It would be good to just do this somewhere else for a bit

It would be good to just do this somewhere else for a bit

I know that all parents are exhausted. Sometimes we do it pretty tough, what with all the constant emotional output and the seemingly endless screaming and all that reminding and asking and begging and pleading could you PLEASE just take your shoes out of the FUCKING HALLWAY?

Parenting! Hilarious.

Do you know what else is hilarious? Divorce. It’s hilarious because you marry this person who turns out to be less helpful than if he wasn’t there at all, and so you leave him and then – get this – he hangs around every day. And you let him, because it’s nice that he wants to be with the kids all the time and you let him, because your boyfriend thinks he’s awesome and you let him, because what kind of person would you be if you told him to piss off but JESUS CHRIST WE ARE DIVORCED.

So I’m doing the Hokey Pokey with Struggle Town and I’m not in love with it. There is no one thing in particular that is sending me to the asylum but the combination of all the things at once has me seriously frayed at the edges. On a day to day basis I’m fine, I’m good, I’m excellent, but then this morning I had to do ten minutes of work before I took the girls to holiday programme and instead of just letting me do it they stood on either side of me and just yelled in my ears “GEORGIA ATE THE LAST BIT OF CEREAL” and “LILY TOOK MY SOCKS ALL THE REST OF THE SOCKS ARE DIRTY” and I yelled at them to please, please just go away for five minutes while I do this and they said okay but they didn’t mean it because one minute later they were back and yelling again.

Then we got in the car and went to holiday programme, and after I dropped them off I sat in my car and the physical manifestation of my incredible guilt just poured off my face for thirty minutes.

When I got home, the animals decided to have a go at it. The dogs barked. The cats meowed. The dogs tried to eat the cats. The cats took my loaf of bread off the bench and hid it. The cats ate the meat I put out to defrost. The dogs pissed inside. The cats tripped me over. Eight times. I stubbed my toe trying to avoid tripping over the cats.

And then I sat in front of my computer and looked at places I could be where these things aren’t. Because quite seriously I keep saying to people that I know, “I am pretty much at the end of my tether and not coping,” and they say “Aw yeah, I know how you feel,” and I am sure they do but if we’re just all not coping together then we’re still MEGA SCREWED. All of us. The not coping isn’t shared. It’s just a bunch of people not coping at the same time.

So I want to know what you have done that’s helped you go from definitely not coping to only mildly not coping. It isn’t a workload thing and it isn’t a parenthood thing and it could be a dog pissing inside thing but really I think it’s just that I haven’t been on a holiday for 8 years and even that was to Adelaide. I’m seriously considering just booking out a house at the beach for a whole month and working from there, because I can, so why wouldn’t I? This is where I want to go. But will it be relaxing, or just relocating the not coping? Please tell me the answers.

Would you go with a stranger from the internet and just be quiet and relaxed in a house at the beach? I think you should come.

  • Vicky

    October 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm Reply

    Where do I sign up??? I’m in like Flynn Hun. I have been having moments where running away feels like a wonderful idea. I’m tired and cranky and over everyone and everything.

    You won’t even know I’m there. Promise.

  • Kelly Exeter

    October 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm Reply

    I think it would be relocating the not coping. I wish I had some answers for you but it took me a solid year to move from losing my mind to living an actual ‘life less frantic’


    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm Reply

      On one hand, I think you may be right. On the other, can it really be any more stressful than it already is? At least this way there is the seaside, right?

      • Anna

        October 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm Reply

        I think you should take that holiday here in WA. There are plenty of us to show you a good time (not if the raunchy variety).

  • bigwords

    October 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm Reply

    Definitely book a place at the beach for a month. A change of scenery is amazing for the soul. You also need to get away BY YOURSELF. Even just for the night. Do nothing – watch movies in bed, take naps, get room service. Those things will help. And then when you get back home again – do something regularly just for you – pilates, book club, boxing, sewing – I don’t know what you like – just do something just for you. Sometimes you’ve just got to stop giving to others and give just to you xx

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm Reply

      This is why you are my favourite (and the Adelaide thing). I do need to be by myself. What I didn’t realise about having kids when you’re 20 is that it means you spend your whole adult life with kids on you and around you and at you and whilst I obviously LOVE them, I can’t remember the last time I was really alone for more than a couple of hours.

      I like all of those things, so they are excellent suggestions and you are excellent.

    • Sara Foley

      October 6, 2012 at 6:28 am Reply

      Yes, spot on. If I find I really can’t cope anymore, I take myself away for a night or two by myself, somewhere quiet and beautiful. In between I make sure I do little things for myself like yoga, or reading just for fun, or writing stuff because it makes me happy. It’s a balance, you see. All work and no play makes all women go crazy.

