his longest relationship blah blah blah, I raise his kids, he pays my credit card and we pretend to live happily ever after and forsake all others. The status-quo for most millennials these days.

Background information that may deem itself relevant to this particular bunch of rambling brain farts….

  1. I am probably suffering from Post Natal Depression/Anxiety/Alcoholism…long story short; I was given anti-depressants without actually receiving a diagnosis so who the fuck knows what is actually going on. Thanks NHS!
  2.  My fella is aware of this and is therefore completely aware of my irrationalities, my obsessive false thoughts that I will convince myself to be true and the fact that I become the typical ‘psycho-girlfriend’  if he gives me reason to
  3.  HE HAS GIVEN ME REASON TO….repeatedly
  4.  Every man I’ve known before and since him has lied and screwed me over.
  5.  I went from 21 year old hottie at university with 100 friends to pregnant drop-out with no one, alone in one bedroom of a shared house with illegal immigrants and drug dealers almost overnight.

So yeah, life is a wee bit confusing for me. I can’t pretend that it’s hard. My fella works his arse off with a 5 hour round trip every day so that he can earn and provide the best for us. He pays my credit card bill, he pays for my car, my phone, my JustEat account! Basically, I’m everything Destiny’s Child hated. BUT I do raise our children pretty much singlehandedly (due to his ridiculous work commitments) and cook his dinner and do his laundry. (Sorry Beyonce!)

We live on a coastal peninsula on the south coast. He has decided that the only way for us to get ahead and beat the shitty situation that most 20-30 year olds find themselves in these days is to work in London. Where we do not live. Not even close. So leaves at 5am every morning, drives for a couple of hours, walks for a while, tubes for a while, walks a bit more and then does it all over again in reverse. But he earns about 3 times what he would around here so in his mind, it’s justified and all good….because providing financially is his primary concern. I do not concur with this but my objections have proven to be futile.

So after a few of these London contracts he quit for a few months because he was worried about MY mental health. The time he took off, however, was spent working on his own solo projects and practicing for new jobs….basically on the computer telling us to be quiet for 10 hours a day.

Back to present day. His latest contract. It is, of course, in London working for Dixons/PC World fixing up their websites or something.

How do all these things relate? I hear you ask. Well, he sprung a work trip, a MANDATORY work trip to the Czech Republic, on me approximately 4 days before his flight was due to take off. Lets just recap and remind ourselves of my anxious, depressive and outright unstable mental state. He insists that he told me about this before his first interview but rest assured, there is no way in hell that I would have agreed to this.

So he leaves, I cry. I call him, he ignores. He FaceTimes the kids, ignores my evening calls. 1+1= fucking 100 in the anxious mind. In the bloody stag capital of Europe with strip clubs on every corner. He’s AWOL from 9pm every night. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Week 2 of this shit and I’m struggling. I’m drinking wine, by the bottle, every night. I try to see a Dr. about my mental health and I’m basically brushed off and told to exercise and loose weight. The kids are misbehaving and playing up because he’s not here.

And he’s still unavailable when I call. Calls me back 30 mins later with a probably plausible reason but all I can think is that he’s given himself time to get back to his hotel from wherever he didn’t want me to see.

Even as I type he says he’s out for dinner and I shouldn’t expect a call for 4/5 hours. Rationally, I know this is probably fine and normal but as soon as I feel the tightened chest of anxiety approaching and the pounding of my own heartbeat inside my head all I can think of is what does the girl he’s fucking look like? Did he pay for her? Did she come on to him? How much of our money has he blown on this night? Does he prefer me not being around? (DUH!) How long will he put up with me for? Is she better than me?

 

ARGHHHHHHHHH another sleepless night.

 

 

 

Then he’ll come home with some airport chocolates for me. He’ll answer none of my questions and we’ll pretend we’re okay again until my next break down.

 

 

 

Holy shit, I got old.

When did that happen? I’ve actually grown up and become old! Maybe it happened when I settled down in a long-term committed relationship or when I had kids? It definitely started when the student loan ended and the reality of bills and adulthood commenced.

This revelation occurred to me the other night. It was Easter Sunday and my sister-in-laws invited me out for the night. I mean ‘out out’. To the clubs. Dresses, heels, makeup, booze…that kind of out. Now, initially I was thrilled. 5 years ago I was a right little party animal and clubs were totally my scene. Fast forward to now and I barely even own any out out clothes or shoes and am asleep by 9pm most nights.

