A quick note before you read on - I wrote this after a very dark couple of weeks. I've made some changes in my life that have made things better. Time will tell, but so far I'm happier.
You see me in the street and you think I'm just another mum.
Just one more woman doing housework all day, going to the supermarket and playing with her child. Going to playdates to chat with other mums about the cute things my child has done.
You ask me what I do and I tell you, but all you hear is - 'just another mum'. Perhaps because your eyes have already glazed over before I even begin. You don't hear that there's more, because you're so stuck on the 'at home' part.
You see me reading stories and playing trains and making animal noises and you think this is what I do all day. You assume I'm happy here.
When you see me out without my child, you think I'm doing well. You think I'm grateful for the break, that it's good for me to get out of the house. You really do think I should be grateful.
You see me, but you don't.
Here's what you don't see.
You don't see that I'm a person with dreams, with ambitions, goals and desires. That this, being a mum, is just one part of it.
You don't know that I feel as though making one more animal noise, taking another toy train through its tunnel, could make me snap. I might just scream if I have to do this one more time.
You don't see that I cried for an hour today. And yesterday. And that I will again tomorrow. You don't know that I feel trapped here.
You don't know that I'm out without my child because I planned it a month ahead of time. That, even then, my plans fell through and I had to race around this morning rearranging things. Because if I don't have this one thing I've been looking forward to for a month, I don't know what I'll be left with.
You don't know that I used to be you. That I, too, once thought as you do about people like me. That I'm still trying to shake that feeling, that I need to shake it in order to be happy.
And your glazed eyes don't help.