I’d always dreamt of getting married and having children.
Picture perfect daydreams: full of colour and light. Visions embedded with the pretty little images of me all heavenly and motherly, doting on peach-cheeked babies.
So how did I end up with unwashed hair staring vacantly into the eyes of a complete stranger, two toddlers yanking at my tracksuit pants rubbing their snotty noses all over me, as she barks “and you! You’re just BORING” … ?
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment that I lost my sense of self, but it happened somewhere along the way to becoming a wife and mother. One minute I’m full of hopes and dreams, the next I’m just going through the motions.
I’m not sure if it was the natural urge to put myself last, or the years of sleep deprivation, or if it was just a sub-conscious programming that allowed me to believe that that’s the way it is “supposed” to be. Whatever the reason, when I heard the words “You’re just BORING”… I had to admit that she was right. (Well, it was either admit it or put up a fight and defend myself, and quite frankly I was just too damn tired to argue!).
The warning signs were there – I should have known I was in trouble when I found myself earnestly trying to convince my sister and mother that shopping in the maternity section for pants is the best kept secret in the world. “They’re so COMFORTABLE … seriously Mum, they don’t cut in at ALL.”
Yep, there I was wearing maternity wear (when I wasn’t still in my pyjamas) a year post-pregnancy. It’d been so long since I put on makeup that when I finally did for a job interview, my eyes reacted so badly that I rocked up looking like I’d been on the turps the night before!
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d done something fun … in fact, I’d forgotten what “fun” was. I was stuck in a perpetual state of sleep-chasing, living each day just to get through to the next nap-time. When I found myself daydreaming, it wasn’t about exotic islands or wild parties … it was about sleep … ”could I get away with closing my eyes for just one second?”, “gee that cold, hard floor looks so comfortable right now”.
Let’s face it, I was boring.
In all my dreams of motherhood I hadn’t anticipated that snot stains smeared across my skirt would become a staple addition to my wardrobe, or sour milk my new perfume. I never envisioned myself in a tracksuit, dirty hair tied in a knot on my head, standing in a puddle of yoghurt, counting the hours until 5pm when ‘Daddy’ would be home. What’s more, I hadn’t anticipated the impact that such things would have on my sense of self.
I had fallen so deeply into the cycle of ‘just surviving’ that I had lost the energy, will or desire to get up and get living. I had completely forgotten who I was outside of the realms of family. Not wife, not mother – just ‘me’.
I was so busy trying to do everything I thought I was ‘supposed’ to be doing in order to be a good wife and mother, that I put my own needs almost entirely on the backburner. What I failed to realise was that in doing so I was actually shortchanging my family in the process. I’d always dreamt of being the ‘fun mum’. Playing, laughing, offering my children the freedom to express themselves and the confidence to follow their dreams. How could I possibly do this when I had no passion of my own? What good was I to them being completely burnt out? Being “just boring”?!
I don’t want to be ‘boring’. In fact, I never ever want to hear that word again! So my mission is to find a balance between family and self. To rediscover who I am and what I love doing. To reignite my passion and to share it with my family, my friends and with all those who cross my path. This is so fundamental to being the best person and parent you can be.
I really do believe that our children are born full of energy and fire. It is up to us to keep that spark alive, and the only way to do that is to share the burning light that comes from nurturing our own passions and dreams.