Au pair, Change, Family, Loving yourself, Motherhood, Writing

On being low maintenance

So I’ve always prided myself on being a low maintenance kind of girl. Not demanding. Not needy. “Help me? No I’m fine, thanks. Can I do something for you?” And so, for the most part, I’ve attracted people (in particular men who I have relationships with) with absolutely NOTHING TO GIVE. Nothing. Nil. Zippo. And then I’m all like overwhelmed and unsupported and worn out and stuff.

My life in general is not full of takers. My life in general is full of the beautiful people who give me their honesty, their time, their stuff, their wisdom and their help (you know who you are, and you do not fit in the Zippo category. Ever. We totally have give and take going on like healthy humans!).

But sometimes I have such a hard time accepting all the giving. Like all those times. More times than less times.

A new giver has come into our world. I can tell because I’m all in a flap about it. I’m really uncomfortable.

Miss 6 caved my head in before school today. Again. Mornings like this one make me mad at mornings. Mornings when the second my children are dropped at school/day-care I feel relieved. When I can make a cup of tea and retreat to the calm, quiet space that is my office and instead of feeling calm and quiet I feel like screaming or crying, or a super ugly combination of both. What the fuck is a morning like that about?????

There’s an extra adult in our house who is so up for doing her job and caring about it. Miss 6 won’t get ready and won’t stop whinging and won’t embrace the day with any kind of grace. Miss 11 has a smart mouth. Miss 3 is super cute (she’s so out-competing Miss 6 at every turn. On purpose.) but the puppy who is as big as horse jumped on her face when she went outside to play and caused a ruckus. And then, the government agency that deals with families ran to confirm care arrangements with the girls and their Dad. Retrospectively. To clarify what may or my not have happened in the last 18 months. And right now, the last 18 months is SO LAST YEAR. Right now I have 100% full-time care of our children – physically, emotionally and financially- and I’ve been such a low maintenance ex-wife that I have not and do not ask for anything. And he’s not up for anything much right now.

Breathe.

Being low maintenance has got me a whole lot of sweet fuck all. Selfish people. Half-assed jobs half-completed. No financial security. Psycho mum in the mornings. Weepy little 6 year olds who don’t want to go to school. A background buzz of guilt. So here’s my commitment to myself.

There’s gonna be a whole lot more HIGH MAINTENANCE around here.

And funnily enough high maintenance is actually lower maintenance than low maintenance. It means you show up for yourself. It means you give a fuck about yourself and don’t selfishly do stuff all the time so other people need you, Ouch, I friggin hate that. That my value has been based on how much others need me. Truth is, others are fine without me and capable and clever and cared for and OK.

High maintenance means you go to the gym and yoga and for a walk in the morning, and breathe in the fresh air at the beach and have coffee with your friends, and have a bath once everyone is in bed and write when you need to write and sometimes just don’t have a clean house. It means you honour yourself and your schedule because you work from home, for yourself and your most precious resource is TIME. And you respect and value time and you help the people who are around you respect your time too. And you say ‘no’ if you can’t or if it doesn’t fit in without creating stress, and you ask for help when you need it, and you accept it when it’s offered by those who offer it. Accept graciously. And you don’t do guilt.

So here’s my hot tip of the week.

Low maintenance is more needy than high maintenance. Low maintenance is not going to get you love and support and someone who cherishes you. Low maintenance is going to attract someone with not much to give because you, my love, have all the giving covered.

Take your low maintenance crap and put a bomb in it. And notice how much less pressure there is.

You are capable and beautiful and amazing. That was never in question.

Sit on the couch and make your kids vacuum. They love it.

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