I’m standing in the kitchen daydreaming when I hear the cordless drill going off in the other room. Hang on… Leigh is at work so it has to be one of the kids. I go into the lounge. Nic, my nine year old daughter is putting together the chair I bought at Office Works.
“Um, hey, what are you doing?”
She sighs. “I’m putting the chair together. You said I could.”
I probably did.
It’s the end of the holidays. We took our kids out of school a week early so I’ve been with them for three weeks now. My main coping strategy for dealing with four little girls all day, every day is to go into auto-pilot mode. In auto-pilot, I can make lunches and watch kids on the trampoline, drive, tie shoelaces, cook spaghetti bolognaise and hold conversations that engage and satisfy my three year old.
These school holidays, while on auto-pilot, I’m way inside my own world. I’m far away from squabbling, Peppa Pig on TV and the dance party going on in the lounge room. Inside the world in my mind, I’m having a whole other life complete with imaginary conversations and events from my life twisted into new scenarios.
My therapist says its dissociation, and that it’s usually employed as a coping strategy to remove oneself from a stressful situation. She said I likely started doing it when I was a little girl, when I had good reason for it, and now it is a habit. When the Channel Ten program ‘Offspring’ started, my sisters were calling me, saying, “Yvette, you are Nina Proudman!” I definitely resonate with Nina Proudman.
I’d like to curb the daydreaming though. It drives my family nuts. And it’s not fair on the girls to have a mum who is there, but not there.
Can anyone relate to that?
Or is it just me and my imaginary friends?