Life can pass us by in what come sometimes seem like a serious of unconnected events. Some we have full control over and some happen (seemingly) by chance. Personally I believe in the butterfly effect. Not literally. I don’t literally believe that a butterfly flapping its wings in America can cause a tsunami in Japan. What I believe is the metaphor that this represents. That something as innocuous as a butterfly flapping its wings can have a domino effect that causes something much larger to happen. In essence every decision we make, no matter how seemingly small can continue to cause ripples in our life long after we have made it. So what if we could see our ‘What if’s’? What if we could look at a part of our life and see how different it would be if we didn’t make that decision? Would you really want to know?
Perhaps I am just being a bit too reflective but in the interest of trying to live a more positive life I find myself wanting to ask these questions. Perhaps because I am a Mum, I am tired and currently finding myself in desperate need of a holiday (which I can’t have but need to fit in before the confines of school!) that I find myself asking these questions.
Looking back I have had some very pivotal moments that have led me this point in my life. I know the exact conversation that stopped me in my tracks and made me want to go to University to train as a nurse. Ordinarily this may seem like an average conversation of a 21 year old girl struggling with direction but it has directly led to here. At the time I had a small amount of debt. Nothing massive but enough for me to want to pay it all off before I started Uni. I didn’t have long to achieve this so I got right to it. I left the full time job I had because the hours weren’t ideal for fitting in other paid work. Instead I got myself 3 jobs. A Saturday receptionist, a part time waitress and a full time telemarketer.
It was at this latter job that I met my husband. The father of my children. I only worked there for a month and I hated it. He arrived 2 weeks after I started. For those that believe in fate I guess it was fate. This is the one ‘What if’? I don’t like asking. I don’t want to know ‘What if we hadn’t met?’ ‘What if I didn’t choose to go to Uni?’ But here is the big one I do ask and I’m not sure I should or I really want to know.
‘What if we didn’t have kids?’
I thought I would dive right in! Not many people would admit they think about this but I bet a lot of people do. Just to clarify because I feel that I should; I love my children and I couldn’t live without them. This question doesn’t often get asked in my head and I always feel bad when it does. So, what if?
I would be working that is for sure. I’d likely still be a nurse but I would have worked up the ranks quickly and without distraction. We would go on expensive holidays. I don’t doubt this for a second. The hardest part Hubby and I would find is fitting in the annual leave around our work.
We would have moved. The chances are extremely high that we would have moved into London. It would have been beneficial for both our jobs. Truth is the city still holds a big pull for me but at the same time I don’t want to bring the girls up there so we would never actually go. Plus, you know…. ££££££.
Does it Matter?
Does it matter that life isn’t like this? No of course not and I wouldn’t want it to be. That said I don’t think my life would be any less full. I believe as humans we make the most of the hand we have been dealt. The part the kids are filling now I didn’t even know needed filling until they arrived. I didn’t miss them before I had them. I only know that sensation now they exist. Too philosophical? Perhaps.
Life is crazy. The girls are beyond exhausting and incredibly trying on my patience. I believe most mothers feel like this on a regular basis. Over the years I have felt an intense flood of Mum Guilt each time I have thought ‘What if?’ Now I ask it to keep myself sane. I think about all the ways my life would be different without them. It gives me some time away from them in my own head. A beautiful daydream.
Every single time the dream ends I have a wave of relief. Relief that my reality is very different. A relief that despite the tantrums, shouting and fighting. The lack of sleep and messy house. The ingrained dirt and snotty sleeves this is my true reality. I may not feel it all the time but I am blessed.
Do I really want to know ‘What if?’
But I like to imagine every now and then.
This post originally appeared on Meet Other Mums where I am a regular blogger.