So I agreed to go and then the panic set in. What the fluff do I wear? Would I still get free entry to places? How much do drinks cost these days? And taxis? I hadn’t been to a club in 3 years and I hadn’t been to a club without my partner in over 5 years! I was actually nervous to go without him.

Anyway, after some miscommunications and lateness (never mine, of course!) I met up with the girls and made it into the club. Yes, I did get free entry, wooo! Immediately, I felt uncomfortable. Maybe it was because every other time I’d been to a club I had been pre-drinking for an hour or so first and by the time I made it there, I was merrrrry! This time, however, I was stone cold sober and feeling very old, frumpy and chubby. The other girls in there were beautiful, slim and dressed impeccably. One of the girls got the drinks in and I hoped that would help ease me somewhat.

As the drinks kept coming, I did relax somewhat but I still never really got my mojo back, so to speak. I missed my partner. I wanted the security of him. I didn’t want other guys looking at me. I didn’t want to be watched. And to be honest, I don’t think was!

It was a weird feeling actually. In my younger days (ha!) I got a fair amount of attention in clubs. I wasn’t one for hook ups or one night stands but I did enjoy free drinks and a bit of a boogie. This time, one fella bought me a drink but he got the order wrong and wondered off to puke shortly after….score! I was approached by another guy who ended up sitting down and spilling his heart to me about a recent break up he was going through because, he said, I have a kind face. That didn’t really help me get my groove back either.

I also had no patience for one of the girls who got completely wasted and started all kinds of boy-related drama. I didn’t want to hear about it, comfort her or even be near her by the end of the night.

So clubs are no longer for me. Sad times. It feels like the end of an era but also the start of a new one. I’d rather dress comfortably and slowly sip wine with my partner sat in a bar where I can actually hear my own voice.

It does feel good to know that I’m not missing out like I thought I was. Going out out isn’t what my memories were letting me believe it is. I will no longer sit at home on a Friday night feeling jealous of the people on Facebook posting their “getting ready” statuses or club bathroom selfies. I don’t want to be there anymore. It’s simply not for me and I’m ok with that.

Fuck, I think I’m a grown-up.

Hi, my name is Vonnie and I’m a wino

It’s Friday. It’s past 8 o’clock and I’m drunk. Maybe not drunk, lets go with tipsy … for now.

Friday is the one night a week that my dearest darling Richard is on overnight baby duty. Sure, I’ll still be awoken a few dozen times during the night but I won’t have to get out of the delicious warmth of my bed. Instead, I get to smugly roll back over and listen to Rich stumble over to the cot, stubbing his toe on the bed and trying not to knock over the pile of ironed clothes yet to be put away. 

Bliss.

So this is the night that I get to have a wee tipple of whatever Rosé Richard had picked up from Asda for me. (Usually it’s whichever bottle is on offer for £6 or less). 

Mum-drunk is so much different to my previous drunken experiences. I was a student directly before motherhood came knocking at my unprepared door. And when I say student, I mean student! I knew how to party. 6 nights a week out on the town in London and still never missing a lecture or assignment deadline. I was just good at life back then. Mum-drunk is a whole new world. Even when it is my night off I still can’t entirely let myself go. What if I need to be in the A&E department at 2am with one of the kids? What if Richard needs me to help him change a leaking nappy and urine soaked baby? (Almost guaranteed). Mum-drunk also involves significantly less alcohol because when you only drink once or twice a month, your body just can’t handle it as much. This is actually a blessing in disguise as those amazing student booze prices don’t exist for me anymore. Remember the days of £1 alcopops and £2.50 vodka mixers? 

Mum-drunk also involves no chance of “sleeping it off” the next day because you just know that you are getting a pre-6am wake up call from your little angels. Luckily, I’ve never had a hangover. I think I’m actually too much of a lightweight to even be able to consume anywhere close to a hangover worthy amount of alcohol. Thank you, God! 

Mum-drunk is sitting on my sofa, in the warmth of my perfectly safe house next to my more than capable partner. It’s not freezing my underdressed arse off in queues outside clubs or doing my best agony aunt impression for my just dumped girlfriend on the bathroom floor, it’s not struggling to remember which number night bus I need to get home, it’s not scraping together my last pennies with my girlfriends outside the kebab shop hoping we can afford at least a portion of chips between us. It’s not the same. 

