2016 has been a good year for me. Life has been good. Easier. I've had plenty of awesome opportunities, amazing ones, opportunities of a lifetime. You'd in fact be forgiven for thinking that I am living some kind of free and easy, jet-setting lifestyle. I don't really, this has not only been a great year, but an unusual one. These last few years have taught me to to take certain opportunities when they arise. To grab them with both hands if I can, and run with it, because once they pass, they may be gone forever.
It's really no secret that I suffer mild (ha! Ok moderate) FOMO (fear of missing out), which may or may not be the reason for my willy-nillingness to take off on a whim, and think about the consequences later. What I've learned these last few years, in the most dramatic fashion, is that no matter how my life changes, how many children we have or how much older I get, that I'm still me. I'm still Kirsty. I may be older, wrinklier, not necessarily any wiser, but I'm still deep down the whimsical dreamer, so eager to explore, laugh, interact, experience and enjoy everything that this life has to offer. In years gone by, I passed up so many opportunists due to the unknown, fear, or lack of motivation, and I've been left wondering. 'What if?'.
As we entered the realm of parenthood, we began to realize the difficulties of following these kinds of dreams when you have little ones. So many of life's opportunities have to go on hold. Parenthood trumps all, particularly through the baby years, and so much of yourself lies dormant, needs unmet. In time though, particularly for us, opportunities for self fulfillment have become more easily met. Our children are no longer little babies, and solo parenting is much more easily done, for short periods of time. Which is why this year has been a year of travel and exploration for me. I'm grateful to be married to a man that is not only a capable father, but a willing one... a man that, much to his distaste for outlaying our precious, and little (amount of) money, recognises the fact that this is who I am. He recognises (often reluctantly) that he married someone that thrives on the change, the excitement, the mental and emotional boost that a change of scenery can bring. A trip back home (to be fair, this is where I mostly find myself heading) to Brisbane, an overseas adventure, or a road trip with my girlfriends. All of which provide me with a spring in my step, a chance to recharge my mind, (sometimes) my body and my soul. Allowing me to dive into the next few months of unsupported parenting.
I often get the impression that society frowns upon a mother who takes time out for herself. It's a common view that once we enter the realm of motherhood, we are expected to wholly and solely partake in this experience, and want for nothing else, that we are somehow immediately fulfilled. Once we become mothers, we're not supposed to want for ourselves, because we're supposed to give 100% of our focus on the kids. We become lost, even overlooked in motherhood. I can't tell you how many times Nathan has been away during our time as parents of young children, and not once has anyone ever expressed any kind of concern for me or my wellbeing while he's away. After all, I'm a mother, it's my job. Yet, the slightest mention of me heading away for the weekend, week, night, and I'm met with,
'But who's looking after the kids?'
That guy is. The one that helped me make them. The one that helps me raise them, teach them, love them.
I'm not sure about you guys, but it took two of us to tango in order for these little beings to exist. He's not just the sperm donor. In our particular situation, I'm responsible for the day to day running of the house and the raising of kids, while Nath does an amazing job of providing us with all of life's necessities. However, when he walks through those doors, he's just as much responsible for these little lives as I am. He's completely capable, he's loving, nurturing, and definitely puts me to shame when it comes to showing patience and restraint in those difficult times.
So maybe it's about time that we worked on breaking a few negative trains of thought, a few 'stigmas', if you will,
1. Fathers are not secondary parents. Maybe the reason that many think they can't do the same job, is because of what society has lead them to believe. They don't 'babysit' or 'mind the kids', they parent. Sure, so many of them spend much of their time away from the house, as is the case in my household, but they're not incapable, they're not 'less'. They might not get the housework done, get the right clothes on the right kid, or get the daily routine right all the time, but if everyone is loved, cared for, and content at the end of the day... job done.
2. Adding 'mother' to your resume, does not mean that everything you've lived and breathed before that becomes obsolete. You are still very much the same person, with the same wants and needs deep down, your immediate priorities have just changed. Albeit dramatically. Don't ignore it. Don't ignore what you need. That small flame of desire flickering away inside you will grow. Eventually becoming a raging inferno that you can no longer control. You may not be able to completey sate that desire, but you may find a way to keep it a flicker, rather than a full blown roar.
It all boils down to support and self care. You find support where you need to, even if it's solely your other half, and you practice self care because you need to.
It's not really an option.
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version