Newsflash: our little home did not implode, nor did the children spontaneously combust whilst I was away living my dreams for a couple of weeks.
Yes, it seems ridiculous that I could possibly think myself entirely indispensable in any role I play in life. But somehow, over the course of the last year in which my world had almost entirely consisted of home, children and Mr Large (my husband), I had convinced myself that nobody could fill those shoes.
By about 6 months from the birth of our second child I was begging for a future. I was feeling the looming shadow of depression even despite having a supportive partner, a wonderful live-in helper (the ten-year-old number one son) and a baby who slept through the night from 5 months (please don’t hate me). Without a job to return to, nor even a real career awaiting me at the other end, I had started to feel drastically and dangerously disconnected.
It was then that I remembered, not without the help of Mr Large reminding me (quite emphatically), that I could actually book something in just for me. It took some cajoling, but as soon as I started timetabling Mr 10’s week without mum I realised he actually had more people that wanted him to stay than nights he needed to stay over. And soon after asking grandma if she could help with Miss 10-months I realised she was thrilled at the opportunity. Remarkable. The support team actually were willing to support. Don’t ask me why that hadn’t really occurred to me before.
It seems that even though I believe in it in principle, actually asking for help and receiving it can be more challenging than we realise.
Then it got exciting. I had to actually leave the nest and go be amazing at something, just me, on my own, without the mum-persona to keep me company.
As the date drew nearer I felt a mixture of anxiety and excitement. How would it be to stay away from the family? Or camp out in a tent for two weeks? And how would it be to totally immerse in something I am passionate about without having to look after anyone else?
Well, tell you what, it was amazing! I have returned refreshed, having remembered who I am away from the normal mother-role surprisingly quickly.
Sure, I had to really make an effort at times not to mother the other course participants (with mixed success) but on the whole, I integrated very well into the two-week temporary community. And the two-week Permaculture Design Certificate the Milkwood adorned me with at the end will stay with me forever.
Most precious of all, I came back to a happy family that had missed me terribly and was so very happy to see me back to my old self. They survived, and I thrived.