It’s not worse. It’s not better. It’s different. And right now, I’m tipsy remember so don’t judge me, I’d rather be cold and hungry and wondering how to get home after an amazing night with some girls that I think will be in my life forever. 

‘Me’ Time

I’ve often wondered what is meant by the term ‘me time’. I know that I want it and that I don’t get enough of it but what actually is it?

I think this is it. Right here, right now. Eastenders is on, the kids are in bed, I’m tap tap tapping away on the Macbook and my partner is on his long commute home (hopefully with a bottle of wine).

How is it supposed to make me feel? When I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry, dirty nappies and snotty noses and I’m craving some me time, I expect to feel like the woman in the Herbel Essences advert… you know the one. Yes, yes, yessssss! But I don’t. I feel like I’m forgetting something. Shit, did I leave the baby in the car? Is that why it’s so quiet right now? No. Of course I didn’t. Did I forget to sign the permission slip for Bunny’s nursery trip to the farm? No, I didn’t and there’s still weeks left to do it anyway. I also feel guilty about the washing up that is still waiting to be done and the clothes that I could be ironing right now. This time doesn’t really feel very much like mine at all. I’m not relaxing or being pampered or unwinding.

I am thinking, though. Imagine that! Having time to think, to recklessly drift through the endless caverns of your mind without interruption. I haven’t really had that luxury in a long time and I was completely unaware of how much I missed it. Obviously I spend a large portion of my daily life thinking but not about anything that I actually want to. My mind is an endless list of to-do lists occasionally perforated by my children’s laughter, screams or some horrible news update that I’d rather un-see that snaps me back into the present moment. But now it’s (almost) completely tuned out of mum tasks and girlfriend responsibilities and it feels nice.

Maybe that is all I really need from my time. Time to de-mummify myself and re-humanise. Some mums like to have a candlelit bubblebath or get stuck into a good book but I think the point is to remind ourselves that we are same person we were before the kids came along. I want to feel like more than a mother during my me time. 

 

Ok, the boyfriend is home with wine! Time to snap out of me time and enter his time 😉

 

Is it enough?

Easter is approaching and as with any other gift buying event, the “is it enough?” posts have started to appear on Facebook. 

Some of the photos have 1 carefully selected luxury Easter egg. Yes that’s enough.

Other photos have a stack of 10 Easter eggs, a pile of chocolate bunnies and packets of  mini eggs. Yes, it’s enough.

Some photos are completely void of any chocolate or sweets and instead have Easter craft activities, colouring books, story books, stuffed toys and hair accessories. Yes, that is enough!

Honestly, no gifts or no chocolate would also be enough. 

What about the other 364 days a year when you feed, clothe, house, love, protect and nurture your child? That is enough. 

Whether money is tight (don’t feel bad, at least you’re not Kanye West) or you’re pretty flush, you don’t need to spoil your kids at Easter. You can set and manage their expectations of what the day will be. It’s not easy, I know, I have a three year old that is constantly being bombarded with TV adverts of ‘Buy 3 Easter eggs and get the 4th free’ and so on. I have no intention of buying 4 eggs! We went to the supermarket yesterday to get some milk and we had to walk past entire aisles of chocolate eggs, fluffy toys, Easter dinosaurs (?), Easter bath toys…every novelty Easter item you can imagine.  

“Mum, look at this!” was the soundtrack to that particular Asda visit. My reply was always “oh, that’s nice” and we moved on. She’s a good kid, thankfully, and she trotted along happily next to me to find the milk. I know in the back of her mind she’ll be hoping for some of those things. 

Now, I’m not purposely going to deprive her of Easter treats. I simply am not going to go over the top. We are doing ok financially and probably could afford to buy a few dozen eggs but that doesn’t mean we should. Next year, we might be broke and on our arses so I’m not setting my kids expectations unrealistically high.  Instead, we always try to focus on the social aspect of these kind of events. “We’re going to Nanna’s house for Easter” and “Christmas is at Grandma’s this year with all your cousins” is enough to get a squeal of delight from Bunny even though she sees them both all the time anyway. We do Spring time adventures in the park or at the beach which are simply just going for a walk and finding and writing down all the springtime things that we find. It’s basically just daffodils or daisys every time but she still has a tonne of fun. I might make a separate post later to show what I’ve decided is enough for my kiddies this Easter, in case you were wondering 😉

Enough is what you decide. It’s not even what you can afford. It’s what you want your child to have whether you can afford more or not. It’s not getting yourself into debt for one single day or to keep up appearances. Your child will not miss out by receiving slightly less novelty items. 

