“How are you Kell?” I felt relieved hearing my sister’s voice on the phone. It had probably only been a week since we last talked but it felt like an age.
“I’m okay.” I said automatically. Then I reminded myself that it was my sister I was talking to: “Actually, I’m not really okay at the moment.”
She laughed. That laugh. My sister has the most infectious laugh you will ever hear. I couldn’t help but smile into the phone.
“I know exactly what you mean. We are okay, but not okay. What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. Just everything. A million breakups to attend with the kids. Matt working a lot: away last weekend; away for Scottie’s birthday; away for our anniversary; away for the end of year concert. Totally over that at the moment. And I often over commit myself.”
I rambled on. “I’m just not managing very well this week. I feel like I should manage, but I’ve been struggling this past couple of weeks, and I’m annoyed at myself. You know the drill.”
“I do Kell. I know it well.”
I love it how she didn’t “you’re a great mum” me because that’s not what I needed to hear. I love it how she didn’t tell me I needed a break, or to take it easy. What does that mean? How do you take it easy when you’re a mum and have four people constantly relying on you? I love it how she didn’t accuse me of “doing too much” because it’s not doing a lot that is the problem — that’s family life — it’s the chain of events over the last couple of weeks that’s the problem. I love it that she didn’t say, “You’re too hard on yourself.” I am hard on myself. It’s part of who I am. I know that. And she knows that I know that. I love that she didn’t tell me to be thankful because others are worse off. I know how blessed I am, but I’m totally human too. Instead, she gave me understanding. Empathy: it’s enough. So often — compassion — it’s enough.
I’m very open here on my blog — about my life, about my feelings — but even so, there are many things people don’t know about me or my life. Even the people who do know me personally, don’t know me very well or the challenges I’ve faced. I’m a very open person but I’m hard to know well. That doesn’t quite make sense, does it? So be it.
What is the point of this post? There is so much meaningful stuff I want to say here. I see a bend in the road was one of the posts I wanted to write. There are many such posts in draft that I haven’t been able to write…yet. I’m actually not disappointed in myself about that. No. That will wait. It will come.
I’m disappointed because I so often lose sight of the important things. I’m disappointed because I miss my kids, yet the usual parenting pressures like home work, forms and end of year parties seem to make it more difficult for me to be with my kids in the way they need. The way I need. It’s like the outward pressures attack the family unit rather than support it. It’s rushing here, and there. It’s stressing about what to bring, what to wear, what to do. Others around me appear to do it all effortlessly.
Do you ever feel like all of a sudden your world has gone totally crazy? Like you’re trapped in a series of external events that drive your world? It’s in times like these that I dearly want to live a quiet life somewhere on a mountain. We as a society, have made modern life so complicated. Does it have to be so?
I long to write the stuff that is on my heart, but instead, this week on the blog, I’m doing craft, and I don’t always like craft, but I find creating easy. You may like to tune out if you like. Craft, I don’t have to think about. Words, I do. I long to write the words I want to speak, but they are silent right now, and so too must I be.
One thing I know right now: I love my sisters.
Another thing I know: I’m not okay right now, but I will be. I’ll be totally fine. Not sure anyone will still be reading this far down, but thanks for listening.
The Rhythm MethodDecember 5, 2011 at 6:03 am
I feel the same way this past week. For me, everything feels out of my control, and my job is just to hold our stuff together while we bob like a cork towards Christmas. Can’t wait until that last week when everything is done, and it’s just the five of us.
Hang in there lady. x
RenaeDecember 5, 2011 at 6:34 am
You’re spot on about paperwork. I know it’s supposed to make our life easier, but it just takes so much time away from important things. I’m constantly waiting for things to “settle down” but I know in my heart that that will never happen – this is life and life is busy and messy. Thanks to your blog ideas, I really do try to “love the moment” in these crazy times. Good luck with the end of year chaos!
Nikki @ stylingyouDecember 5, 2011 at 6:38 am
I read all the way down and I totally agree. The end of school craziness is stressful. We’re waking up at our house with everyone on holidays and the load is a lot lighter! Hang in there. X
LattejunkieDecember 5, 2011 at 6:45 am
I get you! I have had similar thoughts this week and I only have one child and a hubby. My hubby is working all hours. Monkey is missing his friends and routine. I am missing my friends and support group and we’re faced with another 6 months to a year away from home for work. This is why I am quiet at the moment.
