Bits and pieces

Thanks to all of you who have shown concern regarding Robin and her injury. Two days ago she started to walk again! She limped for a couple of days but is now back to normal. She isn’t running yet, but will get there in no time at all at this rate.

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These past couple of weeks have been dedicated almost exclusively to Maia and her various fun activities, as I mentioned earlier this week. This sometimes means that it’s not worth driving back home during a rehearsal she might be attending, so Robin and I find ourselves with an hour or two to kill while her sister wiggles her bottom at the dance studio. It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of panicking about the accumulating housework that I cannot seem to get to the bottom of. Then I become irritable and take it out on those around me (namely, my patient husband and sweet girlies). So I’m doing my best to try and maximise the little time I’m left with after all the ferrying around the island has been done. Then there are other days I just (try to) stop at a cafe’ with Robin for a cappuccino and croissant. She used to enjoy it as much as me, sharing my croissant, smiling at the other patrons and scribbling on the notepad I always carry with me. Now I find myself doing a lot of this to keep her entertained:

IMG_5210

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Speaking of Maia…

Our relationship has always been a little complicated. We (obviously) love each other to bits. She owns a big chunk of my heart and I am the person she wants to spend her life with (according to her). However, as she grows older and struggles with the need for more independence from me, there seems to be an underlying tension between us with threatens to explode (and does) on certain days. One such day happened last weekend.

Friends, I’m going to bare my soul here and hope you understand me or can guide me if you have experienced similar situations. I lost my patience in a monumental way with her. I shouted like a fishmonger does on a summer morning here on the islands. I’m pretty sure the neighbours considered knocking on our door to check that we were all in one piece. I was, and still am, so ashamed of my behaviour with one of the persons I love the most in the world.

The truth is that I am feeling very frustrated. I want to make the three persons I share my life with happy. Of the three of them, Maia is the hardest to please. Nothing I ever do seems to be good enough for her. Some days I feel like I’m treading on eggshells.

Two days ago I hit rock bottom. I broke down and had a long chat with the husband about my relationship with our daughter and I came to a few conclusions which had been staring me in the face all along. The truth is that I am not taking very good care of myself. I am not exercising (I cannot even locate my yoga mat at this point), I haven’t worn makeup in months (call me shallow but I’m being honest), my hair is a permanent mess of overgrown roots (although I saw to that three weeks ago) and out of control regrowth, I am not writing and I haven’t done some freelance work in months. Not surprisingly, all this is getting to me. I feel frustrated, look haggard and there are even days when I feel trapped.

And this doesn’t make any sense at all because, really, I am beyond grateful I can spend my days taking care of my family. This is only a season in my life and it’s one of the most beautiful. In the not so distant future, I’ll look back on these days and miss them. I know that. But that doesn’t make the present any easier. Don’t get me wrong; I am very aware of how lucky I am and I will be forever grateful. The truth remains, however, that I need to take care of myself if I am to take good care of others. My family deserve this and more.

ballerina

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We started our Christmas holidays an hour ago. We have two weeks of enjoying each other before school and various lessons start again and, with the exception of a dance show tomorrow and another one next weekend, we have no commitments except coffee and play dates with friends (coffee for the grownups, play for the kids in case you were wondering). I couldn’t be happier about it.

Actually, I could be happier. Can we all cross our fingers and toes so my husband doesn’t have to go in to work on Christmas day? I still have no idea whether I’ll be spending the day alone with the girls or not. I’m really really hoping I’m not but I guess you’ll know soon enough.

 

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12 Comments

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  1. SOO happy to read about Robin’s foot…. and I completely know where you’re coming from about taking care of yourself. I had a similar melt-down last night… came to some pretty shocking realisations and can’t believe just how much ive been neglecting myself and it’s not shallow to want to feel good about yourself. You have two girls who have you as their main role model – you owe it to them as much as to yourself 🙂 x

  2. Great news about your young one… I know what you’re going through with Maia. I had the same relationship with my daughter so many years ago.. And if you thought you were screaming the other day, you should have heard me way back… It went on through her teenage years but I never stopped giving up and trying to get through to her. ( she is a very stubborn person ). Maureen, today, aside from my husband, she is my best friend. We spend a lot of time together and are very close.
    You do need to get some time for yourself, it will help you get through the day…. But don’t worry, things will come together in the future. And then again we moms are only human….
    Take care hon, and have a very Merry Christmas…..

