Thank you again to everyone who has been reading these posts (Part I & Part II). I know they are personal, and as one of my lovely Twitter friends said yesterday, she felt like she was reading my private diaries. In a way you are. The difference is I want to share it with you.
I wish, when I was going through this ten years ago, there were places like the blogosphere where I could come to read about others who were sharing a similar journey. That would have been so helpful and healing for me. Unfortunately there wasn’t much available. There were chat rooms and forums, but the internet was fairly new back then, dial up was slow and the technology was clunky.
When I found my diary and various emails, notes and writings from that part of my life I felt compelled to share them with you. I have shared many posts about my boys and how we are navigating through the teenage years now. To get a sense of who we really are, I feel it is important to know where we’ve come from.
We all have stories. Some of us have stories that are so different and some of us have stories that are so similar it feels like we are reading about ourselves. The simple gift of reading about someone who has been or is going through the same thing as me always gives me strength and hope. Just knowing that I am not alone is sometimes all that is needed to get me through a bad day.
If my posts over the last 3 days have helped one person feel a bit better about what they are going through, then I know for sure my blogging has a purpose. Some people don’t get blogging. I do.
All my children have now is a fragmented life. In ten months they have gone from a secure family to a world where they spend half their time in one world and half their time in another. Unfortunately the two worlds are polar opposites. I know in time this will be good for them, however right now they can’t see this.
The hardest part about loving is hurt. Unfortunately you can’t love someone without opening yourself up to the chance of being hurt. That sucks.
I am going to have to find some strength from within and try so hard to deal with this. I am going to have to change my expectations with the kids. Naively I expected they would go from home to home with relative ease. I thought if they knew we loved them they would cope ok and we would settle into an easy routine. Unfortunately children don’t always react how we plan. As adults I think we forget that our children are individuals and we have no control over their thoughts. I know I have. My sense of family is very limited and I don’t place the importance on it that I should. That is not the case with my boys. A sense of family is all they have ever had. I’ve now destroyed that.
I need to come to terms with the fact that I’ve lost part of my children. I need to grieve for them when they are not with me. I need to move forward so they can cope with me. I’m expecting too much from them and I’m not giving them enough.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been the kind of mum that gives her whole being to her children. I thought I was, but now I don’t know. I don’t know anything. During my “lost” period 1992-1998 I may have appeared to throw myself into motherhood, however if I really dig deep, I think I was throwing myself into a non-existence. I performed the mechanics of motherhood, but my heart and soul wasn’t into it.
I was searching the whole time, but not knowing what I was looking for. I was unhappy and alone. I was scared. I had no self esteem. I felt so unloved, even by myself. I hated what I’d become. I don’t even think I was a good mum throughout those 6 years when my babies were little. Some days I hated getting up. I hated everyone wanting something from me. There was no one giving me anything back. No one to pat me on the back and tell me I was doing a good job. No one to build up my confidence. No one to hug me and tell me it will get easier. I can look back at everything now and see where things went wrong. How much damage have I caused my kids by being so self absorbed? Did they sense I hated being a mum sometimes? Did they feel my detachment?
I don’t think I hate being a mum, but I do hate the loss of self that seems to come with it. Even now, when I’ve grown so much emotionally I don’t embrace motherhood with a happy heart and I wonder if I ever will? I thought being a mother would solve all my issues. Wrong. At least I have learned that something or someone won’t make me happy. Only I can do this. This in itself is a valuable lesson. Now that I am alone, I am able to sort through these things and get some clarity. For this I am so grateful.
I know in my heart that I love my boys and that part of the reason I haven’t enjoyed motherhood is because of the uncaring nature of my marriage. The lack of support. I felt like I was doing this alone. Perhaps if my husband was supportive it might have been a better experience? My expectations weren’t met. I can’t dwell on the past because what’s done is done. It isn’t helpful to dwell. I’ve looked back and worked out why, now I need to go forward and change things.
I need to start again with my boys. The past ten months has been so shaky and emotional however that doesn’t mean the way forward has to be the same. I am scared about seeing my boys again next week. Last week with them was so hard and I was such a bad mother. I also miss them like crazy. My heart aches to hold them again. I needed this space to reach inside and deal with these issues. I’m not done, but I do have a starting point.
Next week I must remember to:
- give them space
- not have unrealistic expectations of how they should behave towards me
- not expect the same relationship and love we had before I turned their world on its head
- expect at times they won’t want to be with me – learn not to take it personally
- relax and let them set the scene
I want to go home now. I want my boys. I want to kiss them and hold them. I want to wake up in the morning and find they have crept into my bed.
That week in Sydney was a turning point for me and for the kids. Things didn’t instantly change, but I was able to understand why things were happening they way they were. My kids didn’t hate me, they were confused and I was forcing them to be the same as they used to be. I was wrong. They could never be the same again. Just like I couldn’t be.
After reading my diary from that week away, and almost feeling the pain again, I am proud of how we have all turned out. It wasn’t easy. I made mistakes. I still do. However, when I was able to let go and love my kids without placing unrealistic expectations on them, my whole world changed. I have a very loving relationship with my boys and believe that we have grown together. I learnt love and how to be a family alongside them. We taught each other. That has been special.
(If you haven’t read my blog before you might like to read How Red Shoes Taught me About Love which shows where I’ve come from and Eighteen Years Ago Today to see the relationship I now have with my boys.)