A few days ago I fell asleep on the landing.
I was waiting for my son to go to sleep. He is not 1, he is 11, but he tells me that he is too afraid to go to sleep on his own. That's Asperger's for you.
I am not a patient person and waiting for up to 2 hours for my son to go to sleep does not work well for me, even with an iPad to keep me company.
This particular evening I was more tired than ever, and I lay on the carpet, and my eyes started to droop. So I closed them for a second, as you do. And woke up some time later. Luckily I didn't tumble down the stairs.
I knew then that something had to change.
A new regime was needed. So now I sit down with my son in the living room for a hour after putting Smiley to bed, and then bring him up just before 10. Then I load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen and go up myself to try and get in enough hours of sleep to cope with the early morning call of my son or the alarm. He has trained himself well. Even with the later bed time he still wakes at 6am and sees absolutely no reason to get up any later. If he gets up, I have to as well. No longer will he go down stairs on his own.
So my evening is gone.
Is the pattern set now? I could live for another 30 years. Will I be at the beck and call of 2 children around the clock for the rest of my life? I'm not coping well with this thought.
You see I've also had to cancel Smiley's respite again. It's not that they're doing anything wrong, but it's just not working for her, and I am not hopeful of finding an alternative. No new dates for Smiley's Sunday outings have been suggested either, so perhaps that service has finally been cancelled too.
It's like motherhood backwards. It was difficult when they were little, then it got easier as grew, but from about 10 onwards it has all changed. I can no longer carry Smiley and pretend she is an overgrown toddler, and my son also needs huge amounts of my time, he does things for himself now, but needs lots of reminding and direction and my presence: I'm becoming a helicopter mum: the other kind.
The lives of many of my friends are very different now and some relationships are fractured. For years I was able to say that I had lost very few friends as a result of my two younger children. But that too is starting to change. Some have disappeared altogether, others no longer get in contact, or the weeks pass and I forget to contact them. I can understand it. Their teenage children have completely different needs: lifts, money, guidance, grinds.
Yesterday I cried in front of one friend as I recounted the hurt I felt as yet another person told me how much free time I have now that the kids are back in school.
I'm sorry, but you're wrong.
I don't have a bad life. Far from it. But remember the first year of your baby's life? It's still like that here. And it's not "just a phase", it's for real, and perhaps it's for life.
But I have a good life compared to so many. And I need to hang on to that thought...and organise another night out...
NOTE: This post is for me, it's self-therapy, and I hope it doesn't sound too moany, but it helps me so much to work through things. Perhaps it might help someone else too.