Queensland is struggling. I’m struggling. I feel like my Dad’s shed there in the picture: wrecked. In the aftermath of the Queensland floods, our family were stranded for a week in Toowoomba. After staying at five different places we made it to Brisbane and (half) moved into our new place with our first water damaged container (the second container would be found safe in Brisbane 4 days later). The day we moved in, my husband left to work interstate for a week. Ever since, I’ve been packing in, putting furniture together, moving furniture around, battling the flu, getting used to a new place , enrolling my children into school and dragging four children to the shops each day for groceries, uniforms, shoes, socks, books and other items like pillows I needed to replace due to flood damage. But – hello – I’m not SuperMum. Introducing FeralMum. And FeralKids! We are all feral. The kids are incredibly unsettled and I’m beyond myself. I don’t know how to get through weeks like this when I’m stretched beyond my limit; yet I have so much to do.
You see, the kids need me. They need me for stability and strength. They need me for comfort and support. Picture this: a little girl puts her arm around a little boy and is crying as she says, “We haven’t got a Mummy anymore; she ‘ s been lost in the flood.” I wasn’t lost, I was packing in the house but in her little mind, I wasn’t there. I was lost. My kids need to be with me right now but I don’t have anything left to give or time to give it. I pray every day, asking for patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. And Strength. Lord, give me patience and strength. And that’s all I can do.
I’ve been running around and dragging the kids with me. I’m angry, impatient, unreasonable, stressed, emotional, and distant. I wonder: Am I wrecking the kids? Is our family wrecked? Just like the shed? The children’s behaviour is shocking (so is mine), and I have pressure from some and frowns from others because of it. It’s been a very usual and stressful last few weeks and my family is struggling. This is NOT the time to focus on behaviour. Rather, I want to concentrate on getting my family back to a place where we can function again. That is my goal right now. The kids need to be with me so somehow I’ll make it work. And right now, I need to give my children an extra inch…or even a mile. I need that too.
I don’t feel alone – I have support – just the burden of responsibility and time pressures I can’t make. I know, many are worse off but right now, this is my reality and I’m struggling. I still feel incredibly blessed and fortunate…that hasn’t changed. It just sometimes I feel stretched so thin, and I think I might break. And then, God sends little encouragements like balm on parched skin.
A phone call from Renee (Professional Parents) making me feel welcome in Brisbane
Knowing my friend Robyn is praying for me
A meal from my Mother-in-law
An Aunty’s help for an afternoon
Messages from Facebook friends
Kind understanding from the team at nuffnang, Ben from Mooo and Rebecca from Alphabet Soup Magazine
Encouraging tweets from @_boobook_, @RoamingMumAl, @ksphotoblog, @KarenCollum, @MyLittleDrummer, @fifi_labelle1 and @icklekids
Talking to my sisters on the phone
A visit from my Grandparents, my Dad and his wife
Reading SquiggleMum’s post about children making sense of the world through play and later, watching through the window at my children playing “storms” in a tree
People. People make a difference and it’s a beautiful thing. Little things. Little things are big things. They really are.
Acceptance: Right now, I’m not okay. But I know, someday soon, I will be.
Acceptance: Right now family life is in shambles. But I know, someday soon, we’ll be smiling again.
Is Queensland wrecked? Is our family wrecked? No. Queensland will rebuild through determination and unity. I can rebuild my family because the foundations are strong. Then I wonder: How can you rebuild through loss of life? I don’t think you can. Heal, yes. Rebuild, no. Some have lost something irreplaceable in the Queensland floods: a loved one. Thinking about their pain makes me miss my Mum even more. I always miss her but at times like this, I need my Mum. It just hurts. But reality kicks in and I keep putting one foot in front of another.
I’ll leave you a before/after picture of my Dad’s home. I was married there. The force of the water ripped off the walkway. Such incredible force. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of good yards to tell my grandkids. HA! Here I am struggling to get through each day and I’m talking about grandchildren! Don’t you just love it? The paradox. See? I’ll be back to my normal crazy self in no time…
Keep on Keeping on.
Other Be A Fun Mum Links
Queensland Floods: One Family’s Story
Why Is There So Much Rain In Brisbane
JadeJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:33 am
I love you Kell.
DorothyJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:40 am
You will get through this. Can you stop running around for just one day and spend time with your kids? Is what you are doing urgent AND important? Will one day make a difference?
On the other hand, being a sole parent, I am learning to accept that I simply cannot be there for my kids as much as they want me to. Whether they like it or not, they need to become more self-reliant, more reliant on each other. I can’t spend a lot of time with them, as I work full-time to pay the bills, but I am learning to think that whatever time I do spend with them is better than none.
Don’t beat yourself up…. Look after yourself first, so you can be there for your kids when you can….
TrishJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:44 am
I am hearing u – u sound exhausted…well that is what i am hearing…Sounds like u need to just sit and relax but obviously u can’t so much to do…Is any of Matt’s sisters available to mind the kids for u so u can get some jobs done quickly…one arvo won’t hurt the kids so u can get some things done…sorry if i lived in Brissy I would have loved to come help u in any way i could…even just covering books or something to help u…
It is funny I am reading all this (feeling stressed for u as i do read all this) but know in my heart u will struggle through as u have a lot of strength and support and u always manage to keep afloat!!! I admire that in u!!!!
