Wednesday, 30 June 2010


I realised the other day that I am a bit angry with my Mum. Not because she's swanning around Europe and I am not (though I'm sure that's reason enough to feel peevish) but because she once was living something similar to me, 3 young children, full time work, young and she never once told me just how impossibly difficult it can be. She congratulated me on following her footsteps and was proud of me, whereas the idea of the Elfling following me makes my gut clench with fear.

I have never had the sort of relationship with my Mum where we have big D&Ms about our personal feelings. And in truth, these day, our phone calls involve me listening to her woes with her career than the other way around. I read still, stories of mother daughter relationships where women break down and cry to their Mums and it still pricks me like it did when I was 8 and realised I didn't have that sort of relationship with my Mum.

When I've tentatively broached the topic of how difficult things have been, I'm often put straight in my place, reminded that "she did it too" and lived and I've felt quelched. Reminded again not to complain, to suck it up and get on with it. And I've felt chastised. Whiny. Embarrassed. More determined not to talk about it.

I'm not posting this to sound like an interminable whinger (even if it's the truth). But because I felt, in the shower the other night as I cried, that I just wish I had known how hard this would be. That instead of being encouraged and pushed along this path that just once someone thought to pull me aside and ask me if I was OK. If I needed help, or at the very least, had I considered just how soul destroying it can be trying to forge this sort of career on your own, let alone dragging your family along for the ride.

I am a good doctor. I can be a good mother. I am sometimes a good wife and partner. But trying to do all 3 at once often takes me to the point of despair and I wonder what in the hell I was thinking and why no one ever warned me. Why they all just assumed (and continue to assme) that I just would.

Maybe I just should have known? But I've lead a life where it's always been drilled into me taht you can be anything, do anything, and I'm gradually realising I can't. I'm angry about it. I feel lost and trapped and confused and impotent. I can't communicate it well with Bingley and I've considered therapy, but for what end? To be told things I already know? To explore emotions I already understand? I've always got choices, I know that, but it's not so easy as simply giving up one side of my personality and all will be well.

If I gave up my job then I would feel mentally unfulfilled. I get so much from my job, not least of all the achievement that so many years of work and study and further knowledge can give. I love working my way through, of gaining knowledge and experience and ability.

My marriage is getting better at the moment, but it is taking so much work. I am getting tired of work. I wish I could just sit on an ethereal beach and draw in the sand and feel telepathically connected and spiritually alive instead of needing to work. I just want to take the easy path for once. To lie down flat and let the river drift me along.


kalita said...

Marriages are so much bloody hard work, when everything else is going on as well. I always feel like you've got to put your head down and just push and push, like trying to ford mud, until your legs start moving and walking gets easier, and finally when you lift your head you're out and can breathe. And that's when other things start to feel easier too. But the staying married part is the killer.

Therapy might tell you things you already know, but it might give you ways to cope with stuff, as well. (I assume - I can't even write my blog without bursting into tears, let alone try to tell strangers things with actual words).

Sorry for the rambling.

cjtato said...

Could have written this post myself. I work from home (thinking that would be the "easier" option) and I still feel like I'm failing someone, somewhere along the line. And I am guilty of neglecting the marriage. It really does come at least third on the list. I know this isn't ideal and I try to find time but with three kids, time is a hard commodity to find more of.

BUT when I look at things as a whole rather than a week to week thing I find there is some balance (still not as much as I'd like) but it's not as bad as being in the thick of an unbalanced week.

AND I get the "you'll be fine" comments because I always am (or seem to be). And the therapy. I get it.

I am always reminded now of someone once telling me that after the children leave home the husband and wife look at each other and still have so much in common or nothing at all. I'm guessing this is true in most marriages unfortunately. And it scares me.

My husband and I have discussed this often and we know that it won't be long. It won't be long before our tiny one is no longer a whingy, needy toddler (although I suspect she may always be whingy. LOL).

And slowly we are seeing some light at the end of our tunnel. We can leave the kids with a friend for a few hours and go out dancing. We have learnt that when the offers come from friends (never our family) we need to take them up on it guilt free.

Hope you find some time for both yourself and your marriage because it almost certainly will make things feel better, if only for a day! One day at a time!!!

Rosalina said...

I loved the sincerity of this blog entry. I hope a lot of mothers out there get to read it.


Anonymous said...


Melissa said...

There is nothing I can say that won't sound trite. Truthfully, while I'm jealous (wildly so) of the fact that you grabbed your dream and actually followed through on it, I'm also fully aware I don't have it in me to do what you do.

Your mother, if I remember, is a teacher. A noble, worthy and challenging career, yes. But not in the same league (even nearly) as a physician starting out. Not nearly. I suspect that there is no way she could understand just how hard this is.

I wish I could just say "You can do it, Jenn". I think, in truth, that you can. But I worry the cost. I dont' think the cost will be Bingley, or the children, or even your career. But your body, your heart, your soul. I worry they won't get the care they deserve.

Anyway. Another essay, in what is supposed to be a quick, supportive "I hear you". Am thinking of you. In awe, as always.


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