I thought I would write this post because although I hope not a lot of people will be able to relate to it, I know some people will.
I’m originally from Essex, but now I live in Cheshire, nearly 300 miles away from my hometown. I don’t get a lot of visits from my family to be honest, my Dad visits about four times a year and calls me once or twice a month. My Nan used to visit four times a year, but she isn’t very well and now only makes a trip once or twice a year. The last time my Mum visited was over 18 months ago, so as you can tell generally we don’t get many visits from my family.
I didn’t really notice the lack of visitors at first, but then I used to speak to my grandmother once a week, we would talk about my grandad who had passed a few years before and I would tell her all about life in Cheshire. Sadly her dementia took over before I had Monkey, now she doesn’t remember me and the phone calls started to distress her, so I never call her anymore.
Now when I’ve had a really difficult day I don’t really know who to call, I don’t really have anyone to talk to and although I’m very lucky and have some really incredible friends – who would listen to me until the small hours if need be – it seems a lot to put on them.
I have tried explaining to people I’ve met since becoming a mum, how little support I have. I have explained that we were really lucky Mr. C’s brother wasn’t on call the night I was induced with Monkey, or else we may not have had anyone to look after Bear and I may have had to have done labour on my own. I spent two days in the hospital with Monkey after my labour with him (it wasn’t an easy labour either) and Mr. C could only visit me for four hours in those two days because there was nobody to look after Bear.
I find myself feeling envious of my mum friends sometimes. When they are having a difficult day, they can call their mum and have a chat. If they are having a difficult week, they travel down and stay with their parents for a few days to recuperate. When they are really struggling, their parents will drive for hours just to nip in for a coffee. I don’t really have that. We would travel down south more often, but the last time I went to visit my family, there wasn’t anywhere for us to stay and we ended up spending a few hundred pound on a hotel… so it isn’t exactly cheap to take a trip down south.
Despite being somewhat envious of my friends, I’m also incredibly proud of myself. Despite having such little help, I actually do a really good job raising the boys. I have days where I really struggle and I have days where I wonder whether I’m doing it all wrong, but I always keep going. I always drag us out of the house on little adventures, I always makes sure we eat good, healthy food, I always make sure the boys have activities to occupy them and I always make sure the boys are happy. I always try my best and even if the day goes a bit pear shaped, the fact I keep going is enough!
Recently a friend of mine sent me a talk that was held in her church about how sometimes we are put into certain situations, in order to be perfectly placed to help others. It really made me think about how I could use my situation to help other people and found a really wonderful volunteer scheme that gives parents who feel a bit isolated and children who are going through a difficult time, someone to talk to and someone to be there for them. I start the application process tomorrow, so perhaps the focus all along wasn’t what is difficult, but instead how to use that difficulty to help others.