  • Debyl1

    October 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm Reply

    I think we all need to get away and replenish.
    Too often we put ourselves last and we end up running out of fuel as it all gets used up on our loved ones.
    When we are away from the everyday our minds get a break from the mundane and the problems we have to deal with on a daily basis.
    We get a stength back that allows us to then be able to once again cope with what life throw at us.
    I hope you do get a chance of a lovely well earned break and then feel you can cope again.
    Wishing all you need comes your way.xx

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm Reply

      I agree – I am really just in need of replenishment. I feel much better today. Thanks Deb x

  • Hannah

    October 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm Reply

    Go, go now.
    Leave your pets, take your kids and go breathe.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm Reply

      But who will do ALL THE THINGS and THE CARING?

      No, right you are. Not today, but very shortly. This side of Christmas.

  • belsmith09

    October 3, 2012 at 7:08 am Reply

    I got a cleaner and a babysitter. The cleaner comes once a week and now I don’t have to worry about mopping the floors. Other than picking stuff up off the floor e.g.weetbix, pasta, whatever, I never worry about the floors anymore, she can do it. And the babysitter comes for 2 hours on a Sat morning so I can do what I want to do after a busy week of working at work & at home e.g. get a manicure, make some cupcakes without getting interrupted every 30 seconds, buy some stuff down the shops to make a nice weekend dinner & do some preparation before she leaves.

    Oh, and I get my normal weekly groceries delivered. Services are where it’s at baby! Get someone else to do the stuff that takes up too much of your precious time, and it takes the pressure off, allowing some time to just…breathe

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm Reply

      Hey Bel! You make a great point. At the moment the only help we get is the lawnmower guy, and even then I lie in bed and listen to the roar of the machine and think how nice it will be to go outside and see the lawn looking neat. I should do more of these things. Bathrooms and kitchen especially. Thanks x

  • Claire

    October 3, 2012 at 8:11 am Reply

    How nice that the divorcee hangs around to see the kids. While he’s at it, why doesn’t he take them for a month while you go live at the beach ALONE. Having a complete and utter change of scenery can do some good – I think the problems will only follow you if you make it a permanent change but don’t investigate the nature of the problem. You’re probably already doing this, but seeing a therapist can help with that.

    Also, not to bag out your friends, but when someone says to me ‘I am seriously at the end of my tether, I am struggling and I don’t know what to do’, the appropriate response isn’t meant to be about my own problems, it’s meant to be one of real concern and asking more about THEM. Because that friend could be in serious trouble.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm Reply

      Haha! Yes, that could happen. In theory.

      I do see a therapist regularly, and that helps, but it doesn’t change the current situation, which has become quite stressful (probably only in its persistence).

      I feel there may be some ranting yet to come with regards to the friend situation. We (people in society) invest so much energy in telling people that it’s okay to say we’re not coping and that we can start a conversation and all you need to do is ASK, but sometimes when the question is too hard …

  • Stacy

    October 3, 2012 at 11:33 am Reply

    I am taking my boyfriend down to the Mornington Peninsula because he desperately needs to get away from everything for a week. Its necessary that we leave Tassie or else he just ends up filling his time off with social engagements and wearing himself out. Except we’re not staying in a beautiful house, we’ll be camping on the Rye foreshore, which I’m terribly excited about because it reminds me of my childhood.

    Of course, I lured him to Melbourne with this promise and now he has to meet all my friends and family while we’re there. Muaha!

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm Reply

      I don’t understand why people would LEAVE Tassie and go to somewhere beautiful, but I’m sure he will love it :p

  • Jodie

    October 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm Reply

    This is my very first time to your blog (thank you edenland). And I can’t believe it. I just said to my husband last night – I’m not coping well with the kids – I need a holiday. So to read your blog – while it isn’t going to make me cope any better – makes me feel like I am not completely crap and that other people out there are going through exactly the same thing at exactly the same time.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm Reply

      Sorry you’re feeling like this too Jodie, it is the worst. I am definitely here and able to offer sympathies, if not a solution x

  • Johanna, The Zigazag Mag

    October 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm Reply

    Feel for you, and nothing I can say to make you feel better, it can only come from inside you when it’s ready to come out as good. Oh dear, we’ve all been there as parents, no matter what our situation, rich, poor or holiday-less. Take heart in that the infuriating aspects of your day have been magically transformed into black comedy – you’re good at that :) and that counts as therapy in itself. I hope your real life friends are being supportive and don’t forget how quickly time with young children actually passes – one day you’ll look back and probably want that time back. I know I do sometimes.
    To make you smile – I hope … I had a wry smile on my face as I remembered back to when my kids were tiny. We had been posted to the Far East and were in a flat the size of a postage stamp in Hong Kong. Our two wild children were up-rooted from pre-school and fresh out of a lovely empty space in Lesotho, Africa. In Hong Kong, one of them continually tried to make a bid for freedom and like Spiderman attempt to climb off the 11th floor balcony. The other had turtles in a jar that kept dying so we kept on having funerals. We couldn’t afford the impossibly priced pre-schooling so I was on my own, in a skyrise appartment without a friend or family member anywhere near, with only Spiderman and an Undertaker for company. And when I cried (and cried) my dear hubby’s concerned response, was … “Stop behaving like a spoilt white woman and get on with it!”

