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Saturday, January 29, 2022

‘I know my death will ruin my children’s lives – but there is nothing I can do’

How do you prioritise yourself when you become a parent?

It is so hard! A shower can sometimes feel like an absolute luxury. Sitting down and eating a meal without needing to get up 27 times to get the kids another drink, mop up the drink they just spilled, guide spoon fulls of food to your toddler who insists they “DON’T. LIKE. IT.” at every single meal time – except of course dessert – then they “WANT ITTTTT, WANT IT NOWWW MUMMY.”

Your six-year-old dramatically dry heaves at every mouthful, even though she told me she “loved my cauliflower cheese” last week.

Going shopping, do you think of yourself or do you think of dummies, drinks, nappies, entertainment, nap time – the fear of a danger nap in the car meaning they will absolutely, positively not go to bed tonight so you have to time it with precision.

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Bath time; one of them wants to play barbies, the other wants to crash into the barbies with his boat. One cries so you calm them down with one of your many distraction techniques and then the other starts and then we have a full blown tantrummy bath.

Roisin Pelan
Parenting is hard, but I wouldn’t change it (Image: Roisin Pelan)

I break a sweat while I scrub one and haul the other one out. Dry them, moisturise the little buggers, turn on the calming music, warm milk, 319 hugs and then………bliss.

Hahahaha – I’m kidding, bliss usually takes around an hour to reach and by that time, the bath I’ve been dreaming of doesn’t look anywhere near as appealing as it did a few hours ago. My pillow however, looks glorious. I won’t get a nice scrub, or a moisturise or supper made for me or 319 hugs. I’ll do it tomorrow I lie to myself.

I remember the days where I would get up on the weekend at whatever time my heart desired. I’d play music I loved, rather than “daddy finger” on repeat and I’d lie in the bath with a book and a glass of wine. I’d moisturise and manicure and call my friends. I’d sit and watch something gleefully unaware that this was a god damn luxury!

I’d go to bed and I would sleep uninterrupted and wake up looking and feeling fresh and ready for the day!

Roisin Pelan
Roisin says that cancer has made her appreciate life more (Image: Roisin Pelan)
Roisin just after giving birth (Image: Roisin Pelan)

These days, my brain is constantly buzzing with “I need to do this, I need to do that, I need to blah blah blahhhhhhh”

So to summarise, parenthood is hard! It’s hard to feel like you any more sometimes, especially given we haven’t really had chance to be us for the past year. We have all shielded because of my chemo so we haven’t spent a night apart in SO long.

However, parenthood is the GREATEST club I have ever had the joy of being part of. Yes I loved my Sunday sessions in the beer garden with my mates, going to gigs, festivals and parties. Would I swap being a parent to go back and be there again. Absolutely. No way!

If you’re lucky enough to ever become a parent or a carer of a little human, I promise you, your life will become enriched with feelings you never, ever thought existed. Feelings you hadn’t thought about before you had them. They become the biggest part of you.

Life is all about the children, but that’s great (Image: Roisin Pelan)

I read a post recently from a lady I really admire who also has cancer. She had written that people who talk about their fear of dying being so much worse when they’re a parent. She felt that it was unfair to be made to feel less important because you weren’t a mother….and that is absolutely true.

You do become more aware of your self worth, of your family and your best mates when you have cancer. You feel crushing heartache when you’re told you’re dying, because you won’t get to experience every square mile of this wondrous earth.

You feel physical pain in your bones and your stomach, even your eyes as you look at your parents and tell them the news that you’re incurable.

‘Sometimes parenting drives me crazy, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything’ (Image: Roisin Pelan)
Sure, going to the pub was fun, but being a mum is better (Image: Roisin Pelan)

It’s not that having a child makes you any less worthy of survival, it’s just that these little human beings are the branches on our tree; if we fall down, so do they. You’ll be gone so you won’t be able to see the aftermath, but you know your children better than anyone and you know the hell they will endure for the rest of their lives if you leave them.

You know they will wake in the night screaming for you and you won’t be there, and although their daddy is amazing, he’s just not you. You know exactly how to coo and coax and comfort them back to happiness again. So when you’re a parent and you’re told you’re going to die, it does have an added dose of devastation because you know you’re going to ruin their life and there isn’t a single thing you can do about it.

Roisin spending time with pals (Image: Roisin Pelan)

So all those meal-time tantrums, the battles to get dressed in the morning and the endless hugs they demand at bedtime, they ARE life! They are everything to me.

Of course, I’m only human and sometimes, they drive me crazy. But would I swap it? Not for all the riches of the world. For every downside to being a parent, there’s 10 upsides. The hilarious things they do. The way they mimic you, even the way they sometimes come out with “bugger” or “oh shit” makes your heart howl with joy.

The stories they tell, the songs they make up, the smell of their hair, the rubbish jokes they make up that we all belly laugh over. Yes, it’s hard to prioritise yourself at times, but when I do spoil myself with a bath, or a day out or even a girls holiday, I always make sure to tell them that it is important to be mummy, but it’s important to be Roisín too.

Product of the week

(Image: Roisin Pelan)

This week, it’s Lights4fun who are literally lighting up the world with kindness. They’re supporting the mental health charity – ‘Mind’ by donating £28.26 from every purchase of our Be Kind Neon Light.

I’m lucky enough to own one of these and honestly, they’re such a little mood lifter. We had it in Ivy’s room but now it sits in my office when I work late and it just makes the room that little bit more lovely. Mood lighting just seems to make everything a little bit happier doesn’t it!

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