Sunday, 29 August 2010

I just don't care.....

I am sure we all suffer from days when things just aren't right...socially, personally, on the work front, and with families. That's life of course, and we aren't immune from trials and troubles and heartaches. It IS hard to care much about yourself though when life is tough, isn't it, even though that is probably the time when self-care is most important?

Again, it's the old 'theory versus reality' struggle. I should care for myself every day, I should remain conscious of my eating patterns and indeed what I am putting in my mouth...but some days....*shrug* it just doesn't seem to matter. Who cares if I am fat? Why should I make the effort to eat well? Know what I mean?

I shan't bore you with the gory details but son was ill this weekend - very ill - and it happened after he had a night out partying - as young men do. He was celebrating a friend's birthday and he had too much to drink. If he didn't have certain medical conditions this wouldn't matter...and usually it doesn't matter that he does what his peers do. 99% of the time it's OK. He doesn't want to be different - to be wrapped in cotton wool, and I wouldn't want that for him either. I am glad he enjoys a good social life. Aren't we all much happier when our families are content? However, when his body fails to work properly it is frightening.

Call me stupid, but given he lives under my roof still I just cannot sleep until he is home safely. I am half awake until I hear his key in the lock....and then all my motherly instincts take over and I get up to check that he is OK...capable of getting himself to bed. Most times he isn't even aware I am watching..but I am. I have to, for my own peace of mind. It's like I am cursed to be forever watchful...but I know it's just my nature. he is a man now...and no, I shouldn't have to do this..but he also has several conditions which can be life threatening, he takes constant medication, and yup...I am a worrier. I wish I could be the sort of mother who spells "It's time to fuck off" in alphabetti spaghetti round the side of his plate, and although the notion is amusing, it's not me. I am stuck with my lads until they can afford to move on...They both earn a pittance in low paid jobs..although both are bright. They've had to start at the bottom and employers have them over a barrel...lots of work for not very much pay. To their credit, they get on with it. We are all philosophers of the "That's life and sometimes it sucks" school.

I wish I could make him whole...and his brother. I wish I could make them completely well. For the last 23 years I have lived a life in limbo...always my uppermost concern being that my kids are well. His younger brother is also afflicted in the same way. Life has been a nightmare of hospital appointments, checks with specialists and constant medication and being alert for changes in their conditions. I have sort of become the rock..the anchor...holding everything together...sorting it out when it goes wrong. Their father hasn't a clue what life is like for us...he is happily oblivious. This is very much my lot.

In many ways I wish they could afford to move out - get their own places to live, but they can't. We seem stuck with each other...and really, I don't care because I love them, and for the most part they are good kids...pleasant and friendly young men. However, ask any mother who has kids with 'special needs' ....any person who is a carer...what it's like to be forever alert....relaxing in between episodes of illness but like a coiled spring, ready to jump up and act if and when things go wrong - when there is a medical emergency. I have almost become conditioned to be there...ready to spring into action at the first sign of a problem..hoping and praying I can deal with it and that I don't have to call for an ambulance. This weekend has been one of those weekends.

My man is out of town with his brother and son. He has travelled to watch his football team play away..and really it's a good job he had plans this weekend because I feel as energetic as a limp lettuce leaf now. I just wouldn't be good company. I didn't sleep much last night at all...the rushes of adrenaline kept me awake and then this morning I was busy tending to son  again...his younger brother helping - or at least providing me with tea.

Today I really couldn't care less what I eat. I went back to bed for a few hours at around midday and slept like a baby, until the phone rang at 3pm. I even seem to wake from deep sleep instantly, like I am programmed never to completely switch off - and it's very draining. Son was to care for himself and now quite alert. Daughter wanted to go and buy a runner for her hall, so she wondered if I fancied a trip to IKEA with her. I felt rather tired but thought a trip out of the house would do me I accompanied her. She has me worried too. She works so hard and doesn't seem to get much resting time. Her appetite has vanished and she has a cough that won't go away...and her chest feels tight. She is on antibiotics and has to go for some blood tests, but she looks very pale and tired. (Why do mothers silently inspect their kids for signs of ill-health? Is it just me?) I needed a coffee to perk me up, so we headed to the restaurant first. Daughter had a bottle of water, nothing else. Oh look...what do we have here? Slices of that nice, chewy almondy cake were sitting near the till, all sliced, I had one. No idea why. As I was eating it I thought it was very sweet..but I carried on. When I'd finished, I felt remorse...and vaguely uncomfortable. I hadn't really enjoyed it! Some sweet things tend to be very sickly  I find..and this had a sort of white chocolate buttercream icing on it. Ugh. I wished immediately that I hadn't bothered putting a slice of it on my tray.

How stupid though! That was definitely a case of  thinking a piece of cake would sooth me, calm me...(be nice to me?) and I deserved it. It was like I'd switched to automatic pilot. I couldn't even be bothered to pour myself a bowl of cereal this morning. I have muesli in the cupboard which my body almost 'needs' for fibre. Instead, fretting about my son and feeling completely washed out I grabbed  a handful of digestive biscuits to eat with my tea. At lunchtime I toasted and buttered two crumpets, and ate them almost mechanically. I can't say I enjoyed or savoured them...but they provided instant food.

