Desperate for Approval and Recognition

There was once a dark time when the children were young, and my husband worked in the Big Smoke. He left early and returned late, and during some of the darkest times he slept in our spare room to get a “better night’s” sleep.

Communication was frustrating. We were time-poor and we were tired. I was tired because my boys were feeding every three hours come night or day. My husband was tired of the mess, the chaos, the unclean surfaces.

A spiral of disappointment and tiredness pursued and to be honest I don’t think we were even talking; not properly, anyway. His shoulders were carrying the burden of work demands: projects, meetings, and deadlines. Mine: twin babies. Neither one of us giving each other credit for what we were both doing, but instead licking our wounds, feeling unappreciated, and most definitely becoming very, very defensive about it all.

To this day I am not sure how we got through it, or when it all changed. It could have been a seasonal change; it might have been, and was probably most likely to have been, a final significant change in the children’s routine because of their age, thank God!

I found these days really tough. Lack of sleep, lack of appreciation, lack of affection (I know, as a woman I am not alone in this). However, at the time I also felt isolated, trapped, and unsupported. It’s not easy for a career girl to switch to the glamours of motherhood: from the clarity of black and white, where policies, frameworks, and organisational skills coupled with hard work create a foundation for success. Rewards, pats on the back, promotions, and most importantly: pay days!

Polar shift…

Welcome to Motherhood: the place where inconsistency is the new consistent. Where you feel like your emotions are tested to the limit most days, and other days you feel like you either barely, or nearly, made it. Personal assistant to babies and toddlers; toddlers who purse their lips closed to the ‘food aeroplane’. Make up rules: “yes” means no, and “no” means yes; have tantrums about Weetabix not having corners, as they test your organisation skills by un-organising the house quicker than you can tidy. A seven-days-a -week, 24-hour rollercoaster of exhaustion.

Yay. Sign me up.

Reality of the evening: In walks my husband. No energy left to even greet him hello. No time to stop and hug. Babies are crying. The toddler has smeared pasta over the walls. That moment of being judged. The look of: “what have you done today?“; that look of disapproval, or disappointment .

As we look deeply searching into each other’s eyes for a fraction of a second I hear my inner voice. It screams: “today, we have survived”.

Then he goes. My moment lost. The moment gone. No energy to speak. And so, the pattern continues.

We were lucky. We made it through this tough patch. We have spoken of it and resolved our issues. We have made our peace.

– Sarah x