I know what u mean about your Mum…i didn’t really hurt as much not having a mother for a lot of my childhood years but it does hurt me know – no one to turn to for guidance or support – just wanting a hug and unconditional love from your Mum…yes …Hugs….(she is watching u but just from above) …
So sorry about your water damaged belongings and your Dad’s wrecked place too- so sad to hear. I wish i had something i could send to u to help u…
Thinking of u all Kelly…If there is anything i can do for u please let me know…I realise i am a bit far away though….Hugs Trish
Yolande SellwoodJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:44 am
Hi Kel, Thankyou for your honest and revealing post. I am so sorry for your loss, for your Dad’s and your sisters’. You are all going through an incredibly difficult time and I admire you for your strength and courage. God never promised life was going to be a breeze and often it is quite the opposite. You are doing your absolute best and I don’t know many who would be happy and cheery after all you have been through. Moving house is up there with one of life’s most stressful, add to that, loss of property and husband (all-be-it temporarily), and having to get the kids ready for school, and having been through a fairly traumatic event. Sometimes life does not feel “happy, good, right” but I think that God wants us to cling to Him even then. I’m praying for you Kel and would love to help if there is anything I could do. Love Yo.
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Ruth BrouwerJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:06 am
You ARE amazing. Throughout all of this…you have never been far from my thoughts and prayers.
Peace MitchellJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:07 am
Sending love Kelly xxx
KatherineJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:14 am
Sending so much love to you Kelly.
Again, if there is anything that you need: ie; a shoebox of love, send me your address.
AlissaJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:17 am
Kelly, this is why I read your blog. You are so REAL and HONEST and HUMAN. Thank you for telling it how it is, warts and all. No matter how blessed we are, there are times in all our lives when we are stretched and struggling. It’s what you do in those difficult times that separates the wise from those who need it. Kelly, you are wise. You can identify where you are at and you know the only One in which to go for the help you need. He will sustain you and bring you through. Trust Him. It might be a slow and painful journey, but He is faithful.
KirstyJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:26 am
Lots of love here … I’ve been waiting for an update and sorry to hear that you have been struggling so much. Hang in there, even the best mums are feral mums from time to time. Your kids love you and that won’t stop because of a few bad weeks!
RobynJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:37 am
You’ve got such a great perspective. Ignore anybody who isn’t cutting you or your kids some slack at the moment…if they are critical then their opinion just isn’t important at the moment. You do WHATEVER you need to do for your kids and yourself to get through things right now. I so wish I could be there to help you somehow. In the meantime I’m praying. At some point could you email your new address please?
BookChookJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:37 am
What I am hearing is that Kel is back! Back to tell us times are tough right now but she is on the way to making a new home. Back to tell us she is still listening to her kids and trying to be there for them. Back to tell us she is concentrating on survival for a while. And that’s how it has to be.
Sending you good vibes and heartfelt hugs!
melissa@vidastyleJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:39 am
Sorry to hear you are struggling, Have said a little prayer for you and your family. Please know we are thinking and praying for you and all the others affected by this terrible disaster.
CharissaJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:39 am
I read your post on my twitter feed and I just want to say that was such a beautiful and honest post – my heart goes out to you – it no doubt encapsulates what numerous families are thinking and feeling right now. My day job is with a government parenting resource and there was an article in there about supporting children and helping them make sense of tragedy and trauma when disaster happens. I hope it is helpful to you.
NicoleJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:39 am
Hold onto the hem of His garment Kell. God will lead you thorugh this difficult time. Often it is our heart that is in need of more repair than what is going on around us. That is where he is doing His work. We love you. Please call me and I can come and help anytime.
WendyJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:50 am
We are all thinking of you Kel, if you need anything just call
TrishJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:59 am
You have beautiful kind friends here Kelly…just reading all their messages…brings a tear to my eye…so very grateful u have such loving caring friends to help u through this trying time…
Hugs…Thinking of u all…(as my previous post)
SquiggleMumJanuary 21, 2011 at 11:00 am
Praying for strength and patience for you too Kell. Thank you for writing this raw post about where you are at. Lean on your friends and family as much as you can, and lean on God always.
I’m northside. Where are you now that you’re in Brissy?
Nicole GrantJanuary 21, 2011 at 11:46 am
I don’t know what else to say Kell, but I’m thinking of you. I have felt a bit lost too over the past few weeks for different reasons, but one day I woke up and everything just felt ok again. I know this day will come for you too.
AnnetteJanuary 21, 2011 at 11:51 am
Kelly I am praying and thinking of you all at this difficult time.
Rebecca NewmanJanuary 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm
Hang in there, Kel. xx
TrishJanuary 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm
P.s meant to also say how much i love that pic of your kids and the one in the tree haaaaaaaaaa – i remember days like that when i was a kid – dont think my daughter has ever climbed a tree in her life…
Beautiful pics…where u got married was sooooo nice too…
DebbieJanuary 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm
The last 2 weeks have been very surreal to say the least (the flood devastation is just a couple of streets away from us) – and you were caught up in the midst of it. Don’t beat yourself up about being tired/cranky/feral….just think how many stress factors you have endured over the last couple of weeks. Your family know that you still love them. And while some things have changed, the solid foundation of your faith and family remain.
