living a life seeking balance

 

I was blessed to fall pregnant again so easily. This pregnancy was tough, with constant nausea, so completely different from my son, and I sensed my baby was a girl. So I prepared the cot with fresh pink linen and bought home our precious bundle.

I was juggling motherhood, both still being in nappies, feeding, and many sleepless nights. For a good while, in that season, I sank into post-partum depression. To be honest, I was just exhausted and felt unloved. Some nights I would wake every hour as my daughter had much trouble settling, and sleeping.

After many months of struggling to find the cause of her irritability, hospital stays and specialist appointments, we were told she had silent reflux. I was relieved to have a diagnoses and management plan to move forward with. It still took about 12 months before she was happy and content, but thank god she improved, albeit slowly.

Janus was so busy in the family business, he was working about 12 hours each day, seven days a week. It was all a big wake up call for me. It was my first experience of seeing how damaging putting work first can be. Nothing made sense to me, working so hard when you’re family needs you at home for support and connection.

It wasn’t Janus’ fault, unfortunately it’s just bred into the Chinese culture. So the cracks started to appear in our marriage and it was excruciatingly painful. But, we held on, hoping things would improve, maybe I was just meant to accept that this is the way it is.

i struggled with the lack of balance

Work first, family second. I get where they’re coming from, I truly do, a strong work ethic is commendable for sure, it’s the lack of balance I struggled with. I felt alone, abandoned, and neglected. Janus’ mother came to stay and help me with my daughter for a month, and for this I was grateful. I still had little support, only an elderly lady named Rosa who lived across the road.

She’d visit for morning tea, help me in the garden, and we’d take the kids to go and feed the ducks every week for many years. An opportunity arose for Janus, I and our little family to move into the house next door to his business, it was owned by his parents and we paid them rent. I wasn’t overly impressed, but I knew it wouldn’t be forever, it would only be a temporary move as we had bought a block of land with the intention of building our dream home.

I also thought we would get to see him more because we would be right next door. So, we sold our home and relocated to the green grocers headquarters.

I was teaching yoga in the studio and around the community at various schools, child care centres and even the local council. Thank god I was committed to yoga, it’s the glue that kept me together, in good times and bad, and I rarely missed a class. No matter what was going on in my life at the time, I always felt so much better after walking out of a class.

Unfortunately, life at home went from bad to worse, for me anyway. Being right next door to the shop only meant that Janus could be there more often, cleaning, preparing for the next day, answering phones and spending most of his time at the business.

For a woman that loves her own space and privacy it turned into a total nightmare. Now, I had staff packing fruit right outside the back door, customer orders coming through on fax, business phone calls to our home, and the worst, the fence between the shop and our home was pulled down, the kids swing set was disassembled and a massive coolroom was erected in the yard.

i was suffocating.

I felt we had been completely swallowed up in the madness of work/life and there was no boundary between work and home now whatsoever. Life was work and work was life. I was on constant watch for my kids, because now that the fence was gone, I was always worried about the forklift coming up and down and colliding with them.

Our cute, safe, kid-friendly backyard had become cemented, cold, hectic and dangerous.

I didn’t want drama, I wanted peace.

I didn’t want noise, I longed for silence.

I didn’t want people, I needed space.

I didn’t want money and things, I wanted connection and freedom.

I didn’t want cement and buildings. I wanted nature and birds.

I didn’t want superficial and ego, I wanted soul and serenity.

I mentioned if we could go seek marriage counseling together, and his response was this ‘if you can’t be happy here, then you can’t be happy anywhere. If you have a problem, then it’s your problem. I will not go to counseling. You’re the one who needs help.’  And guess what? He was spot on, I did have a problem with it.

There were many incidents that brought me undone and questioning the unfortunate predicament I had found myself in. It was obvious that our dream home was a fantasy, and Janus’s loyalty lay with his father. It was heartbreaking. Slowly, slowly it all crumbled, but there was a defining moment that arose, where I had no choice but to leave the home with the children.

You know what?

some things in life just run their course

And that’s the way it is. I don’t blame Janus at all, how could I?  My constant nagging at him to spend more quality time with us irritated him to no end, he was doing what felt right for him, following his path, and living his truth. He’s still there, and he’s thriving. I am happy for him and his family. Just so happens that, that lifestyle and way of being did not align with me, and onwards I went.

So, I purchased a neat little cottage around the corner, with a lovely garden opposite a beautiful park. The night we moved in, one of my friends came over with a small cardboard box, I was beyond delighted to find a sweet little kitten just waiting to be welcomed into our life. This kitten was a blessing for my children and I, we had a change of energy, focus and felt such warmth and love in our lives.

I was now free to put all of my passion into the kids and building my yoga business. At night I hired a lovely babysitter to mind the children whilst I taught classes and even though it was still tough, life for us had found a peaceful, welcome flow for a while.

I made a goals list and a colourful, inspiring vision board, placed it beside my bed and for the 5 years and I worked tirelessly to create a better life for my children and I. I was teaching about 25 classes a week to people from all different walks of life, those with special needs and disabilities, the homeless, the corporate world, school students, teachers, mums, dads, kids. Online, at retreats, basically to everyone, everywhere that I could.

I prayed that one day we would be free to leave this community and start afresh in a beautiful place near the ocean. The light of yoga was burning bright within me, it was my solace, my strength, my fire and I was committed to its path, it’s the only hope I had, and I gave it everything I could. It called something higher in me in to come forward, to show up and to radiate goodness no matter what.

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice” – Bob Marley

Check out part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  or read ahead

 

Published in memoirs
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