It’s time to take the plunge. I’ve been faffing around the outside of my support system wondering how I’m going to pull it all off and be able to balance all the things I need to balance for life to feel like it should and not like a woman about to go under the torrent of things that need to happen for life to feel balanced.
Here’s the deal. In the last 4 months my entire everyday support system collapsed (if you can call a partner who had already checked out, a super selfish au pair and an ex husband who is currently struggling to care for himself a support system).
I have had what can only be described as an au pair nightmare. After waxing lyrical about the beauty of having a live in nanny, the guy who is definitely not my guy and our live in nanny decide to leave fairly simultaneously and start a life together. I know – I, on occasion, still get vomit in my throat. Dodged a bullet there. Well two bullets really.
Then I had to make the really big call about taking my girls back full time. The how’s and why’s are irrelevant for now, but I will be honest and say that the clarity that came once my energy wasn’t taken up in the mess being created by the other people in our household who are no longer here, made me realize that my girls weren’t getting everything they need. And right now, I’m the one most capable of providing that. And I love them and want the best for them and I hope we can find a peaceful way to sort it out, and until then, they are living with me full time. And I’m working, which I love, but suddenly I went from 4 days/week working, to 5 full days per fortnight (early and late because the kids wouldn’t be here), to 3 days school hours only per week because someone has to drop off and pick up and take kids to afterschool activities and cook dinner and keep the house in some kind of semblance of order. Crikey. To do list each day was starting with #1. BREATHE.
There are so many ways to get support, but the system that worked for me before was to have an au pair. And suddenly I didn’t know if I could EVER go there again.
I’ve been scared. I’ve been scared about having someone new in our home. I’ve been questioning my ability to choose worthy people. I’ve been worrying that maybe I do too much and I should back it up a little, and then I realize that the too much is washing, dishes, picking up dog poo and unrealistically expecting my new system to cut it like the old system (which although I didn’t make it sound that hot, had a couple of other people in it), and that my girls will understand my underlying stress because I’m trying to do the best by them. That’s not fair. The only fun thing about picking up dog poo is Miss 3 does it with me with the mini wheel barrow, and she wheels it from pile to pile, and I scoop it in with the broken shovel. And she tells everyone she helps me with “dog poo collection”. (By the way the dog poo job is not realistically something I expect anyone else to do, except my biggest girl who brought the new puppy who owns 70% of the dog poo (sorry honey, I just haven’t found another way to mention this to you so I’m doing it via my blog)).
I told a Mum at school (while I was rushing in to pick up Miss 5 and Miss 10 and get to netball) the other day the short version of the au pair nightmare (the long version is getting boring, and has received enough airplay and can’t be told whilst rushing school pick up) and then said “but I’m OK, I just feel a bit busy this week (like a peak hour freeway in the biggest city in the world busy), and I’ll just have to get a new one”. And she laughed and said “what a man or an au pair?”. Once again, thank god for Gap Year. But if I’m honest I can’t take a gap year from au pairs. Of the four I’ve had three quarters have been THA BOMB. I’m still going to write a guide on how to get an au pair. Sometimes the worst choices can teach the best lessons. I’m guessing I’ll apply this to men too when I get a bit further down the track.
So – moving right along – today I think I found our next au pair. And I’ve asked all the right questions, and she’s given the best responses, and when the three youngest girls “interviewed” her on Skype today and Miss 3 said “do you want to come and live in my world” and she said “I would love to come and live in your world! I would really love that”. And suddenly there is time frame within which I can work, knowing that doing the best for my girls and our family requires me to move right along. What was stopping me was not all the possibilities of what’s possible, but one past nightmare. Just one. I’m guessing I’ll apply this to men too when I get a bit further down the track.
I went on a girls night last night with 4 of my lovelies, and we ate amazing Italian food, laughed and talked so much we didn’t notice the restaurant empty and then went for “just one dance” (which I tried to boycott by some random memory from the one nightmare, and they wouldn’t let me not come) and a man/boy (well he looked about 13 and had acne still) did some really smooth and a little bit raunchy Dirty Dancing style dancing with me for one slow song at the karaoke night at the pub (I know RIGHT?).
We had a sleepover at our friends’ house and today we spent all afternoon with my sister and her family (eating mostly) and my life doesn’t feel so busy. I even watched a movie during the day! I put clothes in the dryer when we got home even though it’s not raining. I put the girls to bed and started to write. I’m getting up early to sit in the peace and drink tea and plan my week.
It seems when you support yourself with everything that is possible, suddenly you are just breathing anyway.