Earlier this week Nick and I were sitting down to dinner when he asked me this question:
‘What do you look forward to?’
He wasn’t asking me about the big things like holidays, house extensions or our future life plans. He meant the little things. Nick looks forward to a lot. Strangely he is a person who looks forward to his job, he looks forward to solving the problems that his clients send him, he enjoys working on his own projects at home, he relishes his morning commute when the city is quieter and he can indulge in podcasts and music, all the while getting lost in his own thoughts. He looks forward to coming home to me and the kids (at least that’s what he says) and he delights in reading the bedtime story to the kids (currently Harry Potter).
But what do I look forward to? I have no job (at least not a paid one but I do work pretty hard), I have no commute (apart from the intense rush of the school run), I have no projects (expect trying to figure out new ways to get vegetables into the kids’ diets).
When Nick asked me the question the first things that sprung to mind were all the things I don’t look forward to. I hate it when my kids fight me in the morning about getting dressed for school – we do it everyday, why is it always such a shock? I hate the anxiety inducing stress of trying to get out of the house on time and getting the kids to school fully dressed, somewhat clean and with everything they need for the day. I hate that I only have a couple of hours to get all the chores done before I have to go and get Eloise from nursery whilst also caring for a baby who just wants to be held, to chat and drink milk (resulting in all the chores not getting done). I hate that I have very little time for me, to think about things, to sew, read, write, bake. I don’t have much headspace between looking after the kids, maintaining the house and keeping track of our money and calendar.
Instead of just saying all this and leaving it there, I decided to keep thinking. There must be something I look forward to.
Turns out I look forward to a lot. I love waking up and having cuddles with sweet baby Martha, she is so full of joy first thing in the morning and it melts my heart. I actually relish our short mornings alone together where we can get to know each other and have some peace. I love picking Eloise up from nursery and seeing her beaming smile when she catches my eye as I enter the classroom. I delight in hearing about her morning, counting the house numbers as we walk home and racing her to the front door. I love making lunch together and seeing her get more and more independent at preparing her own food. I also love when she asks for help (makes me feel needed). I look forward to dinner time when the kids and I sit down together and I get to hear all about Rufus’s day. I like bedtime when Rufus lets me have a cuddle and he’s all warm and cosy. I enjoy my evenings with Nick where we talk about our days, put the world to rights and binge on tv. I LOVE my bedtime where I can climb into my bed and allow myself to relax for the first time all day.
In the story Pollyanna, she plays a game called the glad game. It’s a game where even on your worst day you have to think of one good thing that you’re glad about. During my darkest days of depression and PTSD I always tried to play that game with myself. It was never an easy game for me during those days and if I’m honest it’s not always easy now (motherhood is hard, sometimes thankless and always full of anxiety) but looking at the list I’ve curated above I think I can honestly say, I have a good life and lots to be glad about.
I’m sure that to many friends of mine my life may seem small, and quiet with few holidays, rarely a night out and not many ‘instagrammable’ moments but I wouldn’t change it, not one bit.
(Well, it would be nice if the kids slept a bit later in the mornings.)