Some say that if you don't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say anything at all. I fear however that it might render me silent for some time to come if I adhere to that advice. Sometimes I can't help thinking that I'm not EVER making the right decisions and therefore not making progress in the areas of my life that so need it. It's not a constant feeling of failure yet one that currently surfaces enough to be bothersome. Comfortingly, it's something that I often come across in other blogs, particularly those of other women who are trying to 'have it all'. I am always curious when I come across those 'can you have it all articles?' normally in magazines like 'Red' and find myself time and time again reading them, you know just in case it is possible and there's a perfect formula set out for me.
I think these feelings sprang out of a visit to my bank last week. I wasn't feeling very well anyway but made my way to the bank for my annual review. Along came the usual barrage of questions that involve me identifying myself as a jobless full time mother with very little income going into my account and no immediate work prospects. Check. Dealt with that. Lecture about savings. Check. No, I still don't have any. Personal items to the value of £3000 or more. Check. This is not an issue for me! But then she asked matter of factly, does your husband give you any money?
I initially laughed and responded by saying that due to the brilliant chip and pin system I tend to just have my husbands cards and use them as and when I want to access to funds. She looked at me pityingly and re-iterated 'so, no funds into your account from your husband'. My inner dialogue was already screaming 'let it go, let it go' but I couldn't shake those words off! They have resurfaced time and again over the last few days in my subconscious and have been nagging me and my sense of ... worth, identity, independence ... each and every one of these words.
After further questioning from Michelle - 'The pretty lady at the bank'(let's see how she likes being labelled!!!!) I eventually spluttered out 'Yes, I'm aware that if my husband drops dead or decides to leave me, I will have nothing!!!! I'm a crazy risk taker in that way!!!!'. You know what came next? Well, Michelle went on to tell me her regret at not making the decision to be a stay at home mum, she explained how she'd missed so many firsts in her daughter's life including seeing her daughter take her first steps sixteen years ago and how she still thought about it often. She described how after twenty one years of marriage her husband had left her a couple of years ago and how relieved she was that she had a career of her own and was financially independent. Michelle also talked about how she regretted not having another child in favour of building her career. I was blown away by her words and her honesty and her openness. In many ways it was inappropriate but I love hearing people's life stories and she shared hers so innocently, so tenderly, like I was a sister or close friend.
So I guess we all 'want it all'! Whatever choices we make there's always at least one that we question. One that rears its ugly head and keeps us awake at night even if it is on the odd ocassion. I know I'll continue to sway and this topic, these feelings will loiter whenever I'm not feeling my best. But hearing Michelle's story reminded me just how grateful I am for my own and how it has been carved out over the years. I was crazily ranting to hubby the other day, struggling to put my mixture of emotions into words whilst he patiently listened and empathised and all of a sudden hubby clasped my hand and said quietly 'look, just look at them'. I stared out from our kitchen and watched as Zach and Elliott chased each other around the garden, every now and then aiming and throwing space hoppers at each other roaring and squealing in delight. I then smiled and quietly reflected that actually, whilst there is a place for my inward disquiet, really my life is not bad at all. In the mean time I am trying to quieten my mind and enjoy small pleasures, like baking with my boy!