23 March 2011
honest to blog
I enjoy blogging. I do. I like looking back at the record of our days. I like remembering the good bits and sometimes the hard bits. Writing it down helps me work out where we're at and stop and think about what and why we do what we do. I feel like sometimes though it seems a little more glossy than it really is. Some days are really challenging and just because I don't blog them, doesn't mean that they don't happen.
All day I work with the dynamics of children who challenge me mentally combined with a baby who needs me physically. They are all equally needy in their own ways and there is seldom time for anything I might like to do. But I've always been good at making things look easy. Coping and being capable, even when I'm struggling... just a little. Just like so many women I know.
Then there are those times where everything is going beautifully, flowing easily, the children are smiling and look relatively neat and tidy and creativity seems abundant and it's like... a blog post. Those days make you feel like it's all ok and you are heading the right way. They make the choices we make all worthwhile. I'm also aware that I tend not to blog the hard stuff to protect what we have. For the same reason that I find it difficult to ask for help. Sometimes I just don't want to whinge about my stuff when really, it's ok. And so people don't ask. They figure they've seen the blog and they know what we've been up to, we're all good, and that puts me on the back foot somewhat. Other times I do have a whinge and people try to offer a supportive ear by pointing out that I've chosen the harder path. Whether I agree or not is beside the point. They tell me their kids are in school and they have ALL DAY alone and that's awesome. Or that breast feeding or co-sleeping or carrying a 2yo is just asking for back pain...
Thing is, it's not all that helpful. If a friend is having a whinge about the school run, I'm unlikely to say "oh well, you have chosen to take them there and make your day all difficult and stuff". In fact, they are unlikely to hear that from anyone, but rather they'd just encounter empathy. Maybe someone offering to help them out on occasion... I often feel like I have to defend the choices we've made for our family by making it look good. By coping.
I'd like to let y'all know that it's not all cups of tea and biscuits and craft and skipping through the botanical gardens everyday. If you see me looking bemused, or overwhelmed or frazzled and I happen to mention I'm tired, a supportive approach would be a sympathetic nod. Ah yes, one of those days. You have them too, right? If you can, maybe some practical support could be offered. Most of our family is far away, so practical support is not something we have in abundance. Like so many families I know who have long days and many owlets to feed, schooled or not. They could all do with a hand occasionally. In my utopia we all look out for each other and offer a hand so that bad days are bearable. It takes a village and all that... So in the interests of bloggy honesty, I'm going to let you in on it from time to time, if I can. But promise not to question my choices. Respect them and that I'm happy with where I'm at. So happy. Remember that 75% of the time, life is peachy and we are all happily doing our thing, and that some days (or weeks) are just harder than others. Just cos.
Ways you can offer practical support to a friend or relative having a rough day...
Make them a cup of tea.
Do the dishes.
Hold the baby while they stretch their arms.
Take their older children for a walk so they can nap or work or sit in silence.
Entertain their children while they go for a walk. Bring an afternoon/morning tea treat with you and make sure you tidy up after.
Help them spend one on one time with one of their other children by entertaining the other/s.
Help out by taking children to or from afternoon activities. Grab some shopping on your way.
Drop off some colouring books for some quiet time.
Cook them a meal and invite them over, or leave it on the doorstep for them to reheat.