I can see from the long lost date of my last blog that the effects of my trip are still working! In fact, I've become so laid back this last while, my horribly kitsh, beautifuly snuggly purple cheneille dressing gown has become like a second skin. I've done more arts and crafts with the girls in the last month than I have in a year, and I survived Christmas, 4 different sets of visitors, a baking bonanza and various family ailments with barely a wimper.
Time to come clean. Last April I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. I'd always been a half-full glass sort of girl - every problem just needed a solution. But my life was in such a mess it wasn't that I suddenly saw the glass as half-empty - I couldn't see the glass at all. The fog in my brain, the grief I was feeling, the helplessness that was drowning me meant at times I could not see how I would make it to the end of the minute, never mind the hour, never mind the day. One day I might write about it more... but the place I went to still frightens me.
Time to come clean. I have found Ruby the hardest baby of all. I have found Ruby unbearable at times. I have been reduced to tears and tantrums and sheer screaming by her exhuberance and willpower.
Time to come clean. The last year I have had to learn to love my mum again. I have grieved for the one I had, and have had to learn to embrace the shadow she has become since her stroke. Despite seeing her as much as I could, I would cry on the drive up with the reluctance I felt. I would have to walk into another room and literally scream into a cushion, before arranging my face and walking back to her lying in her bed.
The last year has been the toughest struggle of my life just to survive. Just to get to the end of it. But slowly, slowly, I am recovering. I am gaining strength. I have found my mojo.
I no longer dread my mum; I can't wait to see her and tell her all the news.
I no longer hide from my girls in the bathroom; I put everything else aside and play with them.
I no longer wince when Ruby cries and holds her arms up to be held; I swoop her up and make her giggle.
I've had to make some decisions for the sake of my mental health - and therefore the sake of my family. I buried the superwoman aspiration. I cremated the yummy mummy goal. I sucked the spotless house ambition up the hoover.
I haven't written a blog in 3 weeks because, well, other things were happening. And you know what? The world didn't fall apart. I didn't write a thing for three weeks in fact and you know what? I had a freezer full of prepared food for Christmas and guests and I spent the time with them and the kids instead of missing all the fun. I prioritised. I took breaks. The other morning, I put Ruby back down to sleep, the girls in front of the telly, and I went back to bed with my book and a cup of tea. I decided it was my Christmas holiday too. And you know what? The parenting police didn't come and lock me up. The gremlin on my shoulder who usually tells me I have no right to rest was asleep. I went back to bed and read my book. I didn't write my blog. I didn't make lists. I didn't bake, and most of all, I didn't clean. There is dust in places there shoudn't be. And you know what? I'm happier for it.
So, I've come clean, and the house is going to get dirtier.
Happy new year!