Monthly Archives: August 2015

Mini weekend staycation

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Mini weekend staycation

I’m really quite lucky, every second weekend the kids go to their dad’s and I get Saturday afternoon to myself because MrZ goes to work, and then Sunday is ours to spend together if he’s not with his own kids (there is actually a lot of difficulty and heartache there but that’s his story not mine). Over the past few months none of this time was spare time however, it was time to do everything that I needed to get done without the kids around and was exceptionally busy and tiring in itself. With the move behind us and being fairly settled in now though I get to use some of this as time to myself again. I consider myself pretty lucky as most mothers in intact families don’t get that recovery and regeneration time. Truth be known I would rather be in one of those intact families struggling to find time for myself but it didn’t work out that way, so I’m just looking at the positives.

This Saturday I spent some time shopping around for some furniture to create a peaceful outdoor space on the lovely balcony we now have, although I didn’t find quite what I wanted, not enough to part with any hard earned cash anyway. That was followed by my haircut, in which I had about eight inches chopped off and resulted in a major case of ‘that didn’t look like the picture’ panic! To be fair I showed her a picture of a woman with wavy hair, because that’s what I wanted mine to look like when I curl it, but without that effort it is dead straight and flat, never more so than when it has been combed down repeatedly while being cut! I had a big night in planned for MrZ that evening so I tried to calm the panic while I rushed home to put that curl in it, although a few long, smiling glances I got in the supermarket and bottle shop on the way home suggested it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I need some practice with my new hair but I did manage to do ok that evening, MrZ was certainly appreciative of my fresh new look, joking that he didn’t know who I was there in the kitchen but he was going to dump his girlfriend immediately for me!

It helped that when MrZ arrived home I was preparing a four course dinner, music playing, drinking sangria and dancing around the kitchen as I worked. I felt light, carefree and happy and he was delighted! The rest of the evening was ours to relax, have fun, be a bit silly and enjoy some down time, just the two of us; we needed it. The following day the hint of spring was in the air and we drove around our new area in the mountains with no real agenda, just stopping when we saw something interesting including some some craft markets where he bought me a lovely handcrafted pendant, before it was back to pick up the kids and the usual Sunday afternoon work week prep. After dinner I even found some time to play a fun game of Monopoly with the kids while MrZ studied. All in all it was a fantastic weekend and I feel closer to MrZ than ever for it.

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The anti ‘man-flu’ type man, a blessing right?

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The anti ‘man-flu’ type man, a blessing right?

Many of you would have experienced the man-flu ridden man. You know, the type that can get the bug that you just had but they get it a thousand times worse, you couldn’t possibly have been anywhere near as sick as his is, he’s close to death don’t you know? Sigh. When faced with this spectacle you might find yourself wishing terribly for a tough guy type, one that can suck-it-up and take it like a man (Rambo style, not man-flu style). Not so fast, there’s a downside to these types. Not only do they never get sick, but nobody else does either. Understand? Yes sir.

MrZ, as you might have already guessed, falls into this later category. He might, on occasion, feel a bit ‘muzzy headed’, he’s not 100% but he’s going to be ok, he’ll beat it, he works in alternative health care and he’s a man that looks after his health, he simply doesn’t get sick. Luckily I’m not too different, I do generally look after my health and, particularly after a number of years as a single mother, I’m quite a ‘just get on with it’ type. I have been known on several occasions to power through the morning routine, getting kids to school and me to work, only to sit down at my desk and finally relax and discover oh boy, I’m not well, I really need to go home. For me that was the lot of the single mother. That doesn’t mean if I’m feeling a bit under the weather that I don’t need sympathy however. Just a little acknowledgment, a bit of recognition that I am doing it a bit tough, a cuddle and a show of support. Faced with a anti ‘man-flu’ man however you’ll be lucky if you mange to get anything but a dismissive ‘you’ll be right’ out of him. Put your neediness aside ladies, he’s a tough guy, no sympathy here.

One of the worst situations in my home is when one of the kids declares themselves too sick to go to school. They are normal kids, this happens quite a bit, and for the most part I herd them out the door regardless. Occasionally though, I recognise this as genuine and let them have a day off, which inevitably meets with derision from the man: of course they are well enough to go to school. In the last two weeks however, both of the boys have had the flu (blood test confirmed), and both had five days off. The level of tension in the house grew with each day and I was actually relieved when MrZ spent a couple of days looking after his parents place, I could mother my sick little monsters – I mean kids – in peace!

