28.4.08

I'm just a girl in purple wellies

I’m back from what turned out to be a hedonistic week away after all. It’s was pure joy from the moment I boarded the airport train in Oslo to the check-in desk at Manchester airport yesterday (more of which in a moment).
Of course I learned a lot about writing – this was the purpose of the trip after all – and I’ve come back motivated and enthusiastic about getting down to fiction writing. But the greater revelation was personal and totally unexpected. I discovered that not only can I exist happily as a person away from her husband and family – I will even publicly admit that I missed him but not our offspring - but that I can thrive as an individual too. As much as I love my children, mothering them does mean quelling, often neglecting, my spirit. From a distance, it was clear that I am lost in a bottomless pit of anxiety (of my own making) amid the daily routines, logistics and chores that parenting three young children involves.
Last week, I met some wonderful people who love writing, including my Swiss room-mate who travels the world trying to solve conflicts when she's not wielding her fiction pen. I didn’t worry about anything. I lived in the moment. I even sneaked off to the hairdressers in the nearest village when I was supposed to be writing. For a week, I was the Irish girl in the purple wellies (much envied by several who hadn’t arrived in damp Shropshire so practically equipped).
Of course as soon as my children met me at the train station, I remembered why I love them so much – it’s not their fault that I find the daily haranguing and herding relentless. I arrived back from England feeling lighter and will endeavour to maintain some free-spiritedness as I slip back into my Norwegian life. Unfortunately for my bank balance, such lightness didn’t extend to my luggage. I spent Saturday afternoon shopping in Manchester where people couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful (and not just in putting a massive hole in my pocket). I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to be surrounded by people speaking English who don’t act as if one is invisible.
My bags were 14 kilos overweight – ten of which I was charged ₤80 for – at check-in on the way home. Darling if you’re reading, I’m sorry - I promise not to buy any more shoes until we go to Ireland in July - I hope on balance you'll think it was worth it ;-)

11 comments:

Victoria said...

What an interesting post. You hit on a reason for why I don't want children. I'm always a little amused at how people seem absolutely shocked and seemingly think that my life is totally empty (and perhaps worthless) if I don't have kids. I know parenting is hard work and completely selfless. Of course I know that mothers experience a love that is unique and incredibly special and most say it makes it totally worth it.
Anyway, I'm glad you had some time for yourself and that it was such a great experience. Welcome back to Norway. :-)

laurie said...

was this a writing workshop? a writing conference? i always find those enthralling, then i go through a period of crabbiness, where i think they were worthless, and then later i emerge on the other side and start realizing how much i learned.

ireneintheworld said...

isn't it great when you have that lightbulb moment and realise that you can say it out loud? i was the most reluctant parent ever and was miserable for years; always feeling guilty because i wanted to escape - and it's nothing to do with the children, as such.

i planned all my children and had three before i realised that i hated kids! x

Joanne Rasmussen said...

Great post! You put it all down on paper so well. I miss my kids the minute they are away from me but I think it is all entwined with a guilt that I am a crappy mum, I spend many hours thinking about all my mistakes.

Joanne Rasmussen said...

Oh I wanted to say that it must be really lousy to be in the shops regularly in Norway as I also hate that feeling that the shop assistant is doing ME the favour. I once said to an assistant in a store here that I was the reason she had a job - I must have been premenstrual.

Women Rule Writer said...

Ha ha! You're all gas. I thought I was the only mad mother-writer in the world. Kids are great but, God, they're time consuming. And unportable. And do I want any more? Crazily, I might...

OSLO said...

Thank you all for your comments and support. It's been a tough week adjusting to real life but I have managed to write and feel far more driven to get my novel done than ever before. Feeling negative about Norway now - too boring, culturally barren, isolated - but I guess this is pointless. This nomad is ready to move on, and has been for almost a year, but will try make the most of the 18 or so mths we have left.
Jo

beaverboosh said...

Welcome Back. So happy for you that you found it so liberating! We don't have children, but I can only live here because I generally spend a week a month in blighty... and being around English speakers, well... You need to agree with hubby to get away on a regular basis. BB. P.S. Maybe we need a foreign bloggers piss up in Oslo once a month!

Five-Browns said...

I hear you loud and clear. I love my kids but parenthood and I are not a natural fit. There is nothing like finding yourself again when you are immersed in something that makes your spirit rise again! Go girl.

Vanessa G said...

Oh you lucky bu**er. Arvon, Shropshire? That's where I was last october, on a week led by Maggie Gee and Jacob Ross. My first Arvon, and I suspect, my last... NOTHING could have been better.

I only wish someone had warned me about the potty situation. In the old house, 2 loos (in bathrooms) between nine writers was interesting.

Someone said she'd been advised to bring a chamber pot.

Would have gone well with the purple wellies...

Vx

OSLO said...

BB - you're right I need to do this again but in the meantime have booked four weeks in Ireland over the summer to cure me of my nedd for culture and English.
Five-Browns - thank you. I sometimes wonder if I'm some maternal abberation because I don't want to spend day-in, day-out with my little people.
Vaness - Arvon seem like aeons ago now! I stayed in the Clock House where the ratio of toilets to people was better, despite the one nearest to my room being out of order. I must admit it was one of my biggest concerns before I travelled. It was well worth it though :-)
Jo