Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Unfulfilled Parent

"Alright while I'll get the early train home so I can be back. No it's OK. It's fine"

"No I'll leave it. I can't."

"Nah. I'm not bothered."

I say these things all the time. I turn down things I want to do. I leave events early. I don't have 'stuff' anymore. 

As a parent, do you sometimes feel unfulfilled? Or am I being a selfish cow?First thing is first before you all throw the book at me for being an ungrateful bitch. I love my children. I adore them. I have been a mother for eleven years and I wouldn't have it any other way. But just sometimes, I stop and think - do I have to give up everything that I want to do? When did all this become the norm?

Because it is.

I am not the main earner in the household. I work part time around the children. The free time that I have is automatically spent with the children. That is THE RULE. I don't actually have any time to myself, and if I do, it is carefully considered and worked around everyone else.

So when do I get some time? 

I think about that one time I had a cervical smear test - that was ten minutes of freedom, I'll tell you. The time I went to the walk-in dentist in agony with my tooth - two hours alone with my thoughts.

Once a month I lock myself away for three hours and write my essays for uni. It's torture and my time at the same time.

Is it wrong that I just need a break? I don't want all my leisure time to be spent pushing the babies on the swings in the park, being head-pecked in soft play or dancing to Black Lace. 

All in all. It's fine. I just get on with it. I made my decisions to have babies, to do a degree and I have to work to earn money - we couldn't get by without it. 

I'd be lying if I said that my role as a mother fulfilled me. It doesn't. There needs to be some balance - some semblance of a life that doesn't involve them, not just after 8pm when I'm too shattered to bother.

If that's selfish, I don't really care. It's how I feel, so that's that.

Do I have to book 'extra' cervical smear tests in to get some time alone? The time alone was great but the whole scraping issue was a bit inconvenient to be honest.

*bangs head against wall*





18 comments:

  1. Not selfish - completely fair enough and everyone needs some time off. I think you should SAY you have booked a cervical smear, but actually go for a coffee. No scraping + alone time + CAFFIENE = perfect!

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  2. God no not selfish - completely and utterly normal - although i think you need a spa day and not another smear ;)
    If i win the lottery i promise to come and swoop you away for cocktails and massages xxx
    p.s um lovely pic there :-/

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  3. I just don't buy it when you say you don't want to spend all your spare time dancing to Black Lace...
    All very very true and not at all selfish. I definitely need something for me that isn't just gynaecological tests. Take some time, I order it! Xx

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  4. I think you need a break. We all need a break every so often when the norm gets boring, monotonous and just a bit... meh. x

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  5. Do you know what? I've spent 14 years devoting my days to my children and even without the added pressures of work like you have I still need a break sometimes. So you are normal, not selfish, OK? xx

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  6. Absolutely not selfish. I will simply die if I have to spend the next 18 years with one child or another glued to me. It doesn't mean we don't live them dearly, It means we are human! x

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  7. Totally agree been a mother 20 years my hubby works 70 hours a week more because he enjoys what he does than he earns good money.I work 18 hours but its up to me to get kids to brownies and preschool youth club and do parents evening and .do cleaning and cooking I've not had a night out with girls for 12years and date night I dread its just something else to schedule in shave legs put makeup on and make conversation and book babysitter as older kids work late.just wish I could have a reading room

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  8. Good god this is so true. Well written too. I wrote a not so passionate but from the same place post today! http://thebristolparent.com/2014/11/time-meh-time-like/ and I second everybody else - you are completely normal, and very very awesome for attempting study at the same time as work and motherhood!

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  9. What's wrong with being selfish? My attitude to parenting is that if you don't look after your own needs first, you won't be in the best state to look after your kid's needs. Don't be afraid to teach your kids the importance of having some space (we started with this around age 2), both for them and you, and learning to entertain themselves. Even sticking them in front of the telly is allowed now and again, you know. Being bored is good for their creativity.

    As for events? No, I refuse to go to all the kiddie crap (the local soft play is ok now and again because I can read a book for a while). That includes birthday parties for every kid in the year. We'll go to a few, but I have better things to do with my weekend than watch a bunch of children stuff themselves with sweets, go mental and spend the next 2 hours crying.

    I really enjoy spending time with kids, but it's on my terms. That means we go to nice restaurants, not crappy places which are "kid friendly", and they know they need to behave, or they don't get brought along next time.

    I love my kids dearly, but they aren't the centre of my universe. They have to fit around us, not the other way around. They seem to be doing ok so far.

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    1. I completely agree with you. I am a devoted mother but also devoted to husband, friends, reading novels, and the need for space - it's about balance. My kids know I have a life beyond them, they know they are very loved but so are my friends and I need to spend time with friends too. Having a partner who has the same outlook is so important, and I genuinely believe the children are more emotionally healthy and resilient when they know there is more to their parents than just being "mummy and daddy". Conversely, my mum gave up work, friends and all her identity to embrace the role of " mum" and I definitely don't think she was fulfilled, she has many regrets, hence my determination to not repeat that mistake.

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  10. I love you Kerrie! That is exactly how I feel when I have an appointment that no one can quibble with. Not even my husband. I really love spending time with my children - but that shouldn't count as my quota of leisure time for the week. x

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  11. Doesn't blogging and twittering on the loo count as quality Me Time, then?

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  12. Completely concur! It's when you fantasise about being hospitalised (only for a few days, and nothing serious - obvs!) just so you can have meals cooked for you and lie about reading books that you realise you need a break!!

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    1. This happened to me - last year I was in hospital for 3 days with "a grumbling appendix". It was joy. I read two books and slept like a log!

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  13. Not selfish, just good for your own mental health.

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  14. No not selfish. I have three kids and if I ever want to do anything with them I have to arrange wayyyy in advance. For example my anniversary is in Feb next year and I am having to arrange it now. If I ever want to arrange any longer baby sitting for my kids I am usually met by my parents with 'well we managed'. or 'take the kids with you!!!!' or 'well you decided to have kids' usually all followed by 'hahahaha' , and while those things may be true and designed to punish me in some parental warped sense of justice for my behaviour as a child I DON'T believe I am selfish for wanting a night off now and again and I REALLY do mean now and again...almost non existent. So no you are not selfish just normal for wanting to hold on to some identity as a person outside of motherhood. IF that is supposed to be selfish then there is something very wrong with the world.

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  15. Brilliant post as usual - how do you know what I'm thinking? I will admit to enjoying queuing when solo, just for the peace and quiet! I believe that with every baby you have, you should get 2 days free admittance into a hospital for recuperation 2 months afterwards. Thats when tiredness and that overwhelming feeling of never being alone really hits!

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  16. This is such a well timed post for me. Currently my "me" time is during the few hours of uninterrupted sleep I get a night between my menopausal sweats and my two year old crawling into bed with me. I'm rebuilding our house whilst living in a shoe box temporarily and caring for my recently bereaved MIL who has Alzheimer's plus two children who have more needs than most because of their start in life. I'm desperate for some time alone. I adore my children but currently I feel suffocated by all the demands on me. One day I'll get the facial my hubby bought me in May. Glass of wine anyone?

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