Today though, after a rough evening and worse night, I woke to declare myself flu ridden. I had not escaped after all, and I felt like death warmed up. MrZ rolled over and cuddled me. I commented that I felt feverish, he replied that no, no I wasn’t hot at all. Hmmm. Eventually I got up to begin to herd the kids to school, begging them to be self sufficient because I didn’t have the energy to chase them and argue with them today. They were doing ok considering, as well as could be expected. I took my temperature – 39 celsiusĀ – a moderate fever. I defiantly showed MrZ the thermometer only to have him comment dismissively ‘Oh, it’s slightly up’. Hrmph.

Sitting on one of the kids bean bags so as to be close to the heater, still in my pjs and clutching the coffee MrZ had made me, I directed the mornings operations as the world spun sickeningly around me. Eventually MrZ came and sat nearby on the lounge. After a moment’s silence he offered helpfully ‘Would you like me to drive you to work?’.

What? I know he does this to the kids, but me? Was he really doing it to me? I opened my eyes to glare at him. ‘It’s 8:05am, I would have usually been getting ready for work for the last hour, I haven’t showered, I’m in my pjs, I have a fever, do you really think I am going to work?’.

I can see you aren’t going to make your train’, he replied, ‘so I was being helpful and offering to drive you to help facilitate operations. Do you want some of that medicine you gave the kids for your fever?’

I looked at him a bit longer, incredulously. ‘Can you see me?’ I asked. ‘Am I invisible? I. AM. TOO. SICK. TO. GO. TO. WORK’.

It was then that MrZ apparently did see me, and realised he was in very dangerous territory. To his credit he got up and took over herding the kids and even drove them to school and made a cup of tea for me on his return. Now that’s more like it. It did however come with a lecture about how he’d been coming down with something lately too but he’d sweated it out yesterday, his body had simply not allowed him to become sick. Of course dear, of course.

Return to normality

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Today marked a return to routine for me after weeks of upheavals, the latest involving the kids. For the past week either one or both of my kids have been sick with the flu and off school, so last week saw me working from home, taking a day off only on Wednesday when I couldn’t take calls from work or teleconference into meetings due to my eldest coughing till he vomited on a semi regular basis. For some reason no-one wanted to listen to that. I was exhausted after being on night time duty by that stage too, and the patience of my youngest had worn thin, accusing me of being there but not being there. It was true and I felt extremely guilty but I had been torn because I was stressing under the pressure of my work deadlines too.

When I finally made the decision to have the day off and snuggled down to watch some movies with them I felt a huge relief. I wish I’d been able to do it for the rest of the week too. At the very least the time at home with my family was a bit of a tonic for me, I had needed to get anyway from everyone for a while and this situation let me do that while not building more stress by getting further behind in my work.

The return to school was not an easy process for anyone. As usual with the flu the justification for being at home diminishes at a more rapid rate than the energy to face normal routine returns, and this was the case for both kids who on separate days put on quite a show when faced with the prospect of school. My home: the battlefield. I do feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for me – I didn’t want to go back to the office either! But at least I hadn’t been sick. I don’t know how I didn’t get sick because at one stage MrZ had disappeared to his parents place to check on it as promised while they are away on holidays (nice excuse, I still think he fled the sick house!) and I had both my kids in bed with me one night, coughing on me from both directions. Perhaps it was proof that sheer pig-headed stubbornness can prevent you from getting sick – I just couldn’t afford to so I didn’t. In reality I think it might have been a hang over from the lost pregnancy, with my system having so recently been in super efficient baby creation mode and now with no baby to support it fought off the flu instead. Maybe that’s my silver lining there? Either way, life is settling down into into it’s own abnormal version of normal again which is great. I could use a little mundane for a while!

Feeling valued

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Feeling valued

I have to say, today I have felt better than I have in a long time. Have I started on my goals from my last post yet? Umm, well I booked a hair appointment, but there is still time in the day to get one of my mini workouts ticked off (chances are about 50/50)! What’s made the difference so quickly then you ask? Well, I think the intention I set to be more positive and look at the good things in life has already made a difference, but another big thing is that MrZ may not be great at emotional issues or be a great communicator, but when I have been able to voice my needs clearly and he understands them he steps up, which he has done over the last few days. He has gone out of his way to make me feel special and to reassure me that he wants a future with me (something I have felt he gives me little indication of), giving me the security and reassurance I crave.

He is not perfect, nor am I, and we both have healing still left to do, but it truly feels wonderful when someone puts in a big effort for you. I feel valued. I have made sure MrZ knows how grateful I am, a relationship is a two way street. I think it is a sign of a healthy relationship that a person can put aside their own fears/wants/needs to give their partner what they need, it’s just that I am used to being the one doing the supporting and I haven’t been on the receiving end all that often. It’s not something I take for granted.

