Well that sure was seven weeks between blog posts.
What can I say? Life has been pretty crazy in Meg land. Mostly crazy-good, but also a lot of hard work and stress.
My homeless friend and her 6yo are still living with us at the moment. It’s tough, but she’s been trying her hardest to find a place on her own this whole time. Sadly Sydney is a pretty harsh place for renters in the best of circumstances: given that she’s a single mum on a disability pension with a checkered rental history… well, let’s just say that most real estate agents are too busy fending off all the money being thrown at them to be bothered with listening to any sob stories these days.
She’s had enough. She’s looking at one more property tomorrow and if nothing comes of it she’s going to front up to a shelter. I feel pretty awful about that but the strain of the situation is really starting to affect all of us. If we want everything to turn out amicably for our relationship then it really is time for them to move out.
Plus, our own landlord has been renovating the property next door so we’ve opted to keep him abreast of everything. He’s been burned by dodgy share houses – and even an illegal boarding house! – in the past and has made it clear that he’s not comfortable with the situation. If my friend stays here much longer it will jeopardise the deal we have going and lead to us having to move too.
While most of me just wants to flip him the bird and move out on principle due to his callous attitude, we are in no position to take that step right now. We’re definitely going to start planning to move within the next year though, given how much we’ve soured on him over this.
I wish I’d been blogging – or even old-school journaling – through this situation, but I’ve had a full-blown writing aversion this whole time. Life has been about taking each day as it comes, and any time I’ve had to write has been spent cleaning or unwinding. Writing just takes too much mental effort – I’d rather crochet or read or do puzzles instead.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I’m feeling pretty good about myself though. I’ve surprised myself with how zen I have been throughout the upheaval. My friend is Hard Work (to put it mildly) with some pretty severe mental and physical issues that have really intensified over the last few years. She’s never been formally diagnosed, but I do suspect she has borderline personality disorder. You really have to handle her exactly right to get her on the same page as you without her flipping out or collapsing into an anxiety-riddled heap. It’s exhausting, and my husband hit breaking point over the whole thing weeks ago.
But for me? I’ve just been working out what is and isn’t in my power to change or control and letting things slide as necessary. And it’s been EASY to do this. I’ve just been focussing on the kids – all three of them – and trusting others to cover everything else.
It’s this weird sort of lucid survival zone that I’ve been inhabiting and I must say, I like it. I’ve been feeling really happy and optimistic and mature. Even throughout the really rough times when my patience has run thin and I’ve snapped at the kids or had to run off on my own for a bit (and REALLY not wanted to come back), I’ve been able to say “Well, what’s the alternative here? Can I do anything to change the situation? No? Well let’s go work with it then,” and shake it all off.
I honestly never knew I could do this.
Maybe it’s the medication, maybe it’s improved gut health from daily water kefir, maybe it’s the raw, urgent pressure of meeting the needs of three children rather than two (and especially given how completely different the extra child is!!), but my head is the clearest and calmest it’s ever been. I’ve even been able to earmark a bunch of stuff for my friend to take to her (eventual) new place without even the slightest bit of angst. I want to offload everything! What is up with that?!?
I could easily let this situation continue for as long as necessary, but the pressure is just way too much for the rest of the family. My girls are suffering from the constant presence of their playmate (who is every bit as much of a handful as her mother, sadly) and I must say I’ve had to be a far less fun mum than normal in order to manage all their emotions and impulses and still keep everyone fed, clothed, educated, and entertained. I definitely don’t like that part of it: being harsh and authoritarian has never sat well with me.
On the plus side? Everything is going to feel SO. EASY. once they’ve moved out. Like, seriously – I’ll have more energy and attention for my girls; I’ll have far fewer dishes and laundry loads to deal with; there will be less chaos in the house (my friend’s daughter is REALLY oblivious and destructive…); there will be more space and peace; I’ll have the time and headspace to blog again.
It’s just… it’s going to be so amazing, you guys. I can’t wait!