On top of life with little people there is also just a hell of a lot going on in this stage of life – everyday, all the time. I continually find my self saying “after this” we will have some more time or some down time – but after “this” there is always something else. (And at those rare times when there is not something else – what do you know – a child will get sick!) I know our family are very fortunate; foremost, we have each other, and we have our health. Overall we live a busy, exciting, effortless life. I know I would not want it any other way – we have created this – but it is often exhausting. And I think so many of us are in the same boat.
At our stage / age we are finding partners and getting engaged and married. If we are lucky we are having babies, and more babies; and with this comes many long days and sleepless nights. And we face hormones and breastfeeding and post baby bodies. (and that’s only scratching the surface) We are buying houses and selling houses and moving and moving again and renovating. [I keep saying I want to build a house next – what am I even thinking?!] We may be leaving friends and family behind. We are continually taking on more and more. We are changing careers or climbing the career ladder. We are taking maternity leave and then finding our feet and striving for a balance upon returning to work. We are simply working too much. We are travelling as much and as often as we can – we are trying to hold onto our freedom and we are excited by the adventure and respite from the ordinary. We are still trying to find what we really want to do. And we are finding ourselves all over again as a wife and/or mummy. We are making new friends. We are giving up our past interests. We are trying to find time for our partner and other relationships; sometimes we are simply trying to stop these relationships from falling apart. And then there are our little people continually changing us and our life; taking over our lives with their endless energy and needs; challenging us and causing us to question our every decision and action – but growing our lives and filling our hearts everyday.
My daughter has lived in more homes than years she is old and we have now moved away from Sydney, and all the comforts of home, to start a new chapter in Cairns. We love to travel and we longed for the adventure but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It was not a decision taken lightly – aside from leaving my family and friends and Craig’s job, the other big factor was the kids upbringing, the opportunities or lack of and what they will or will not be exposed to. We lived a great life in Sydney; my parents were there, my friends were there, our jobs were there. I had grown up there and it was completely comfortable for me. We had a good – and potentially great – house in a nice area, close to the beach. We could have lived “happily ever after” there and had more than many people ever dream of. But, as they say, if you never go you will never know…
I must say that so far there are a lot of positives – topping my list, other than the warmth, is the fact that I can drive into town (yes, if you come from Sydney or another major city Cairns is like a big country town) in 10 minutes and park pretty much anywhere, without paying, or paying very little. For someone like me who doesn’t love driving and hates parking this is a huge plus! My first impression – and let’s get this clear, I am still very new here – is that the city is small enough to be completely accessible but still big enough to have any facility you need. Ok so it lacks the abundance of everything in Sydney but I would like to hope that may be a good thing; good for the soul. And let’s be honest, now that I have two little people in tow, how often do I really make the most of many of the things that Sydney has to offer. Nb. I was living on the Northern Beaches, or “insular peninsula”. My impression is that Cairns does have all the “good” bits we need – people, activities, shops, cafes, facilities, events – just fewer of them. It’s small enough that you find what you are looking for pretty quickly. Cairns also has the spectacular Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep. And lots of palm trees. And butterflies. I love the butterflies.
So, about it not being easy… My partner works long hours including a lot of weekends plus travels. He probably averages four or five evenings a week at work plus at least one week a month away. He also works at least part of most weekends so we are definitely lacking in the family and quality time department. A big part of the appeal of moving up here was to gain some more quality/family time but to put it bluntly, it’s been quite the opposite thus far. Throw in the fact that I have zero support and it makes for a bit of a let down on the home front. For all of us. Which is a big thing. But it IS very early days; we are definitely not throwing in the towel. I know there are many people in much harder situations than us, but I guess it’s just not exactly what we had hoped or planned for – at least yet.
I would like to think that I am not usually one to complain, and outwardly (at least) will be positive as much as possible but lets just say I have been having a few moments lately! [Could you have guessed?!] The last thing I want this blog to be is a platform for me to whine about my little [people] problems which can not even be compared to any real problems of the world. But I guess to establish who I am and where I am at there is a certain amount of venting to do to begin with. Funnily enough the tough days or weeks disappear just as quickly as they appeared and even before I have finished this blog I feel like, overall, things are looking up.
I’m not silly – I was expecting challenges, and bad days and weeks, on both the little people journey and the relocation journey, but that doesn’t make the hard weeks any easier. I also know the main reason for my madness is simply – the little people – we are going through a tough phase! We are going through a phase of never being happy; of tears and tantrums over everything. Fighting over everything. Dramas every evening. The lovely or loving moments seem more limited – and I’m having a lot of “I love my kids but I don’t really like you right now” moments. Which of course is not how I want to be feeling. Oh and when I don’t like my kids – guess what?! I don’t like myself more – #mummyguilt! I just want everything and everyone to be the best it / they can be – is that too much to ask?! I guess – like many of us – I WANT IT ALL.
Luckily this past week or two a couple of things happened to help me feel more at ease with my children and the current situation. Firstly – daddy came home (from his most recent trip away) and I saw how instantly life was better. The kids were better behaved, presumably because they are not constantly fighting for my attention, and of course because they simply long for Daddy to come home. They love Daddy – and life is just better when we are all together! Next – we made some friends! We have met a lot of lovely people up here and some will potentially, in time, become our friends. But these things do take time; I am completely OK with that and definitely not one to throw myself into groups of people purely for the fact of having a social circle. On the flip side, being in this situation does force you to make more of an effort. We have been to kids’ birthday parties. We have a great chat at the football. I run into other mothers at the playground. We are out doing a lot. I have been to the odd school function. But last weekend, when we had a BBQ with another family, it was a turning point – not only was it a relief that it went well and we were making some friends, but most of all I simply realised just how important it is to have friends to talk too; friends to sit back and have a laugh and a wine with while you ignore the kids running around like crazy little people; friends to make you feel like you are doing ok after all.
Strangely – even amongst all the tears and tantrums of late – I do feel more calm, more focused and more content. There is something about a fresh start that is, well, refreshing. I am enjoying a lot of Cairns life – and for those of you planning a visit – more on the places to visit and things to do with the little people in another blog soon! Jo x