Kirsty ChalonerDecember 5, 2011 at 7:26 am
I am so glad I clicked on this link! I am not the only one going crazy during the lead up to Christmas. As a child it was so exciting, as a parent it seems nightmarish! But I think of the big picture…the enjoyment it brings to my kids. Without my 4 kids smiles life would not be worth it so i persevere every year, and know that it’s only a few weeks and it will all be over once again!
Thank-you for sharing xo
Amz aka Nurturing ProgressDecember 5, 2011 at 7:33 am
I share your sentiments. That crazy wheel of fortune – there are all these prizes to win (aka things to do, places to be, children to fix/nurture/help/feed/ etc, things to accomplish physically, mentally and spiritually) and yet the wheel keeps spinning past them all faster and faster – thus the feeling of not getting somewhere anywhere or getting things done is the reality. There seems to be a lack of fortune aka happiness and completeness here – thinking all of this just last night. The world was closing in on me and I sunk….
The catalyst, we were camping on the weekend (toddler and kindy kid) and you are bang on the money with the complexity of modern life. It was so peaceful and not really that complex. It was simple, I had a village around me that I don’t usually have.
I like you share with a sister who lives away and she sees through the “I’m Ok facade’. She often asks me, why do you think that is – she knows that I don’t need ‘you’re a great mummy’ line. She knows me and helps me somehow – sometimes I think she is like the ‘Supernanny’ offering words and support in ways that don’t flatter my ego but just help me live in the moment.
So with that – I just want to say totally get it. Totally echo your thoughts, totally in struggle street. Enjoy crafting – as a creative outlet – may the words you long to write come and may you just find time to be in the moment.
HelenDecember 5, 2011 at 7:34 am
WOW, did you somehow get inside my head and just grab all my jumbled thoughts and write them down in a clear, concise way? I am so hearing you, thank you for putting your personal thoughts out there, I for one am “listening”!
At least you have a sister who was there to offer some support.
I rarely bother telling anyone all those sorts of things any more because all I ever get is those unhelpful comments like you mentioned. I just have to be my own support sister.
And by the way, CRAFT (specifically scrapbooking) is my outlet, my escape as well … go craft yourself crazy girlfriend!!!
AmyDecember 5, 2011 at 7:41 am
I hear you on this. My pet hate is when you express frustration or anxiety or exhaustion and people tell you to ‘just do less stuff’ or ‘take a break’. I especially love when it’s followed up with a ‘Oh, but don’t quit the activity we do together. Because it’s waay to important. You could quit something else?’.
Having the first quiet day at home in forever and it’s lovely!
Kate @ Puddles and GumbootsDecember 5, 2011 at 7:43 am
This time of year is just nuts! and I read all the way to the end. Thank heavens for sisters, I treasure mine too xx
MeeganDecember 5, 2011 at 7:48 am
I read right to the very end, Kell. And then I read it again.
Just 5 minutes away from you, don’t forget xxx
BookChookDecember 5, 2011 at 7:54 am
Always read right to the end on your blog, and never been disappointed.
Kelly LockDecember 5, 2011 at 8:14 am
I like craft! 🙂
One thing I always struggle to comprehend is how Christmas Stuff seems to get in the way of being with and enjoying the people around you. Seems such a strange thing.
I’d love to live on a mountain!
TraceyDecember 5, 2011 at 8:22 am
Did you have my week last week too??? I could have written exactly what you wrote and throw in a few emotional breakdowns and that was me.
This week I am focussing on being a relaxed Mummy and just going with the flow. I am going to enjoy my girls and I am going to take it easy on myself. If I can I will get my Christmas shopping all done online and I will not stress about it.
I hope you have a better week this week.
Victoria WrightDecember 5, 2011 at 9:25 am
Feeling the same way right now.. life gets on top of us sometimes. Dont forget ducks that glide across the water are frantically paddling underneath.. nothing is effortless even it appears so from afar.
Thanks for putting this out there, makes me feel “normal”, I too love craft as an outlet but havent been able to get to it lately..
Kelly Be A Fun MumDecember 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm
Thank you for talking in pictures. I love that. I get it. I understand.
LucyDecember 5, 2011 at 9:41 am
I read the whole way down.
You know where I am.
I should be working but I am reading this. Because when we have so much too much to do, it is easier to allow the bogged downness to feel a little relieved by skiving off.
KirstDecember 5, 2011 at 9:46 am
I read your post and I thought “I could have written that”, and then I read the comments that have been left, and most people’s comments reflect mine.
I know that my words will not help you spend time with the kids, or put 3 more hours in the day, or have your husband home more, but try to take solace in the fact that you are not alone.
By the sounds of things you have amazing sisters, and a great support network.
