This summer, both Jenny and myself, have experienced some exponential changes. Since getting back from my first year at University, my home life has morphed into something very different to what it was before, and the changes I saw erupting around me scared me a little. So I have decided to share them on here, in hope that if anyone else was struggling in a similar way, they would not feel alone.
Summer has always been a slightly more difficult time for me, as my parents are divorced and I had to bounce between the two. But never before had I had this much of a say as to where I was. I have to admit, this made life more difficult than easy, as I had originally thought (well hoped). I felt that I couldn’t spend more time at another’s without upsetting the other or allowing the other feel that I preferred them, so my biggest challenge was to make sure I could split my time as equally as possible. On top of this, I wanted to get a summer job to earn some extra money (which turns out to be almost impossible when you’re only in one place for a month or so at a time), see my friends and spend some much-missed time with my family.
I moved back into my dad’s first, with the idea of spending a week or so for my little brother’s birthday. I did end up staying longer, but that’s neither here nor there. Going back home, with nothing to do but to search for a job and hang around that house was hard. When I went to my dad’s for the summer, I was usually around for a week or so before holiday, where we would go away for almost 3 weeks. I was never stuck around and I was never bored. I was lucky that Jenny was around for me to see her and spend some time out of the house, but in general I felt pretty out of place. I found that I was striving to feel useful, doing the washing or the cleaning, cooking dinner when I knew my stepmom was going to be home late (so it was ready for her to eat when she got back) and making my dad tea and coffee when he worked from home. This extended to when I returned on the 1st of July for a month. When I had nothing to do or no people around who I could see, (as Jenny soon ran off to America) I kept myself busy with house hold chores. I think my stepmom got a little annoyed when I started trying to organise and clear out my little brothers room (he was 6 this June), so she set me up with other, more fun, things.
At my dads I also couldn’t get a job. Nowhere would hire for a month or a couple of months at a time, which is completely fair. So instead I busied myself with the one audience I had in excess. Babysitting. I am incredibly lucky to have my little brother, as every time I went to pick him up from school (another habit I got into, to see him more and help out my parents) I would make sure to talk to the other parents, advertising my services. After a month of regular night work, I earnt over £400 babysitting for the neighbourhood kids. I even got a weekend job! (and other random jobs, like jet washing an entire porch – yes odd…) Much of this work was super easy and with kids I already knew rather well. A lot of the time I would arrived when they were asleep, sit down stairs for a couple of hours and leave when the parents got home around, usually 11-1. It was easy work, especially when I was worked literally next door for some of them. The only downside I found was that I saw less and less of my parents. My parents are both business workers and often work late into the night. When I babysat at night, I barely saw them, except when I looked after my neighbours 3 boys, when my dad would deliver dinner and occasionally for maybe an hour when I got back.
Yet, the hardest change at my dad’s didn’t come until the last week there. Another new experience, that I will talk about in another post, is the fact that I am going inter-railing with my uni-friends at the end of August. I am so excited about this trip and I know its going to be amazing (don’t worry I will be writing about it afterwards). However, because I’m going away with my friends, I have not gone on the ‘family holiday’ this year. This was something I got asked earlier in the year, and had declined (since I would be back in England for a couple of days, before leaving again on my trip). Yet, when the time came for my parents to start packing and preparing to leave, I started to feel awful. I felt low and it was really hard to watch my family get excited for something I wasn’t going to be part of. I knew that I had agreed to this and I really was okay with missing the holiday, but knowing that I wouldn’t see them on my birthday (it is customary for us to go away for my birthday) or my stepmums (which is on the day after my own), was hard. This is since something I’m feeling better about, especially since they’ve been away, but that first time you aren’t going on holiday with your family. It’s hard.
My dad and stepmom weren’t the only ones to go away without me either. Earlier in June, I came home to my mums to dog sit my two gorgeous dogs (pictured above, the black & white one is Bullseye and the black & brown one is Jace), while my mum and stepdad went to Croatia. This trip was not so hard for me. I was with my boys, the weather was hot, and it was only a week. But, at my mums I am very isolated. Our house is an hour walk from the centre of town and all my friends from school are barely around. To keep myself from going insane, I kept busy. I spent my time working on the blog and walking my dogs, and when it got to hot, playing with them and the hose (Jace loves it). My mum hadn’t been away for 6 years and she was in so much need of a holiday, so I was proud to help her out. See she’s a little in the wars this year (broken ribs, tennis arm, bad back ect… But thats not really important), and so sun, sea and sand was heavily required. However, that’s not to say time at my mums was without big changes that I did find hard.
My room at my mums was over taken by, well, my mother. The majority of my things had been moved unceremoniously to the loft, in an attempt to make more room and storage space. I do completely understand this, but arriving into a room which doesn’t seem like your own can be devastating. I had been granted 2 draws and a couple of hangers in an already overcrowded wardrobe, luckily that was all I needed. Since I came back in late July, for my birthday and work, I’ve attempted to get more comfortable, but that mostly just ends in a mess. I’ve been working part time at a property management firm, as a temp, which basically involves doing all the jobs no one else wants to do – which is absolutely fine by me. I was lucky to have some friendly connections there to get the job. Home life here is the same as at my dads. On those days I’m home alone, I try to get things done. I spend hours cleaning up the house (which needs to be done with 2 dogs!) and walking my boys, sun, rain or gales. I can’t stand the idea of being useless. Yet that also means I don’t relax.
The biggest change recently at my mums though has been my relationship with my mum. I’ve always been the ‘perfect’ daughter for her. I never got all teenagery or stropey, and I always did my best to be a good daughter. Recently I’ve been forcing myself to not try so hard, as I’ve been crippled more than once for not feeling good enough. My mum has released me a little. During my first year, she was rather clingy and I struggled with our relationship when I tried to ask her to be less protective and more liberal. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want her to stop texting me or asking how my day was, but a check up message everyday was a little much.
And this is where I’m up to. I knew things would be different, but I didn’t realise how I would feel when they were different. I will round this post up here, because it’s getting long and rambley (sorry!). Let me know in the comments below when things started to change in your life and what changed the most.