Lesley and I sat down for a long chat last night about our current situation.
We married in 1993 and spent the first ten years working (both of us) to sustain a lifestyle that we wanted (at the time) and we became completely dependant upon each other emotionally, spiritually and financially. We never saved. We lived for the day and enjoyed a relatively comfortable lifestyle. We couldn't invest in a house on a newer estate as Lesley, who doesn't drive, needed to be close to her mother, so we bought the house we're living in now in 1997. Since then the area has become depressingly 'depressed'. We've never taken a holiday abroad, or anywhere else for that matter, in all our married life. Not because we couldn't afford to, it was just our choice to spend our time 'doing up' the house with the odd trip into the local countryside thrown in for variety.
When our Daughter arrived five years ago it seemed that the jigsaw was complete. But Lesley started showing signs of anxiety within hours of the birth. This escalated, untreated, to the situation described here. It became so bad that in the end Lesley could not return to work - she tried hard to do so, but the anxiety would win, or circumstance would. I became the sole bread-winner - luckily my job paid enough for us to do this - and Lesley stayed at home, something she did not adapt well to. Family situation is not good - I have no-one and Lesley only has her aged mother to help with childcare. We have no friends locally. So, from day one, it was down to us to do everything for our girl. Lesley didn't want to put her in a nursery - I disagreed. I thought it would help Lesley get to know people (other mums) and also give Emily the early care and social interraction she would need later, it would also give Lesley a break from home. We went, once, to a local mother and baby playgroup and were apalled at the state of the place and it's occupants. So snobbery won the day and we never took her back. The same happened when Emily began school. It was filthy, some mothers would drop their children off in their pyjama's (the mothers not the children) I've even witnessed one young mother (in pyjama's and an overcoat) smoking and coughing up phlegm onto the infant's playground - the area where my daughter would be expected to play later. I witnessed this from the car, so couldn't get to her to say anything, had I been there I would have done so - and probably got a mouthful of abuse - but some things have to be said. Emily too reacted badly to the environment. She became withdrawn and seemed to get illness after illness. She was not happy, and so we took her out of school to home educate.
And so we found ourselves, late last night, discussing where it had all gone wrong.
We're getting into a mindset of misery. We hate where we live but cannot move. Lesley misses a working life but cannot get a job. We all reacted badly to Emily's school and we can't find one that we feel would suit her sensitive nature. The credit crunch has had its effects too, where once my wage provided a comfortable living, we now find ourselves cutting back and back. With no family or friends in the area we are the sole providers of care for Emily - we also try our best, but realise our limitations, as far as her education is concerned.
With no 'us-time' or 'me-time' our relationship has suffered immensely and we find ourselves rowing more and more about petty little things. We want Emily to go back to school - but a decent, clean school where parents and teachers alike care for the children - we've looked but can't find one (perhaps we're too picky or snobby for our own good - or perhaps we just expect basic standards of hygiene and care which none of the schools local to us seem to offer.) We want Lesley to get a job, even for a few hours a week, just to get her out of the house and interracting with adults rather than focusing on a child. We want some 'us-time' back, where we can go out to a movie or for a meal once in a while.
So, is it any wonder we find ourselves in this rut of depression?
Well, yes frankly. Our lives have been enriched by Emily. We should be relishing this time surely?
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