Yesterday, I sat at the table and I cried through lunch.
Not one of those snotty, bellowing, heart-wrenching cries. No. Silent tears dribbled down my face and plopped into my lap – I was tissue-less.
Yesterday, one child after another tried to console me at the dinner table and one child after another faced me with a just a little despair in their eyes. When is Mama finally going to get better?
I recognized their despair – had they have been able to see through my water-logged eyes it would have been mirrored right back at them.
Five weeks ago today, I awoke, as usual, but it took me 45 whole minutes to be able to force my body from the bed.
I had run into a wall.
This is my third burnout in five years.
It took me every drop of willpower I’ve ever owned to throw off my quilt, push myself up and place my feet, slowly and continuously, one in front of the other and whisper, “It’s time to get up…” to an unsuspecting six-year-old who was due to go to Kindergarten.
Time was running past me and if I couldn’t motivate myself enough, she’d have to stay at home, and that would mean that I’d have to look after her.
If I could just get her out of the door, drive the short distance in the car, then I could return to my bed and sleep…
She was so good. So obedient. She dressed herself without much fuss and got her shoes on.
Which was more than I could do.
I managed to drag a scruffy pair of joggers over my nightie and shove my arms inside my winter jacket. Looking back, I think I tramped through the snow in my slippers.
No one gave my shamed, exhausted face a second look as I accompanied her from the car to the door. And I was truly grateful for that.
I have spent the last five weeks sleeping and crying and struggling to chew the food my husband cooked for me because, quite simply, it felt like so much effort. I’ve almost drowned in daytime telly. I’ve battled headaches and dizzy turns and stuffed myself with caffeine so I could keep a bleary eye on where an ADHD child and a six-year-old were bouncing to.
And I’ve felt very, very sorry for myself.
I’ve dodged dentists. Avoided the drip, drip, drip of the anaesthetists drugs because I feared that if they put me chemically to sleep for my yearly procedure, my body might not actually bother to wake up. I’ve bypassed blood tests. And just generally avoided my usual multiple monthly visits to doctors’ waiting rooms because I couldn’t get there and anyway, I had no intention of adding various other ailments to my wrecked body.
Except, that is, when my youngest succumbed to gastroenteritis and couldn’t even keep a splash of water down, leading to “blurry vision”. My husband raced home and I rallied myself for a brief moment, as he drove and I held a blue bucket under her nose.
Luckily, she was classed as ‘probably infectious’; so we sneakily side-stepped the germy waiting room.
I’m not a patient ill person. I hate lazing around. I am a person who constantly needs to do something.
It is starting to dawn on me that that is probably one of the reasons I landed in this situation in the first place.
It’s been five weeks, but today, at last, I felt a little different. A little less tired than yesterday. It was a little bit easier to climb out of bed this morning. I laughed instead of cried. I hope, I really, really hope that I’ve finally reached a turning point. That when the children head back to school next week and it’s all ‘action stations’ once again, I’m still laughing, still getting out of bed and not going to the Kindergarten in my bloody nightie and slippers.