This past week has seen me sit still for longer than I have done in the previous few years combined. Last Monday I had hip surgery to repair a tear in the cartilage, and also to shave down a bump on my femur which was inevitebly causing more damage each time I bent the joint. It was an operation that I knew I had to have for a year, and one which I met with great anxiety and worry, not so much because of the operation itself, but because of the recovery which I had been told would be at least six weeks on crutches, with no picking up of my children. Ever. When I was told about this last June, I literally laughed. I mean, I am the Mum of an almost four year old, and more to the point, a one year old boy who had just learned to walk. No driving. Time off work. Since then we had planned every inch of the time post surgery. We had organised a timetable of help, of baby sitters, of food. To help both myself to rest and recover, but also to help my beautiful husband who was inevitebly going to pick up the slack, whilst also going back to work himself after our summer holidays.
So Monday came and went, and whilst I am so, so glad it is over, it was a shock to hear from my surgeon that things were worse than first thought, with little cartilage left in my hip due to advanced arthritis. It must have been all the years of dancing on podiums at nightclubs. Wink, wink. No seriously, I have been left in absolute awe of my family and support network this past week, as they have helped me with both the major things, and the small things that make a great difference. Simply phone calls to see if I’m ok. Simple suggestions of how people can help. My husband. My husband. My Mum and Mother in Law who have tag teamed, minding our children. Our siblings who have played with the kids so that they honestly have felt as though nothing is wrong. To tell you the truth the thought of being ‘stuck’ at home, with my own company is enough for me to cry normally, but I have enjoyed and appreciated this quiet time to rest and recuperate whilst knowing that the kids are still having fun.
You see I think that it was actually the world telling me more than the fact that I needed a hip operation. I think the ‘operation’ was a decoy for forcing me to slow down. 2015 was a great year, but it was also a great year of stress and anxiety for me emotionally. To be honest, there were weeks were I felt as though I was just keeping my head above the water. I, along with my husband were trying to live life on little to no sleep. It really took its toll on me towards the end of the year, and forced me to reassess my priorities. After my second stay at Masada hospital with Hudson, and with little success, I decided to listen to the professionals and get some help. Help both for me to deal with how I was feeling, and help in terms of strategies to deal with easing the load.
Those who know me, know that I like to be around people, and I like to be involved. I have total FOMO (fear of missing out). I need to be connected to people, I need to keep up to date with ‘what is happening’ in my work, in my social life, in my online life. Being connected is an incredibly valuable thing, but it can turn on you if you don’t know how to disconnect. Disconnect your need to live an active life from the need to be involved in everything to the expense of your health. I’ve done my best to keep my head above the water, and to keep the balls in the air. My problem is that when I went on maternity leave with both of my children, I started two hobbies (my blog, and my print business), to give my brain a break from thinking about nappies and breast feeding. The thing is that these two hobbies took on a life of their own, and whilst this has been amazing (who wouldn’t want a business to go gang busters?), it’s meant that my time has been stretched, particularly when I went back to work. Being a Mum is tough at times, but juggling this along with being a wife, sister, friend, employee, blogger and small business owner inevitebly took it’s toll. Something had to stop. Something had to change. In the end, it was my body that gave out. My hip, in terrible pain led me to the path of surgery, and with it a consideration of how else I could slow down.
So in 2016 I am stepping from being a Deputy Principal for a while. I’m still working in my role has learning & teaching leader (head of curriculum). It was a really, really, really hard decision to make…for someone who loves their job and is honestly proud of the achievements I’ve made. Mothers who have to make the choice between work and family can understand that for some, this brings enormous anxiety and sadness. That said, I know it is the right choice. Putting my family first. Putting my health first. My children will only my little for a little amount of time. I need to treasure those moments. I need to not wish the time away, to a time when they will sleep through, or be more independent.
I define myself as many things, but I shouldn’t let these things define me and how I feel. I need to be ok with change, and pressing the pause button for a while. It doesn’t mean I’m not capable. It just means I’m being careful and mindful. So with this in mind, I will use this first blog post of the year to try to commit to being in the moment with my children. I will try to be kind to myself and not worry about pleasing everyone. I will try to stop. Slow Down. I might need help along the way, but being forced to stay put at this point in time, and not physically being able to walk is a good start I guess.
Looking forward to a year of happiness, health, humour and home.