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm Reply

      Oh Johanna, that sounds horrendous! You brave woman, you have my eternal respect.

  • carolyn

    October 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm Reply

    Hi Anna, I am with Claire on this one. Don’t let your sanity tip over the edge. If the ex really wants to be with the kids, then surely he can take a week off work and do daddy duty, it’s not a big ask. And if the boyfriend likes hanging with the ex, then he can help out too. You could even turn it into a regular arrangement every school holidays for a week? In fact that’s a great idea, maybe i should get a divorce so i can do that! Go to Broome for a week and really learn how to relax quickly. I used to love going to Broome once a year for an instant chillax (pre kids) and i’m thinking it could be on the cards again soon, i’ll just have to call my lawyer to arrange it. PS, just found you thanks to Eden. x

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm Reply

      Thanks for your thoughts Carolyn. You’re right about the ex, of course. But how to cope with the mother guilt?

      • sandra

        October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm Reply

        Anna, I have to agree with Carolyn. Forget about the mummy guilt – it will always be there – i know from experience of having adult kids. Leave the kids with their Dad (they will have a ball) and run away for a week or so and just do whatever you want, when you want – its all your choice. Just remember to breathe in and out and be kind to yourself. xx

  • Kel

    October 6, 2012 at 9:16 am Reply

    I love your writing Anna. I feel like a groupie. I don’t know if this is helpful, but I found that learning something new was a great way to ignore other thoughts for a while. You can’t think about anything else except what you’re doing at that exact moment – of course the pre-requisite is that you have some time on your own, and something to learn. For me it was photography, I completely lose myself and all concept of time when I’m behind a camera, I’ve heard other people say the same about pottery or painting – you’re a writer and creative, maybe you should spend some time being a beginner at something, give yourself permission to be bad at something.

    I don’t have kids but I have siblings and in-law siblings who do and it was family tragedies (yep, plural) and trying to be awesome for everyone that made me look for something I could be bad at for a little while. We all know you’re perfect :) But you don’t have to be.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm Reply

      Oh Kel, thank you. It makes a difference to know that there is something to go to that will tick that box. I love photography too, I don’t do nearly enough.

      As for finding something I’m not good at … well, that seems like a stretch ;) No, you’re completely right, I think that would really help me. x

  • Carli

    October 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm Reply

    I feel like this so often too and unfortunately I get similar responses when I mention that I’m not coping. I wish I had answers. I adore my eldest sister and a night out eating overpriced food and drinks or seeing live music sometimes helps but it’s not enough. Particularly when you enjoy your own company.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm Reply

      Agreed Carli – it’s the time just in my own company that I miss the most. Just to read, write, sit, think. It’s so loud in my brain at the moment!

  • Jodi Gibson aka Lipgloss Mumma

    October 8, 2012 at 10:22 am Reply

    I so often think I need to just get away. Just a weekend. Just me. But it never happens. It never will. Life just keeps rolling on and I pick myself up, drag my butt along, crawl whatever.
    For the past five years my life has been a bit like an unkept garden that I have been tending. (And mind you I am so not a garden person). It’s a big job, but weed by weed I have been getting rid of the stuff that makes it messy and planting new growth that I am just now starting to see bloom. One day my garden will flourish, I just know it. Weed by weed, seed by seed.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm Reply

      Thanks Jodi :) It’s nice to know I’m not the only one (of course I know I’m not!).

  • Bill Harper

    October 9, 2012 at 11:49 am Reply

    You definitely need to get away for a while.And just you–not you and the kids. (And definitely not the animals.) Surely their dad can look after them for a week, or even just a weekend.

    And the beach house looks (and sounds) awesome. I love just walking along the beach for an hour or so, letting the waves lap at my legs. Very therapeutic, and a great place to think about things, or not think about them at all.

    Good luck, and I hope you get your break soon.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      October 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm Reply

      Thanks Bill :) I have high hopes for a small summer holiday, just me and my books. Maybe reality will meet me somewhere in the middle!

  • Karen

    October 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm Reply

    I live about 10 minutes from this house you’ve posted. Do you want me to bring the muffins?

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