As usual on this fine saturday night I am at home with my kids. I had the day off but have spent it doing absolutely nothing after the frantic week I had. I am sitting looking at the screen of my computer watching for a flicker of hope on facebook. A glimmer of a conversation that might be had from this virtual world that drags me out of the realms of my living room. I had a night out two weeks ago and this will have to sustain me for some time because money is running low and it is coming up to school uniform replacement time. It is my daughters birthday next week too so I really need to budget to buy her a pressie.
The use of social networks is a double edged sword to a single mother. It can be a lifeline to sanity when the kids are playing up – where I can get some adult conversation and maybe some entertainment but it also seems very lonely on nights like tonight when no-one is around for a chat and a lot of time can be wasted waiting. It is also a link into the world of my two grown up daughters who are my facebook friends. It allows me to chat to them, see how their lives are going and bridges the distance between where we live. I can’t see my grandkids everyday but most days there is a new picture of one or both of them for me to see.
I miss my daughters, I miss the laughs and the conversation. I still have three kids at home but it is a lot quieter without them. I still need to find something to bridge that gulf – to stop the loneliness I feel without them here. The constant noise of having all five of my kids at home was a comfort to me. I knew where they all were and knew that they were safe. It also however stopped me from thinking about myself. What do I want out of life? Now I have loads of time on my own, time to think, time to reflect. I have actually had to relearn who I am and what I want out of my life.
I am still learning that it is okay to want things for myself. I am still learning how to take my opinion into account instead of putting everyone else first. I am still learning that I am important. I am still learning.
So far I have learned:
1. That life without writing is a life half lived. Everyday I have a story that needs to be told.
2. That life without a little me time – is stressed and leaves me tired and harrasssed.
3. I have learned that I am going to be okay on my own no matter what.
4. I have learned that I am a good person.
5. I have learned that I am interested in everything.
6. I have learned exactly what is precious to me – my kids, family, writing, music and staying true to myself.
7. I have learned that I am an incredibly strong person.
8. I have learned that I have loads of skills and qualities that make me special.
I constantly need to remind myself of these things because it is an alien concept for me to spend time on me. I forget why I am me sometimes. The drama that surrounds raising five kids sometimes becomes all consuming and I am the last to get any attention. For about three years I was sleeping for less than four hours a night because I was stressed and worried. I have had to retrain myself to get into a routine that allows me enough rest time.
I think I am making good progress even though I need a wee reminder now and again.