I was chatting to Other Mother this morning on Facebook Messenger, and the subject of work came up.  I revealed to O.M. that I felt I was Not Safe For Work anymore. I was always too stressed. Too angry, too tired all the time. I had no extra energy.

I could never sleep. I would sit up all hours of the night, and struggle in the mornings. I rushed everywhere. Everything was hurried, and disorganised.

Weekends felt ruined when I had to start a shift at 4.pm on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Working nights, and days on a rotating roster often left me finishing work at 12am, to start work again the following morning at 8.00am. With so many kids in the house every other week, it was insane just trying to keep up the washing!

So I resigned. After the worst year of health I’ve ever experienced, struggling through surgery and recoveries, all the while struggling at work.  I finally Put Myself First.

Behind the scenes, Peri-Menopause had already begun to wreak havoc.

I was emotional, and would cry during the “The Ode” at work each night. We had a Soldier (2), over in Afghanistan at the time, and each time I heard that line, “They shall not grow old”, I would hold my breath, tears streaming down my face in the dark.

I was resentful.

Piles of dishes, clothes, dirty bedrooms and bathrooms. Why can nobody else in this house clean a toilet?

I would return home from work at night to Fitty idling in neutral, waiting to see which “gear” I required of him. Would I be in tears of pain? Would I be cranky and tired, grumbling about how they had “all night to wash the dishes”?

I resented everyone. Cars on the road were just ‘blocking my way’. Other shoppers were ‘ignorantly slow’. The kids and Fitty alternately brought me comfort and joy, or immense frustration and exasperation.

I had pain killers, and would only use them sparingly, as they were serious drugs. Ones the doctor has to ask nicely for from the Government. This left me struggling through the “gaps” in my pain-relief awkwardly. Pain would suddenly come upon me at work, after hours of standing on my feet, and it was almost impossible to relieve that pain at work. I needed a bath, and quiet space until the medication stepped up again. I was doing it all wrong.

I’m pretty sure my work friends who read the blog will identify strongly with what I’m saying here. I must have been incredibly hard to work with at times.

So, how have things changed?

Instead of shouting from bed at 9.00am Saturdays for everybody to “Shutthafuckup!”, I’m up every single day by 6.00am. Smiling, happy, with the kids lunches made on weekdays.

I rarely leave my house. I only go out when I really need to, barely ever for social reasons. If I do drop in on T, or meet up for lunch with friends, I try to do at least one other errand while I’m out. Efficiency and Economy are my new middle names.

I drive slowly now, never in a hurry. In fact I don’t think I’ve been in a proper “hurry” since I finished work! I’m cruisin. Usta be a road-rager, now I create it!

I used to shop on the way home from work, buying useless items spontaneously. Now I have a list, and know what I need. I have time to make sure I don’t waste food. I can plan meals, and we actually eat a lot better, healthier and far more economically.

I have time to bake. Saying “I love you” to a child by baking a warm batch of cookies for them when they get home from school. I love baking. When I’m happy, I bake.

It’s taking me time, (as I am a procrastinator of the highest order), but I am slowly re-decorating our house, and will be renovating bathrooms, the kitchen and helping Fitty build new stairs in future months. I’m excited by the work I do now.

I’ve systematically gone through every cupboard in the house making space, getting rid of junk and creating space for new junk to live.

My relationships have changed.

I’m going to be achingly honest here….

One of the most significant changes I’ve made is just being fucking quiet.

It’s a subtle thing as much as it is obvious. I no longer have to be the one talking. I listen more. I hesitate before I offer my opinion. I walk away from things I used to nag about.

All because I have spent so many hours here in this beautiful, tranquil spot, just soaking up the “relax”.

This is my medicine. This home, this family, are my healing.

This lake brings me peace.

This lake brings me peace.