This morning it was brought to my attention that apparently I don’t take time for myself to do things that I enjoy. Of course my first reaction is defense, as it comes naturally. For one, I do take time for myself. Like right now! Im alone in the house, waiting for my sons to get dropped off from their weekend with their dad. The radio is playing, I have some tea I am sipping on, and I have my laptop. Isnt this considered doing something for myself? I have always loved listening to music and writing. When I was a kid, the only difference was there was no laptop or computer involved. Just a paper and a pen. Hidden away in my bedroom all alone where I preferred. No one bothered me there. I was safe.
Being a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me! With that being said, it is definitely the hardest job in the world! My world revolves around my children! When I wake up in the morning the first thing I think about is getting my sons fed. I then think about what we have to get done for the day, how to entertain them and all the other daily things that come up. Certainly I get overwhelmed some days. When the kids bicker and argue non stop I find myself extremely irritated and short tempered. Its a character flaw that Im always working on improving, however anyone would be irritable listening to children argue and fight for 8 hours. It comes with the job! But now that they are eight and a half years old, they are more independent. They play outside the majority of the time with their friends. I don’t have to change diapers anymore, or assist them in the bathroom. I don’t have to tie their shoes or get their coats on. I don’t have to pick their clothes out each morning and I don’t have to brush their teeth. My role as a mother has changed the last couple of years. So when they are off doing their own thing with their friends, or playing their DS games or building lego, I can catch up on the household chores, watch tv, write, work on my home business, or have a friend over! Those are things that I do when we are not doing an activity as a family. Isnt that considered having time to myself? I think so. At least I thought so! I consider myself on stand by. I am present and available for my sons whenever they need me at any time. Like the time they ran inside screaming and yelling MOOOOMMMMMM, and Brendan fell into my lap as soon as he saw me, crying in pain with a broken arm. Yes, I was having time to myself while they were playing outside with friends, but I was there in a heartbeat when they needed me. To me, this is a perfect life. I absolutely love being there for my sons. Every day I have them I thank God.
Last summer and the previous 3 years before, weren’t exactly this pleasant and joyful. My drinking had progressed and started becoming unmanageable. I began drinking earlier in the day, instead of waiting for them to go to bed at night. I started buying the bigger bottles instead of the small ones. My days started with trying to figure out how I would get through the day in somewhat of a fake happy state before I was able to sit on my couch with my drink. So lets face it, my drinking was my first priority. Not my sons, not my relationship with my boyfriend or family. Alcohol ruled my life. Even thinking that gets me emotional. It is absolutely baffling to think how insane I really was! And to think there are people who still believe its not a disease. Most people stop after experiencing something that is damaging to their life or health. Not an alcoholic. It didn’t matter how hung over I felt, how angry my family was or how many close calls I came to. I just wanted another drink. But I came to a point where I started needing the drink more than I wanted it. And that’s when I knew I was in trouble.
It took me 3 years, and 4 months into my sobriety after completing a set of steps, to be able to look at my sons baby pictures. I avoided them at all costs. I didn’t look at them on facebook, I tucked our photo album away in a box at the back of my closet. I burst into tears every time I looked at their baby photos. Tremendous guilt would come over me like an iron shield. I couldn’t bear to allow myself to remember the days when their dad and I were still together, unhappy, and how I wish I could go back and enjoy every moment just a little bit more. Those early years had wonderful moments, but it was also very tough and overwhelming. They grow so fast and all those times I sat depressed over my failing relationship instead of playing on the floor with my twin babies, I just couldn’t bare to let myself reminisce. And the guilt lingered when I became a single mother and became overwhelmed. My solution was to drink. It was a temporary relief. I felt guilty for every mistake I had ever made. I felt guilty for feeling guilty too much!
So maybe I could get out of the house more and start a hobby other than writing my blog, working on my home business and taking care of the household chores. I could take up yoga outside the home and join a class instead of doing it alone in my living room. Ive always enjoyed dancing, maybe I could take a jazz class. But if I were out enjoying those hobbies I wouldn’t be available for my sons at any given moment if they needed me. I owe them the rest of their lives, to be the best mother that I can possibly be. Each day I stay sober, I am making it up to them for those nights I missed them calling for me because they had a bad dream because I was passed out drunk and the mornings that I stayed in bed too long because I was hung over. I owe them! Maybe Im okay with being here at home, ready for anything they need. Maybe I am not ready to forgive myself for putting them second. Maybe, just maybe, I am content with being just a mom, and Amanda part time. They will continue to grow, and become more independent. There will be a day when they don’t come home at all because they are out with their girlfriend on their first vacation without parents. That will be my time to focus on Amanda. Ill have plenty of time to do activities, hobbies and hang out with friends then. Who knows, one day soon I may forgive myself and feel worthy of doing more for me. But today, right at this moment, I am not ready yet. Amanda can wait, I just want to be mom.