For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dog tired

Ken, Owen and Myrna have just left for badminton and some socialising.
AL is at work.
The dogs and cats have curled up as close to me as possible and are peacefully snoring away.
There's a fresh cup of Rooibos tea on one side of me, a bit of dark chocolate on the other.
I've got a nice silky scarf around my neck and my Uggy boots on my feet.
Apart from the snoring of the animals, all I can hear is the humming and clicking of my laptop.
No music, no talking, no shouting, no laughing, no nothing.
It's hardly ever quiet in this house, but now it is.
Finally, time to hear my own thoughs, time for reflection.
Pure Bliss.

I was absolutely stressed out before and that kind of energy just seems to bounce around the house and hit everybody. At one point Ken and Myrna were screaming at each other, the dogs were barking and the cats were running around like crazy.
It's moments like that when I feel totally inadequate. How did I ever think it would be possible to home educate my children, to be together with my dh 24/7 and to be able to produce some work, all at the same time. I'm totally failing to do any of those three things successfully, let alone happily.

It's not helped by the fact I haven't had a chance to recover from my tiredness, because I haven't had a proper night sleep since we moved in here on the 1st of September. I haven't been able to figure out why, but every night without fail the dogs start barking like mad, always at a different time. And because I don't want them to wake anybody up, especially not neighbours, I ended up sleeping on the sofa in the living room. Because they then don't bark at all, or if they do I can catch and correct them at the first whimper, and because I nearly fell down the stairs one night because I was so tired, I actually didn't even go up to my/our own bed anymore. I did get a few nights good sleep that way, and so did the dogs. But hey, I didn't marry the dogs and I miss my memory foam mattrass and my hubby (is that the right order?).
If my brain would be functioning normally I'd be wrecking it to find a solution, but as it is I'm clueless. Owen has offered to sleep downstairs for a few nights, so I can get some sleep and I think I'll take him up on his offer. Only thing is it is absolutely essential that when sleeping downstairs he can't pay any attention to the dogs. No eye contact, no talking, no allowing them to sleep next to him. We don't want to reward and encourage their barking anymore than we probably already do by sleeping downstairs. And I don't know if he can manage that... But I'm happy to give it a try. Anything for a good, undisturbed night sleep.

Then, it would help if I could get myself to concentrate on my work and get this translation finished. I've been good today, because I've already done 3000 words, even with all the mayhem going on around me and I'm sure I can get at least half of the remaining 35 pages done before the end of the day. But I'm struggling and not enjoying it, and that's causing part of the stress. I don't want to be working, I want to be doing things with the children, offer them challenging new things, go places with them and then at the end of the day slouch on the couch and watch a film with them.

Myrna had one of her teenager outbursts this morning. Now, she's got an extremely powerful voice which makes it really hard to listen to her once she starts going, but I must admit that she had some very valid points about lack of commitment and attention from our side. We managed to turn the volume down after a while, but her frustration definitely matches mine, so I can see where she's coming from. She is right that for the past six months I've constantly been postponing and keeping things at bay. First finding a new house, then the moving, then preparing for another move, and now it's the book that has to be finished before the 1st of November... She feels there's always something that needs to be done before it's her turn. Obviously that's not entirely true and I have done a lot with her, with them. But she is very accurately reflecting my guilty feelings, my feelings of shortcoming, my frustration of having to work whilst I'd rather be doing the home ed and the household.

Gosh, that all sounds as if I'm having a horrible time. Where in actual fact I'm quite happy to be where we are, and I am really looking forward to moving to our more permanent house across the road in a few weeks time. I think what it is, is that I'm genuinely longing to settle down, to get into a more or less structured routine for myself, in which I am able to balance kids, pets, marriage and work. And I just haven't had enough of these quiet moments, such as the one I'm having now.

I'd better make the best of the moment now, then. Well, I feel that I'm already doing that. Typing away all these troublesome thoughts into my blog has helped me clear my head a little. My head was pounding before, but now I'm relaxing and I feel the headache slowly ebbing away. Just a few more days... and then the book is finished... and we can start preparing to move house again...

Never a dull moment.
Whoops, did I just say that?


'EF' said...

Sorry to hear about Ken's dad dying...and also when you were in transition.

A relief to hear that we are not the only ones who yell. Not that it should be the only way to communicate, but I often wonder if I am right that as it can and does and will happen that that makes it essentially okay when it does.

Living near people sounds interesting! A woman walked past out house with her dogs today and I was bending her poor ear for longer than was reasonable...she was edging away in the end...LOL.

Gill said...

Plenty of yelling goes on here too - especially from teenage daughter! (((Mieke))) May all your translations go swiftly xx

shukr said...

i find by writing or speaking my feelings it kind of discharges the build up/ worry/ panic whatever...

and i often surprise myself at how i can be feeling awful, but be really happy with where i'm at.

also in response to this post, isn't it totally amazing how the house runs around us - how does that work!?!
i mean, on every level.

hope you are making easy progress with the transition.

Mieke said...

O dear me, I have been neglecting my own blog lately, haven’t I. It’s all these really interesting and active other blogs that are eating away my computer time...

EF: I sincerely apologize to you and anyone else if I’ve ever given you the impression that there’s no yelling going on in this house ;)! One of the first things I noticed when we came to this country is that people here - in general - don’t raise their voices as much as we do in Holland. I myself have got so much fire in me that if I don’t yell every now and then I’d explode with pent up frustration. Unfortunately, one of the consequences is that my children - being led by example - also yell from time to time to release their frustration. And as I haven’t yet mastered the art of raising frustration-free teenagers, with three of them in the house it can get a bit noisy here. Let’s not dismiss the fact that my husband has made it his personal goal in life to go from puberty to senility (his own words!!), so I can’t count on him to be the pacifying factor.

Living near people isn’t bad at all! Mind, my children sometimes have to drag me away because they feel I’m an embarrassment the way I bend our neighbours’ ears.

Gill!! Screaming teenagers at your house? And here’s me thinking, praying, that as soon as I manage to follow your example I’ll have well balanced children. Or maybe screaming helps to achieve a state of balance?? Hmm...

Shukr: Yes, writing is definitely good therapy, isn’t it.
One of the things I’ve discovered in my quest of the past couple of months is that it’s so important to accept that there can be apparently totally opposite feelings / emotions within me and they’re all true. Accepting that has really helped me to create space within myself and to move on. Acceptance itself has made a difference. Saying yes to everything I encountered. Which, bizarrely, also meant saying yes to feeling no, from time to time. It has been (and still is!!) a hugely interesting process and I’m trying to find the words - and the time - to blog about it.