“[surviving a kidnapping attempt in South Africa] taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary.”—Benedict Cumberbatch
Last week I had a tantrum.
It had been building up all day, the minutiae of life as a work-at-home mum. Washing. Dishes. Vacuuming. Tidying. Shopping. Ignoring the Chinese Laundry in our lounge room. Every little inconvenience on my time became a huge burden. Nothing unusual. Happens every day to mums bloody well everywhere. But on this day, it overwhelmed me to the point where I didn’t want to talk about it, but when a crack opened (thanks to husbando) intemperate [violent?] thoughts came spewing forth from my lungs and heart and frustrated brain.
I was meant to live an extraordinary life. And this didn’t feel like it.
5 years ago when I survived my brain aneurysm, I had this epiphany that I had to grab life by the balls every single day because I wouldn’t know when a day would be my last. To tell the truth, this feeling, the mad enthusiasm of taking advantage of everything life threw at me, didn’t last long. 6 months maybe. After that, I just slid back into my old life. Motherhood. Work as a corporate HR Consultant—work that I rather enjoyed but that wasn’t part of my soul. Domesticity.
I had another child. The minutiae, the ennui built up.
Motherhood frustrates me. I love my kids more than anything, I’m so glad they’re here and I’d never want that part of my life to be any different. But being a creative person, sometimes that creativity runs at motherhood rather than with it. I am at my most creative first thing in the morning, when my kids deserve [and demand] my attention. I can’t write in a messy house, but by the time the house is clean I have to collect the kids.
The frustrated artist in me has been very strong lately, ironically, at a time in my life when I’m in the fortunate position of being able to write from home. It’s not my creative writing that I’m getting paid for and the paid stuff is what has to come first.
I want to live an extraordinary life—I don’t feel like I was meant to be average. I want to be able to carve out a little bit of my own specialness in the world. You can argue that motherhood is perhaps the most important role in existence, but for me it’s not enough. I was a creative before I had kids and I’m still a creative without having any time to create for myself, namely to write my book. It’s a horrid cycle that I still haven’t figured out how to manage. I crave the silence and the alone time so badly and yet I feel guilty for doing so. Motherhood was my choice. I can’t complain about a choice I made and yet I had a thoroughly impressive tantrum about it.
And will probably do so again.
Benedict’s (yes, that ol’ Cumberchestnut) words about being determined to live an extraordinary life surge through my brain. In a way, I feel like I’ve failed the life-grabbing challenge. Like the epiphany I had 5 years ago was wasted on me—all of those emotions contributed to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the neverendingness of domestic things. This feeling will pass; I’ll find a way to steal an extra few hours to get my creative brain synchronised (small piece of titanium notwithstanding).
I am not only a parent. I am an individual and my dreams are big. They’re enormous frankly, almost too huge for my brain, and that’s part of the problem. I just hope I can fit it all in without losing my sh*t in the process.
Who’s with me?