There are days when you feel life is tough. I think I've been having a tough time lately. My husband is working away for three weeks so I'm at home alone with the three children. The boys seem to be permanently antagonistic and aggressive, there's always one shouting, crying, pushing, thumping, hurt. Neither the carrot or stick methods of dealing with them are working and I don't quite know what to do next.
There is a "catastrophic"* leak in our plumbing so I've not had any central heating or hot water for ten days. Various experts have been through to help me but so far all they've achieved is pulling up the wooden floor in the sitting room leaving me with a shelving unit in the middle of the room and lots of books, toys and bottles piled up on the floor. I get up in the night to keep our wood burner stoked for warmth and have been relying on the immersion heater for hot water.
Tonight the immersion heater stopped working. The two boys were in bed yelling and crying. I sat at the kitchen table and felt numb and light headed. I didn't quite know what to do. So I phoned my husband. It's 2am where he is but I stubbornly kept pressing redial because I wasn't sure what else to do. He's talked me through re-wiring the switch for the immersion heater. I felt overwhelmed and tearful, scared by the rainbow of wires and little holes I had to wedge them into.
It's working again now, the socket hanging precariously off the wall. Like me it just has to limp through the week, to literally hang in there until Matthew is back on Friday, for practical, if not moral support.
But I feel ashamed for my distress. Am I a weak person or are these extraordinary circumstances? In the DRC people are fleeing for their lives. What hardship is my faulty plumbing compared to that? We don't really know what a tough life is in this country, all we really suffer are inconveniences to the standard of life we consider a right. When I start to feel sorry for myself I try to remember this and think of those who really have it tough.
*plumber's word not mine