Our car has broken down. The outward signs of neglect have been there for a while. It's got dents, it's covered in scratches and someone smashed the wing mirror off it one night several months ago. We never got around to fixing it so our family has been driving around with a completely useless, shattered wing mirror stuck to the side of the car with duct tape. The other day, the accelerator simply cut out mid-drive. For a moment, I thought the breaks may stop working too and when you're on a single lane road high on a Wellington hillside at the time, those are not very comfortable thoughts to have. We rely so much on our car but spend very little time thinking about what a workhorse it is and how much more difficult our daily life is without it. Until it is no longer there. Then we realise how much we actually depend upon it to help get the family to where we need to go. Before the throttle issue arose, there were other household matters that were given priority over having the car repaired. If we choose to ignore the warning signs, eventually things can, and do, wear out. There's an analogy here. I am our car. Overworked, barely keeping it all together some days, careworn and feeling like I could do with a bit of TLC.
So here I am, holed up in my bedroom on week one of the school holidays, avoiding the kids. I ate half a block of Black Forest chocolate and now I hate myself. Ironic really, since I was wanting to spend some guilt-free time to myself doing something that makes me happy, which, by the way, is not playing The Game of Life for the third time today. The countdown is on till at least one of the girls finds me to make them some food. They probably won't even physically come find me. They'll just yell at me from the bowels of the room that vaguely resembles our lounge and then I'll very likely yell back to tell them to stop yelling at me.
I've said it before and it's worth saying again - solo parents everywhere, I salute you. I only need to make it through till 6pm this evening when my husband gets home and then the load suddenly becomes more manageable again. The rational part of me knows that my children aren't even all that challenging and we've actually had a pretty good week so far. It's just that my Child Appreciation tank is very empty today. Mostly, I am just tired. Tired but grateful for children who have very low expectations of what their holidays should be like. Zero expectations. As in turning swatting houseflies into a game to see how many each of us can land. We don't actually do that. It's mostly me standing very still poised to strike while waiting for one to land and then I pounce like a middle-aged Miyagi. Maybe that's the real reason why I am so tired.