  3. Hey Maureen. I’m so happy Robin is off your hip and back on two feet. That must be a huge relief to you all. I’m also glad you’ve got supportive husband. Kuddos to him for being a good listener and caring sweetly for you. Hope you get into a regular exercise/writing/time-for-yourself schedule.

    Thinking about what you said regarding your relationship with Maia, one thing stood out..you’re trying to make her happy and she’s hard to please. Maybe I misunderstood, but that’s a lot to ask of yourself (or of any person). Of my three boys, one was incredibly stubborn and another impossible to please. With the stubborn one, I had to have a lot of structure (explain expectations, repeat expectations and follow through with the appropriate consequences depending on the choice he made). It was a LOT of work, but he would push and push and push. About 12, he figured out the benefit of good choices was good consequences and he is now a flourishing university student (no, I didn’t kill him).

    With the second son, even now that he is an adult, he has high expectations (well, expensive expectations). We are so much alike and one look from him can send me over the edge. I’ve had to learn not to respond to his disappointment or anger. That’s HIS problem, not mine. My job was to provide a good, safe home, clothes, nutritious food and an encouraging and loving environment. If the clothes were Old Navy and not Gap, I did my best. If I bought organic natural peanut butter instead of Skippy, I’m sorry, but this is a better choice. It’s really, really hard, even still. I love that sweet, blonde man-child and his smile lights up my world. But I won’t be manipulated.

    Sorry for the diatribe. If I’ve offended or misunderstood, I apologize. I just remember how hard it was to raise children with a husband who works really hard and has busy seasons. I feel for you. You are a wonderful mom to those two girls and I would hate for you to sell yourself short.

    • Of course you haven’t offended me, Jill! On the contrary, I value your opinion like I do that of Loreta who commented earlier because both of you have more experience than me. Maia sounds exactly (EXACTLY!) like your stubborn one. As you said, it’s a lot of work. Setting boundaries, enforcing them, following through…it’s exhausting at best. I just hope Robin will remain as easy-going as she is now!

  4. Whew….I hit enter and thought…oh crap!

    In that case…I’m cheering you on. Just know on difficult days there’s a whole bunch of us standing behind you and supporting you in thought and prayer.

    much love & Merry, merry Christmas!

  5. Dear maureen,
    I’ve been following you for some time now, and love hearing about your family. First of all, I’m so relieved that Robin has started walking again, things should be a bit easier for you now. But I’m writing mainly because what you said about Maia really touched me. I’m in a similar place right now (have been for the past 11 years!). My daughter is so similar to yours. She presents a daily, constant challenge, but is also the most creative person I know. She can do anything with a piece of paper or some clay, and has always been like that. I actually think that I have only seen her be truly happy when she is creating something.. She is also incredibly stubborn and oppositional, mainly with me though. (At school this aspect of her character/behaviour does not emerge as much). Every little request or decision to be taken has to be a battle, unless we form a collaborative decision, where we both give way a bit. She will not simply ‘obey’ – my request has to make perfect sense to her, otherwise she’ll explode, in a bad way. But we love her to bits, and realise sometimes that what she needs is more and more and more love. Her younger brother, like Robin, is much more easy going, he is our peace maker and balm! And he ‘gets’ her in a way we don’t sometimes. They fight as all children do, but she really is a brilliant elder sister, so responsible towards him.

    So don’t give up on your relationship, your love and care and respect for her individuality will eventually overcome the obstacles ..sometimes we have to be their emotional frontal lobe, their advocate, where they don’t arrive on their own. I’ve lost it so many times, but am adamant to persist in what I am sure will be a great relationship in the future. They are rough diamonds, but will only be polished when they feel ready for it. Take good care of yourself, you are doing a wonderful job with both your children!

  6. Wish I had seen you!!! Just say hello if you do see me again, can’t believe we both live in Xaghra and never met…
    One day I’ll tell you the whole story about my “little” girl… She has come such a long way and accomplished so much. If you knew half the things she put us through!!!
    You do the best you can, and choose the things you believe are right. In the end as parents, that’s all we can do…

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