I’ve just come back from a lovely weekend away with the family to Donegal on the north-west coast of Ireland. We had a really relaxed time hanging out with friends, walking on the beach and turning off from the daily grind.
While the trip was very enjoyable, I’ve come home with a stark realisation…I’ve completely forgotten how to play! Even our walk on the beach at times felt tiresome and every request from my six-year-old to play a board game came with an internal groan. I did not intend to be this mother. I intended to be the patient, all-smiling mother who enjoyed board games and playing with the kids. Instead, I would much rather sit still on the sofa in the quiet and not be bothered.
This makes me so sad. I know in years to come I will look back with regret at all these missed opportunities to connect. I know I don’t want to be this mum. I want to enjoy it and revel in it but I’m just so bloody tired all the time! In a bid to understand how I’m feeling (and inspired by reading Nobody Told Me by the wonderful Hollie McNish, I penned this poem to capture my thoughts.
I’ve Forgotten How To Play
I’ve forgotten how to play
The board game, bored game doesn’t interest me at all
My mind wanders
To a locked bathroom door, a silent cup of tea
A bed with no knees in my back
Or hands round my neck
I sit on the floor as excited faces brim over with joy
Mum’s joining the game
With a tick-tock metronome ticking in her brain
Counting down to the end
So she can escape to something just as mundane
Get away and breathe.
I long to create those happy moments
“Mummy’s too busy” ringing in their ears instead
I want to enjoy and savour these moments
But I rush through the game to more banal tasks
Like dishes or laundry that aren’t remotely fun
But they are solitary and quiet and alone.
I weep for the mother I wish to be
With endless patience and time for the game
Valuing the moments when they still want to play
Instead of pushing me away for others more fun
But really I’m quite far away
Locked out of a world I long to join in
But stuck behind glass
Knowing someday I will want to play
And they will be gone
And I will look back and mourn