I know that I had become worn down by life and it’s challenges lately and was probably starting to slide into an actual depression so I still have work to do. My goals of getting fit and of finding more balance in my life are critically important, and I actually feel more motivated now. I’m grateful to my partner, and for him I want to get back to theĀ fun person he used to know and love!

Now, I’m off to blow up that exercise ball…

Getting my mojo back

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Getting my mojo back

Ok, so the whole pregnancy thing wasn’t the joyful, bonding experience I had hoped for, but regardless I do feel like we are coming out the other side of it, knowing each other better and feeling more confident in our relationship. We are resilient. I believe that another key to a successful long term relationship is a sense of humour. With these two qualities a committed relationship can go the distance, so having proven our resilience we now need to work on the humour – finding it again. MrZ and I both have work to do there, there have been significant pressures on both of us over the last two years and it’s taken its toll. We used to have fun. Used to! You can’t change other people though, if you want change you have to start with yourself and when the way you behave changes then the way people react to you changes. It’s time for me to get my mojo back.

Each week I’m going to set myself tasks to help me get back to the person I used to be. I’m using this blog to keep me motivated, and any feedback and suggestions are more than welcome. This blog isn’t meant to be just about (harsh) life and chaos, it’s meant to include the good stuff and laughs along the way!

First things first: self care. A lot has changed in the last two years. When I met MrZ I was a regular gym goer, I did weights and ran regularly, I had lots of energy – I always said I HAD to work out to have the energy to keep up with my kids. I looked after myself, had highlights in my hair, had it style cut and early in our relationship I used to wear it in long curls most weekends, ready for date night whether we went out or stayed in. We fell into a dreaded relationship rut though. Rising expenses meant that my gym membership was the first to go, followed by my highlights and style cuts. Busyness means date nights became few and far between; I don’t have a reason to dress up and curl my hair anymore. I’m now do-it-yourself ash blonde that’s started to go soft around the middle. Ugh. It has to change.

I love being fit but like most people I struggle so badly to start a new routine when I fall off the wagon. I know I’ll reach a stage where it’s easy, I’ll have energy to burn and I will WANT to go do some cardio, but right now the thought of going for a run makes me want to crawl into to bed and hide. So I’m going to start small. This week’s challenge is to do three sessions of cardio, either a walk/run or hop on the elliptical cross trainer for at least twenty minutes, and three core workouts. I am also going to find a hairdresser and freshen up my hairstyle. So that’s it, that’s a start.

This week’s goal:

3 x 20 minute cardio sessions
3 x core strength workouts
1 x hairdresser appointment

Wish me luck!

Aftermath

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Aftermath

The following week went by in a bit of a haze. I had plenty to keep me busy given the recent move and my eldest was not settling into school too well and needed a lot of support, which translates to endless patience and tolerance regarding his less than pleasant behaviour. MrZ withdrew to the downstairs room to study most evenings, leaving me to continue unpacking and sit alone after the kids had gone to bed. He was affectionate when he was around, but the thing was he was not around much. For a while this all seemed ok, just life moving on. Then came the following weekend which the kids spent with their dad, leaving me alone at home all day on Saturday. That was when everything hit me. I still had a lot to do but nothing was particularly urgent, and well, I was struggling to even get out of bed. It was lunch time before I managed it and even then I didn’t achieve much. The weight of everything had caught up with me and like in a bad dream it felt like I was trying to move through sludge. I didn’t really know what I was feeling exactly, I only knew I felt bad. Really bad.

The following day was the first day to ourselves MrZ and I had together in quite a while and we should have enjoyed it. What happened however was so far from that. If I had to sum up in one word what I was feeling towards MrZ at that time it would have to be “resentment”. I resented supporting him for so long, I resented that he had failed a subject and it was going to be even longer. I resented that all of this meant he had not been happy about the baby. I resented that when I told him he had remained focused on his ex wife. I resented his distance when I was actually pregnant and I resented his lack of support when I lost the baby. I resented his continual complaints about my kids, who were clearly going through quite a tough transition after the move. I resented that I felt like I had at least three jobs – my paid job, looking after everything at home, and emotional support for everyone – when all he had to do was focus on study. I resented that I felt like I hold sole responsibility for everything.

And I went to pieces.

Did he handle that any better than he had handled everything else? No. He is not a good communicator and he doesn’t know how to manage emotions and I know that about him. He gets immediately defensive and that feels like he is invalidating me and the argument escalates, exactly as it did that day. I was feeling isolated and alone. The grief of my loss and his lack of acknowledgment and support was suffocating me and nothing but the thought of getting him out of my life forever seemed to make me feel better, and I told him that. Just like with everything else he didn’t seem to react too much. I felt like my heart was bleeding. I cried and cried and cried.

