We're at the hospice this week and it's been great. We both really needed the break. We've had some Big Talks whilst we've been here though, and worked out that we are Doing Too Much. So I've put a load of my breeding sets of hens up for sale and I'm going to stop rearing on youngsters. This should free up about two hours a day to spend with the children, or sleep, even; whilst still meaning we are working enough to bring in a bit of income and tick the box for Working Tax Credits.
I hate that we have to plan everything out like this, a time versus money budget that is so finely balanced. I hate that I am having to give up a bit of my life that I enjoy and seriously identify with in order to use my energy more wisely. I am much more healthy than I was - I get about four or five hours in the morning when I can actually achieve things now; but it is insane to use that mucking out hens when I could be using it for family stuff.
I think that all families have this issue - how many hours do you go back to work when you have small children? But for families with a disabled child it is so much more difficult. There is so much more to do for the children, so many more appointments, so much more personal care, so much more laundry, so many more times you need to change their sheets, hoisting them in and out of the bath and bed and on to the sofa takes an age.
Work as a way to identify as a grown up adult with more going on than just wiping bottoms is so important for parents. But as the parents of disabled children, our options are so much more limited.
Oddly, I thought I would resent this when it happened - it's been on the cards for a while. But whilst I feel sad, I mostly just feel and enormous sense of relief. Having time at the hospice is great because I get to do 'normal mum things' with the children - art, a walk in the garden, a bit of Minecraft (of course!), some music, just hanging out watching Peppa Flipping Pig. I get to do stuff with B as well - we went to Sainsbury's together and bought N's birthday presents and had a cup of coffee. At home, we are too snowed with caring and with juggling work to be able to take the time to do Non-Survival things. By ditching two hours work a day I am ditching part of my identity, but I am okay with that, because the return will be immense. We will be less rushed, less stressed, less crushed in to the corners.
And that's good.