I’ve been exceptionally lucky, for someone prone to being visited by their Black Dog, I’ve maintained an even keel throughout the past six months. I know I’m not out the woods yet; as you can still be diagnosed with PND anything up to a year post your baby’s birth, but touching wood, I’m doing well.
There are days that are difficult, but they are not dark days; they are just days when I’m trying to work out what a new sound means, or I’m being clung to, limpet-like, because he ain’t gonna let me go, he wants me nearby. For those clingy days, I’ve learnt I will need to kiss goodbye to any plans I’d made for the day, for if I don’t, I could get frustrated that I’ve not done what I’ve needed (read wanted) to do.
So where has this six month, three week journey taken me? What has it taught me? My patience and tolerance levels are far higher than they were, except while driving, I’m a work in progress, what can I say?
Where the baby is concerned, as soon as we are back in the house, we repack his bag, so we can turnaround and go straight back out again if we need to. I’d like to say we as a family are always this organised, we’re not, but we’re trying! However, Hubs and I know that we can get ready in 10 minutes flat, I also know I can do my make-up in the car if necessary too. I spend my days getting ahead where possible, I use the slow-cooker frequently, we cook in batches and freeze dinners; as soon as I have a load of washing, it gets washed. I don’t store it up any more to do it all over the weekend. We also wash up dishes when we’ve finished with them, then put them away too, the sink now has nothing on it but the plug. The liquid, sponge, brush and drainer now live underneath in the cupboard.
Dammit, if I wasn’t organised before, I could run this house like a military operation now, but I won’t. I refuse to. Because it isn’t me running the family, it is a team effort, and while I could do everything, what is the point? Too many women do too much around the house, wearing an air of martyrdom which does nothing but breed frustration and resentment. If you do everything for a man, he’ll just accept it, because how that is how they’re programmed. If you ask for help, you’ll get it, sometimes eventually, but it will be forthcoming. If you nag, you just end up treating your partner, your equal, as another child in the house, that cycle of resentment picks up speed all over again.
I am returning to work shortly. Hubs and I are working on a routine so that the house runs itself, it doesn’t grind to a halt with both of us working and Peanut needing attention above the ironing. I don’t want to be doing housework at all hours because it’s something else to fit in, I want to spend time with my family. We need to do little and often, with bits getting done every night, and things not getting dumped with a ‘I’ll do them later’. Reading the FlyLady Sink Reflections book, I’ve been able to identify ‘hot spots’ where things get left. Both Hubs and I need to work on breaking some patterns of behaviour to ensure we start and finish each job. As Peter Walsh (my guru) says, ‘You don’t put the washing on to leave it in the washer, so it gets smelly. The washing then gets dried, ironed or folded and put away. A complete cycle from start to finish.’
Working through dark times in my life, while I couldn’t always change the circumstances I found myself in, I learnt could always change my attitude towards them and how I interacted with people. This started with what I thought, perhaps more importantly, how I thought it. Recently, I’ve noticed I lie in bed now and my mind is rattling away nineteen to the dozen, this is a flag that I need to spend some down-time on me. I need to find the space between my thoughts, to still the voice inside me that is reminding me of things I need to do, things to remember, things tidy up and so on. It’s a pattern of behaviour I need to change. It’s all too easy to let that voice become all you can hear, the self-defeating sound of some comments can bring me down all too quickly. It’s a daily struggle for some people, thankfully, given the hormonal upheaval my body has gone through in the past eighteen months, I am feeling stronger, more confident, happier and more satisfied than I ever have before.