I suppose the good thing is that my body seems to cry out for good things to eat...things which will properly nourish it. When I eat worthless calories in biscuits and cakes I now actually feel grim afterwards. I like the odd treat but 'proper' food sustains me whereas crap foods actually make me feel crap - and uncomfortable afterwards.

The boys have polished off two portions of chilli con carne I had in the freezer..I had some homemade salsa, brown rice and wholemeal pittas to go with them, so they ate when I was out and are satisfied. They helped themselves.....I have taught them to cook, sort out mealtimes etc, given I worked full time until quite recently. Me? Can I be bothered to cook for myself? No. Can I be bothered to eat an apple? No. I am not sure what I want really...Do I want anything at all?

All my instincts tell me to go and find stuff in salad drawers...and low fat cheese..and hummus..and to pile it onto a plate and eat it with some oat-cakes or sunflower and poppy seed crackers..whilst I watch something mindless and switch off. I have a million and one things to do around the house, but I think I need to restore myself by vegging out, watching TV and eating small amounts of foods which will nourish me. I also need to stop worrying about my kids. They are grown up now. I have served my time!

It's funny isn't it? Do you have days when you just can't be bothered...for any reason? In writing this I have been reflecting about how easy it is for self-love to fly out of the window. If I allow that to happen I almost damage myself with my apathy and weariness...because I don't become my first priority. Sadly, life is full of trials...we all get them in different shapes, sizes and forms..they find us. No one leads a completely charmed life.

I sink when things go wrong. I get worn down and I just don't care about me. I feel tired, worn out, and vaguely depressed that my kids have to be ill....The worries niggle away and the adrenaline rushes fade and the thick head fogs kick in. It's on days like those that I really don't have the energy or inclination to care much about myself and my needs. I look weary, I feel weary.

Oh I could be all gung-ho and tell myself that I matter because if I don't care for myself and become ill then everything will crumble. I know that, and I think it adds to my woes.

Tomorrow will be different and I'll start again, I'll build up my reserves of energy, but I am so aware that life for me seems to be about taking one step forward and six steps backwards. If I didn't feel so knackered I'd see how stupid that belief is. Life goes on....and although what's 'normal' for us, for me, isn't normal life for other single mothers, that is my lot. You have to play the cards you are given. Many others will be having a day full of caring for others, a day full of concern for the well-being of those they love, and for them too, their own well-being will take a back seat.

So...wherever you are...if you have been worrying about others today I send you my love.

I am only glad that humans seem to have been given such strong reserves of energy and compassion. It's amazing really,  and gets us through all sorts of trials, tribulations and worries. We also have incredible bounce-back-ability, (think of the trials some people have been through) and now that I have unloaded here (thank you for reading) I know that I can rescue my day...and look after me for a while.


  1. Well done, both to you personally as well as on this post. It was very timely for me as well. One of those days/ weeks... oish.

    Hang in :)

  2. FG:
    The quote on my blog today: "Little children, headache; big children, heartache." ~Italian proverb.

    Amazingly we don't stop parenting when our offspring hit age 18. And some of our children's adult problems are much, much bigger than when they were younger. I know this firsthand.

    I probably sound like a broken record, but you won't be good to anybody if you don't take care of yourself first.

    Tomorrow is another day. Jo

  3. I agree with Jo, you won't be good to any one if you do not care for yourself. Plus, you are incredibly worth it.being kind to ourselves is the greatest gift we can give each other.

    Raising kids is hard. Adult children never leave us, whether they live at home or not. We still our on the look out for their well being, which is exactly what you are doing. Lyn from Escape from Obesity also has some special needs children. She has blogged about it over the summer. Might be helpful fro you to read some of her posts. She was a single mom too, for a long time. Take good care of yourself. Michele

  4. Believe it or not, your feelings about food show progress. While your old habits may compel you to turn to food for comfort when you're having a bad time, it is turning into an ineffective solution. That means that you are at a turning point. You will either abandon your destructive relationship with food, or try to fan the dying flames and get it back because there's nothing else that fills the void. Chances are you'll end up with the former given that this was just a bad day (and we all have them).

    I went through this as well. In fact, I mourned the loss of food as an effective comforter. It was like someone took my security blanket away or replaced it with one which was uncomfortable. I needed it, but it didn't work anymore and I felt like I'd lost something valuable. It took quite awhile before that emptiness went away entirely, but it seems to be gone now.

    I think you really are moving along, and this post speaks volumes about mental progress in changing your lifestyle.

  5. You just put into words what I have been feeling over the past couple of days.I love the way you express yourself. I worry about my kids too, my own kids and my stepdaughters, all of which are grown. It can be draining. Enjoy your day and take care of yourself. I have the day off today and that is what I am planning to do too :).

  6. You are amazing for your capacity to care. I agree that there are many things in life that are at the very least more urgent than eating "right" - but I also know that when you have the time and the capacityt you will get back to it!