I am sitting outside in the relative cool of the evening, playing chicken with the mosquitoes. The sky is hazy with smoke and I cannot see the hills beyond the suburbs like I usually can. I don’t know where the fire is.
It’s nice to take some time to sit alone and think. February is my favourite month and I find myself thinking of February’s past. A lot has happened during the last 12 months. It’s been quite a year.
February 2012 marked the beginning of the pregnancy which gave us Joel. He is three months old now and we are all enjoying him as babies are meant to be enjoyed – that is, he is being thoroughly lavished with attention from us. Lucky boy with lots of siblings to fuss over him.
We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary last week in what was one of the toughest weeks of our marriage so far I reckon. I suppose it’s because our marriage might now be considered a petulant teen. Or it could just be cracks showing the strain of the extra weight of a new baby, a new country, and some stressful issues all at once.
Moving back to Australia has been a good move for our family and I don’t regret it for a moment, but at the same time I wouldn’t call it easy. Not that others don’t have it harder. But still…I took some strain this year.
Probably the hardest thing has been the kids missing their friends and lacking buddies to play with during the week. Because we home school and they don’t get a ready made bunch of friends at school, making friends is something we have to be proactive about. There are plenty of active home schooling groups here with friendly people and fun, interesting activities, but I just haven’t had the energy to consistently get involved and really get connected. This also means we haven’t had the support that I think is essential to home schooling working, especially with a large family. It does take time. I know this. And we gave it just over 6 months. We still sorely miss our NZ friends.
I kept thinking that soon I will feel better…ever moving the goal posts…”it will be easier when the baby is born”…”it will get better once we’re through the new born stage”….”I just need a good night’s sleep”…”we’re just having a rough week”.
But there were too many rough weeks in a row, and we always said that we would regularly assess what is the best educational choice for the children . I haven’t had the energy to do the home schooling thing well, and that just isn’t fair on the kids. D & I also struggled to find time to be together to talk and were taking strain. I came to the sobering and a little painful conclusion that I am burnt out. Its the kind of tired that takes more than a few good sleeps to fix.
So we decided it would be best for everyone if we enrolled the children in school. The boys started last week and Emma will start next term. I don’t know if it will be permanent. I can’t think too far ahead right now. But so far I can say that it was definitely a good decision. They are settling in really well especially considering this is their first experience of school.
Actually now with just three at home during the day I really don’t know myself. It’s been great though and when the others come home I am excited to see them which is the kind of Mum I know is inside me but who has been missing in action for a while.
I am consciously taking time to look after myself. I feel like I need to recover and that will take time and kindness. I have started journalling my way through to the other side. I might share some of that with you as I go.