Don’t feel bad for putting your hand up and saying “I’m not okay”, more people should.
Good on you for putting it out there, and making us all feel like we are a part of something.
I hope that you’re crazy life calms down soon for you, and that you can relax in some way.
Such a great idea to take time away from words and Blog craft. Gets you out of your head.
Much love and hugs,
mumspkDecember 5, 2011 at 10:14 am
So many amazing responses following an amazing post. I think what makes you a successful blogger is your authenticity. You continue to just be you – good or bad. People feel inspired by this because it’s so normal. By being so transparent you give your readers permission to be ok with how they feel. Thank you.
SashDecember 5, 2011 at 10:53 am
Thanks so much for writing this post… I’m feeling much the same and it’s great to know I’m not alone!
ErinDecember 5, 2011 at 11:55 am
Oh, I completely know what you mean Kel. Hope it passes quickly 🙁
VeronicaDecember 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm
I always read read right to the bottom too Kelly. Love how you are so successful and creative with your blog and yet the same as all us other mummas too. xoxox
Peta WrightDecember 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm
Kelly, It seems that you may be able to take some comfort in knowing that so many other women know EXACTLY how you feel. Thanks for not being ashamed to share yourself. It brings inspiration to each one of us, and it lets us know that we are not alone! You will make it through, as will each one of us, one step at a time. Take care and Love the Moment! Peta
Rachel CunliffeDecember 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm
Thanks so much for writing this – I could have written a very similar post (just different details, same sentiment). I loved, best of all, your listing of all the things your sister could have said but didn’t (and the thought process you go through when you hear those kinds of normal responses!!!).
Thank you is about all I can say, but thank you is what I need to say right now.
JulieDecember 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm
Thanks for putting down how so many of us are feeling at this time of year (and my kids aren’t even at school yet!). Love that you can chat to your sister about how you are feeling. Thank God for those special relationships.
Meegan PDecember 6, 2011 at 7:02 am
Thank you for sharing. Life seems to turn the switch to full at this time of year doesn’t it? Hope everything goes ok for you and we all get through this crazy season.
On the crafting note, you do the BEST crafts!! I love how simple and pretty they are, the kids love them too. Last year we did reindeers with friends, this year we are doing the cup christmas trees as gifts for teachers and I know my daughter is going to love your post from today too.
Naomi EllisDecember 6, 2011 at 8:02 am
This time of year is a totally insane time of year. I find I struggle as it seems to just be a combination of the whole year of exhaustion piled upon me almost testing me to see if I can make it to the end, to the last day of December. So can relate to how you are feeling. Big hugs, you are doing an awesome work and effort raising your cherubs with a busy husband and awesome blog that you are running. Take some time off and take a break. We will all be here when you come back. N x
KatieDecember 6, 2011 at 11:28 am
I hear every word Kel. My heart echos every word. It’s scary – you articulate the things my heart keeps silent. I love that you give voice to these things.
OopsiemummaDecember 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm
I read right to the end and I’m totally hearing you. Our last week of school was last week and it was a nightmare. Hubby was away, the kids were going nutty, everything had to be done at once, and I got very little sleep. I was cranky, short fused, and teary all week. But I knew I’d get through it and this week with the kids on holidays everything feels a lot less stressful even though Christmas is still looming and there’s lots to get done. Hang in there Kel xo
Veronica @ Mixed GemsDecember 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm
Hope you woke up today feeling a little better both for writing this, sharing with your sister and finding all these supportive comments. From everything I’ve read on your blog and seen in your photos, you admirably do so much to be in the moment with and for your children. Therefore I can see how the crazy tedium at the pointy end of the year could feel like it’s stealing from you the chance to live in the moment with your children. It’s the antithesis of how you want to live and how you show us all that you want to live. This season will pass and it doesn’t last too long. Hang in there.
Kelly Be A Fun MumDecember 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm
Veronica, you know, I am feeling better this week. I love how you summarised everything I’m feeling and put it into context for me. Thank you xx
Kelly Be A Fun MumDecember 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm
Just when I was feeling so alone, here you all are. Thank you.
The Small Blessings That Make it All a Little BetterDecember 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm
[…] and the house runs in a hickelty-pickelty fashion. I feel down, and am unable to think clearly. I wrote about this, and was surprised, and so very encouraged by the lovely encouragement and responses I received. […]
ChristineDecember 14, 2011 at 11:57 am
Thank you for sharing this and thank you for your honesty. I really connected with your words and feelings and your post has really helped me today. Thank you 🙂
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