Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Taking Control

I'm a list maker. I have a notepad attached to my fridge, I always carry a diary around in my handbag and I am obsessed with the Wunderlist app for iPhone. The reason I am a list maker is because I'm a bit of a control freak. I'm someone who always needs to have a plan. I often find myself panicking over situations that haven't happened yet. Envisioning fall outs that don't end up coming. I stress about things when they don't need to be stressed about. Life has been a a little crazy for me recently. The control I feel so passionate about has been running away from me. I've always been proud of maintaining control in my life. Proud of being a good mum, of providing for Ava financially on my own without any help, of being the main caregiver yet still managing to work a couple of days a week. Of dealing with the temper tantrums, the potty training, the fact she won't sleep in her own bed and the constant heart-wrenching sobs for her Daddy without turning into a Nescafe-snorting alcoholic.

It's easy to post a constant stream of pictures on your Instagram of gorgeous looking cocktails and arty shots of burgers. You can tweet carefree jokes and blog about all the exciting things you have been up to. You can make your life sound like it's a laugh a minute. And in all honesty, compared to the things some other people in the world are going through right now, it actually is.

But I'd be lying if I said things hadn't been slipping a little. 

That little girl of mine who I love so dearly has been hard to deal with and difficult. She's been petulant and whiny. Stamps her feet. Refuses to do what she is told. Screams and sobs for her Dad constantly. Even tells me how much she prefers him to me. And it's breaking my heart into pieces. And when she sobs for her Dad for the millionth time that day sometimes it's all I can do not to scream back at her to just go and flaming well live with him. Not that I ever would. But those are the days that I need an extra big glass of wine when I eventually get her to bed. The guilt at breaking up a family never really leaves you and I am constantly on the look out for signs of the devastation I have caused. For the delayed aftermath telling me what a mess I made of everything. The fear that living between two homes has finally taken it's toll. Deep down I know that even the Walton kids were a royal pain in the ass when they were 2 going on 3. But sometimes it's almost easier just to keep telling yourself that it's your fault. That you are a bad parent.

I'm tired all the time. It actually took another person to point out to me that 'I'm exhausted' is pretty much my opening line in any given conversation. And when they did point it out I realised something almost instantly - I've been tired for a year. I've been exhausted since Ava and I first moved into this flat on our own. I'm not a great sleeper anyway and I over-compensate with caffeine. Ava is at an age now where she is full of chat. Her little head is full of amazing questions (usually why) and that tiny brain of hers never stops whirring. It's great but it means that by the time I get her to bed I find myself staying up just that little bit later. Enjoying the silence so much that I end up watching something I didn't want to watch in the first place. And then not even really watching it because I've actually been glued to every social media app on my phone for most of the night. I used to be the girl who always put her phone on do not disturb, who never took it into the bedroom with her and who was rarely awake after 11pm.

I'm opting for late night red wine, chocolate and crisp snacking. I'm reaching for salt-laden treats and midnight cheese boards because I just feel a bit pissed off right now. I want to get back to what I do best. Cooking good, wholesome healthy meals in the evening. Having long bubble baths. A glass of red if I feel like it. Then losing myself in a really good book with a hot chocolate or herbal tea and a scented candle in bed. Boring as it sounds, it's what makes me happiest.

Every single part of my life right now feels like I am hitting a wall in some way. Money is the tightest it has ever been. I do not need to be buying some weird and unheard of ingredient in Whole Foods that costs £6 and that I will probably never use again. Ava does not need a new Peppa Pig mug or Little Princess book every single time we go to the supermarket. I love socialising but I eat out with and without Ava too much. I could curb that. Every time something breaks in the flat I wonder how much it will cost to replace it and every time a letter comes through the door I get a sinking feeling wondering which bill I need to pay now. While Ava and I are not financially in trouble - it's a juggling act paying for nursery fees, food, bills and a car that constantly needs fixed and I could manage money a lot more wisely. 

Relationships have been something I have tried not to think about too much this past year. Dates have been fun, mostly meaningless. Flings have been the same. I've been careful not to bring anyone into Ava's life unnecessarily . Of late I find myself thrown between situations. Trying to work out what I want and feeling pressured into doing so. Finally facing up to very real fears I have about getting hurt. But also the realisation that there is nothing wrong with just wanting to have fun either. Scared to hurt people. Scared to mislead people but in truth, scared to love people too.

And so I'm a little bit out of sorts. Convinced I've put on weight and that nothing fits when the scales would disagree. Convinced the flat looks grimy and disgusting despite the fact I clean it all the time. Convinced Ava hates me when really, she is just 2. 

And so I am making lists.

And making the remainder of August into a proper chill out zone.

September is shaping up to be a pretty crazy little month. A fun little project that will be as hilarious for you lot as it will be terrifying for me  (my lips are sealed). There's two trips down to London and a couple of nights at the seaside. A certain special person in my life turns 3 and I get my Mama back from Cyprus for a whole two weeks.

And so I am formulating a plan. A plan to take it easy. To concentrate on spending some really good quality time with my girl and to getting some seriously early nights.

Because I am never going to find out what happens to Heathcliff & Cathy if I don't.

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