I’d like to call in sick today…you know, ring the boss and just say that you’re coming down with something and you won’t be in. That’s the kind of morning I am having, but who do I call? I don’t think that my son would understand me, or care for that matter, if I told him I wasn’t going to turn up to be ‘Mum’ today! Regardless of how I feel, I am mum to a lively, cuddly (when he wants to be), loud, messy and loving little bloke, and I have to turn up and be fully present no matter how I might personally be feeling. But on days like today, how do you push through that mental barrier of just wanting to have a day off, and get to the other side so you can be the best possible mum for your child (or children)? I was Facebook scrawling this morning in a bit of a daze, and a post on “How to pull it together when you are Parenting on empty” by www.notjustcute.com popped up – how appropriate!! There were some good tips in there, things that I know and have heard before, like Letting Go (and yes I did start to sing the song when I read those two words, who doesn’t?!) and only aiming to achieve one major goal for the day – and if some days that’s just keeping everyone in the house alive, then that’s absolutely fine! The washing can wait until tomorrow, and the dishes are ok to sit in the sink for just a little bit longer. This one for me has been particularly hard to come to terms with over the last two years since my son was born (well, almost two years), because whilst I’m not a clean freak, I do start to feel a bit out of control when the house looks like a bomb site. When I start to feel like that, I look at doing just one task to get things on track a little – that might be just to clean up the toys lying around the house, or tidy the kitchen bench. Something achievable that will make you feel a bit better on the inside, but won’t take all day to do.
The blog post also mentioned to remember to schedule some fun! It doesn’t have to be a day full of planned activities, but something like a trip to the park in the morning or playing with your child for half an hour or so – it’s not only showing your child that you do have time for them and that you want to play, but I can find it to help to forget about all the things that I should be doing and instead focus on having a little bit of fun with the pride and joy in your life. As a teacher, I know that children want to be given attention from their parents to help them form identity and feel loved and wanted, so giving this time is so very important for them, and for building a much needed and rewarding relationship with your child (I use singular here but of course it applies to all the children you may have).
Now, let me just throw in here that I am NOT an expert, I am just simply one mum who readily admits that I don’t have it all together all of the time, and if me sharing that simple fact and a few tips or websites that I have found helpful helps just one other mum to feel a bit more human again, then I’d say that’s a win! Parenting is hard work, and nothing can prepare you for the days where you are just pulling it together on coffee and chocolate (and we’ll get to my new found love of chocolate shortly). We hear lots of the stories of people loving being a mum and loving staying at home to watch their little munchkins grow, and no doubt I’ll write about those days too, but today this is where I am at and I wanted to share…I know that I find stories of others also battling through at times uplifting, because I feel the weight of the world life from my shoulders as I realise that I am not the only one!!!! Women should support one another and this is one way that I am going to do just that! And believe it or not, writing and sharing about my story actually helps me too – who would’ve thought?!!
Anyway, so now that the disclaimer is out of the way, lets get back to the really helpful stuff! In the post I read all blurry eyed this morning, there was a good analogy used about airlines reminding us to put our own oxygen masks on before we put them on others. This is so true, if we don’t look after ourselves first, how can we possibly expect to look after anyone else, let alone little people who take so much love and care and attention?! So doing something like reading a magazine, going for a walk or reading a book, even for just a short time, can be enough to feed yourself some much needed energy to continue on with your day. For me it can be reading blogs or looking at the online magazine subscriptions that often get left for months as life carries on, so catching up on them is a bit of special ‘me’ time. Don’t underestimate the calming and therapeutic nature a good soak in the bath can give too, and it’s something you can enjoy once the kids are in bed.
And if all else fails, maintaining and going through a stock pile of chocolate is a good one too!! I am not much of a chocolate fan, but lately I have been loving Cadbury’s Hazelnut chocolate!! YUMMY!!
If you’ve got any tips on how you get through those tough days, I’d love to hear them in the comments section below. Have a wonderful day 🙂