Clear and present danger

Unconditional love, bless it

Only two days until The Cruise! A whole 18 nights with no responsibility, aside from ensuring the Sprogs don’t fall overboard. Absolutely nothing to do but relax. No beds to make, no rooms to tidy, no meals to prepare, no pots to scrub, no dirty clothes to wash, no homework to supervise … just endless time together as a family. To be honest, it’s making me slightly nervous. I’m worried that I’ve been using my household obligations as a crutch to avoid being present with my family. I don’t have time to muck around with the Sprogs because I have too many chores to do. But what if I secretly prefer it that way? It feels like I’m not really there as a parent. Husband is totally there, he’ll play Uno with the Sprogs in his pjs and ugg boots until seconds before guests arrive for lunch. The Sprogs are the centre of his universe every spare moment of the weekends. I flit around the edges. When I mentioned my lack of “presentness” to another mum, she replied, “I know what you mean.” Which I took as an acknowledgement she feels she’s not really there either. So maybe it’s a general mum fear rather than a screwed-up me fear. Though the screwed-up me thing doesn’t help. I’ve always spent more time in my head than in the real world. My brain is crowded with thoughts and feelings that I am incapable of expressing. Except when it comes to loving the Sprogs, thank heavens. I hug them, kiss them, tell them I love them constantly. With everyone else, the words and feelings are trapped in an iron-clad box near my heart. I constantly feel it, sitting leaden in my chest. It’s a burden I carry but can’t share. The blog has helped. I reveal pieces of me through it. But it drives Husband insane having to read how I’m feeling via my site, rather than hear it directly from me. Poor Sprog 1 has inherited my mute reserve. Information is released sparingly, often months after the event. I find it incredibly frustrating, ironically, having to prise the simplest details from her. But how do I help her to open up when I can’t do it myself?

Do you ever worry you’re not “present” enough as a mum? How do you connect with your family without neglecting the household basics? Why are men so much better at childs’ play? Bring on the free therapy, please …

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