I hope you can find some time to just ‘be’ and not worry about things for a little while.
NaomiJanuary 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm
seriously Kelly, you should have given me a call – could have picked up your kids and they could have played at my house for the day whilst you took some time out to get your family and house in order. Keep up the great work – keep moving forward at a slow pace and you will get there, take time to deal with the emotions and follow your own love your moment challenge and you and the kids will be jsut fine. you are in my prayers. naomi x
Ickle kidsJanuary 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm
Kel – you have every right to be feral and so do your kids at the moment. You’ve been through such a lot, so pls don’t give yourself such a hard time.
You’re a strong woman, a wonderful Mum, and a caring wife – remember that. Our prayers are with you. If there is anything we can do, pls let us know x
Big hugs and big kisses. Wish I was up there to give you a big hug in person x
PhilippaJanuary 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm
Big Hugs Kelly xxx
SheriJanuary 22, 2011 at 6:32 am
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the story/poem “Footprints In The Sand”, but right now you are seeing only one set of footprints, and they aren’t yours. Praying for you while God carries you…
Kylee PaulissenJanuary 22, 2011 at 7:06 am
Oh sweet Kell, thank you for your honesty.
I am so sorry that you are having to endure feelings from the ‘yucky’ end of the scale at the moment, but know that just by owning & acknowledging them you are creating a wonderful opportunity to heal.
You can not possibly undo the stable, consistent, loving job you do as a mum with a few less than stellar weeks. You are giving your children a gift of reality; to know that Mums need to be taken care of every now and again; that Mums get angry, overwhelmed & feel pain too. I believe thats more than ok as long as you keep the lines of communication open and give the kids an apology if you think they deserve one. (Unfortunately I divorced when my kids were just the precious ages of 2 & 3. I vowed – like you – to be a good, strong, loving , honest & fair role model. That meant in an age appropriate way of saying ‘I’m sorry’ to them if I’d yelled because I was stressed about maybe missing a mortgage payment or being lonely, frustrated & angry at life in general. My kids are 15 & 16 now – and amazingly sensitive, well adjusted, thoughtful souls – and my son turned around in the middle of a tiff he & I were having & said “thank you Mum for being sorry…you are one of the only adults I know who admits when they’ve done something wrong (whether that be raise my voice, say something mean I shouldn’t have or just fly off the handle forwhatever reason) and has the decency to explain why and apologise. That doesn’t mean we don’t still have the occasional tiff, it just means with mum, they know that it’s okay coz we don’t sweep it under the rug. Sorry, that was a very long winded way of trying to make you feel okay with being less than perfect in front of your amazing kids.
Even strong people can ask for help or need to stop the world for a few days. Be with the kids, breathe, just sit with them under a tree. Just be. Also don’t apologise for sending them off to play to give yourself some time. If you send them away with confidence & reassurance, they’ll be okay.
Big hug from me xx
You’re too close to it to see that you are doing beautifully.
RitaJanuary 22, 2011 at 7:43 am
I’m sure that in years to come your kids won’t remember the stress or the worry but will remember watching their mum rebuild their lives after the flood. They’ll be fine, and you’ll all become stronger through it.
Hang in there,
Nanny Long,January 22, 2011 at 8:23 am
My heart is with you Kelly,and I will continue to pray ,you have a big load to carry,and I did think you where SUPER MUM,and I still do ,but there are trials that are sent to try us and I know you will come through ,with the help of the Lord to give strength.You made me cry as I relived what it is like to be without My Mum since I was 10,I still miss her every day,
But you are a Mum and you are wonderful the way you spend so much time with your children,and that will happen again,just tell them how overwellemed you feel at the moment and they will understand, Blessings
ErinJanuary 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm
Thinking of you Kelly. Not sure I can add to the words of wisdom that have been shared here by others but just wanted to let you know I am keeping you in my prayers. Everything will work out in the end.
JulieJanuary 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm
Sending love and prayers to you Kelly. I can’t imagine how terrible my kids and I would be if we had endured so much change and such devastation. You are doing a fabulous job, as always.
Michelle Dennis EvansJanuary 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm
WOW! You are such an amazing strong woman.
Praying your year is amazing.. and filled with joyful moments after such a crazy start.
suburpJanuary 30, 2011 at 10:57 pm
i never read this. i think i saw your tweets tho..
i hope it’s all getting a bit better by now and you like it in Brisbane 🙂
Welcome (back?) to the SouthEast !
(and we all hope that big cyclone they promise will NOT bring too much water again !) x
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AliceFebruary 2, 2011 at 10:30 am
Big hugs Kelly! You’ve made me all teary. I have been struggling, and I haven’t even experienced any of the devastation that your family and many others have! I’m trying to hold it together while our family is trying to settle here in Brissy. You have been an inspiration to me over the last few months. Sure hope we get to meet up one of these days! God bless, Alice
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