Enough is 365 days a year of parenting. 

Half Term Anxiety

Half Term. Spring Break. School Holidays.

Whatever you call them, I think they suck.

I, like most, start off with good intentions of being ‘Fun Mum’ and try to plan as many day trips and Pinterest worthy craft activities as possible but the reality is that by day two I’m exhausted and we haven’t made anything other than a big mess.

Truth is, I rely on the time that Bunny is at nursery to get on with laundry, vacuuming, making delicious home cooked dinners and spending one-on-one time with Beau so when she’s home with us all day every day, I struggle. I struggle to get everything done, to divide my time equally between the two of them and to maintain my sanity.

And do you know what, that’s ok. It’s ok  to not want to be with your child 24/7. It’s ok to feel relief when they’re at nursery or school for a few hours and its ok to not treasure every single moment that they’re with you. We are forever being reminded that ‘they’re only little for a short time’ and that we must ‘treasure everything’ but it’s precisely that sentiment that causes such epic guilt when we don’t. I don’t know of any mother that hasn’t hidden in the bathroom for a few minutes to herself when the little monsters are kicking off, or screamed into a pillow before returning to the kids who are having their third meltdown of the day, or secretly worked out how many days are left until the youngest turns 18 and can be packed off to university (it’s 6379, FYI).

I love spending time with my children, don’t get me wrong, they’re pretty awesome. I like going on adventures, picnics, swimming and all the usual things with them but I like doing it on the weekends. I like doing it when I have my partner around for backup. I don’t like it quite so much when they outnumber me.

Motherhood is highs and lows and I don’t like the lows! Who does? Sure, they’re necessary and mostly temporary but I don’t have to enjoy them. And neither do you! Don’t let internet memes and quotes written in beautiful curly script make you feel guilty for wanting a break. We deserve a break and, for some of us, school is the only way to get one. So bloody well hurry up and finish Easter break!

 

The Daunting First Post

So I’ve been sat here pondering what the fluff to write about first for a while now, occasionally distracted by sounds from the baby monitor, the TV or my partner who is currently “ill“. I’ve put that in inverted commas for one reason; he isn’t ill. He has a cold at worst but you know, he’s a man so naturally the world must stop turning and he must remain in bed for three days (yes, three whole days) whilst myself and the children have to tiptoe around the house trying not to wake him. Let me tell you, that is never going to happen whilst we live in a small terraced house and have a threenager with no volume control and a 6 month old who has just discovered his voice is for more than just crying. That is actually a rather adorable development in the life of a baby. The moment they attempt to replicate some kind of human language. He is constantly yabbering away with “yayayayayas” and “ahhhhhhhhhbas” and I love every second of it…because the TV has a pause button. The day will come when he’ll learn that we do not speak during Eastenders.

I always remember my own mum complaining to herself that “Mums simply don’t have time to get ill” and I rolled my ignorant teenage eyes every time. It is now yet another one of those things that I understand only since having children. Just over a year ago I was “ill” for a few weeks getting progressively worse and I had no choice but to suck it up and carry on ‘mumming’. My partner dared to call me a faker and a wimp despite being in the very early stages of my second pregnancy. He is a brave and foolish man to mess with those kind of hormones. Ultimately, I ended up in A&E at 1am and then admitted to hospital for 4 days with a heart condition, myocarditis. I’m not going to lie, I had an overwhelming smugness in my enlarged heart when the doctor announced my diagnosis in front of my partner. Faker my arse. Anyway, basically, his common cold can fluff off. I’ve even surprised myself with my lack of compassion this time but sometimes there simply isn’t enough of me left for him. Sometimes I just can’t be his partner and their mother simultaneously. I’d like to, God knows I want to, but trying to be all things to all people all of the time isn’t good for anyone, especially me.

Huh…so it turns out the first blog post was a rambling rant about the annoyance of my poorly manchild. Who would have thought it? He’s not all bad, he did forget Mothers’ Day and didn’t even write in my Valentines’ card but he does bring me home bottles of wine regularly so you know, every cloud!