Eventually everything calmed down and I realised I should not be making any decisions while feeling this way, I needed to let time pass. We retreated to our corners. I went to work with a puffy face from crying at night several times that week, telling people I was suffering really bad hay fever. I don’t think anyone bought it the first day but I arrived little better for the rest of the week and I think they eventually thought it must be true.

That week with MrZ was awful. When he is unhappy he can be very distant, cold and sarcastic and I didn’t let any of it slide, I was angry and I met him barb for barb, which only ever escalates things. I was so cruel in my response to him one day that I could see pain in his face; I had managed to get to him. When I looked at the hurt in his eyes I felt only satisfaction, finally he was feeling pain too. When I realised this I was devastated: what was I turning into? I was so ashamed that finally I broke free of the stupid, hurtful game of acid tongue. I switched to another coping mechanism, I detached. Feeling so numb that his words no longer got to me I didn’t retaliate, instead I called him out, simply commenting on his childish behaviour without engaging. My withdrawal only made him worse.

Finally, when it looked like anything we had ever had was gone and we were completely over, he stopped. He stopped and he reached past his own feelings about his life and his disappointment in the way it had turned out and he became kind again, and comforted me, and held me, and told me he wanted to make us right. I let down my walls and let myself be comforted. I didn’t really want us to be over, but for a while I hadn’t been able to see a way back to what we had. He was leading now, and it was the only way, it was what I needed and I let him and I thanked him for it. The following days were a case of two steps forward, one step back, but at least we were beginning to heal.

Confusion and loss

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Confusion and loss

The following morning few words were exchanged as he left for work. I was hurting, bad. I texted MsE who was disappointed in MrZ but reminded me that he generally has good intentions, he can just be slow to step up and doesn’t communicate his feelings well. Eventually through the day I texted him and with the safety of space between us we were able to get a better understanding of where each of us was at.

I told him that I did not think I could have an abortion and stay with him, and admitted that I had mistakenly assumed he would have been happy about it since it used to be something he wanted and didn’t know what to think anymore. He explained that he had interpreted my early, stressed out “it would be a disaster if I was pregnant” comment as meaning I did not intend to keep it and that he had prepared himself to support me through that decision and to not get attached to the idea. I explained that at that time it didn’t seem like a possibility at all, my reaction when it became a reality was very different. I asked him why he thought he would have to give up uni and helped him think that through. Slowly, the fog started to clear and we started looking at this as something that could actually be a good thing. The tension never fully left though, I remained highly aware of his initial reaction and hurt deeply that he had continued to talk about his ex at a time like that, so focused on his past and rejecting our own future. He became really stressed about how to get a job before the baby arrived, which I understood was complicated because he was trying to change careers. He should have been graduating in November but had failed a subject and would now have to repeat it next year and graduate in July. It’s a hard course, I didn’t care that he failed a subject but whether there was a baby or not I was expecting him to work during those eight months but he didn’t seem to have thought ahead that far. Clearly, neither of us was feeling that joy I had glimpsed and anticipated when I first realised I was pregnant. Far from it.

The following week continued to be tense. I was exhausted and feeling sick at times already, MrZ bounced back and forth between helpful and distant, but did start to plan our way forward. The environment was extremely stressful as we continued to sort things out after the move, the kids were struggling to settle into their new routines, being at times quite difficult and needy, and my work commitments continued to escalate. My stress levels were unreasonably high. I didn’t see MrZ doing a lot to help me reduce them, but I tried to stay positive and remind myself that he was adjusting to big changes too. I was also trying not to become too attached, after all, the chance of loss was high.

After a few days the nausea started to ease off. I told MrZ, he said “Great”. I explained that was not necessarily a good thing, it could mean that hormone levels are dropping, I had been there twice before. He didn’t respond, I’m not sure if he realised what I was saying. The next day I lost the baby.

Just before leaving for work that next morning I started experiencing pain and realised what was happening. Despite being fully dressed for work I made a sudden announcement that I would not be going. I made eye contact with MrZ and shook my head, believing he understood what I was trying to communicate; he offered to drive the kids to school and I was grateful. When he returned I was sitting on the lounge, waiting for him to come and talk to me and hopefully comfort me. He walked past me however, and sat at the table reading the paper while I watched. My heart started pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. “Aren’t you even going to ask what is happening?” I asked, incredulously. He looked at me blankly. When I explained to him that I was losing the baby he still barely reacted. What had I been thinking? Of course he wouldn’t be upset, he didn’t want it in the first place, this was the best outcome from his point of view, or at least that’s how it felt to me in the face of his silence. I got upset, very upset. He left for uni for the day, a good few hours early. I had too much work to do and too many deadlines, I couldn’t even have the day off, I had to work from home, so I took his place at the kitchen table and got on with it.

And so life went on.