Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself, how can I go on like this? If so, you are not alone.
Some days everything just falls into place.
The kids made it out the door on time without a mummy meltdown. The house somehow doesn’t look like we have been involved in a home invasion and no one gave me an “I hate you” eye roll.
Then, on the other hand, there are days where it all goes belly up.
As a #lifecoach, some assume I have it all together ALL of the time. Let’s clear up that illusion right away. In our Brady Bunch family consisting of 4 girls and 1 boy all under 15, at times, some days, nothing could be further from the truth. There are times when everyone has left for the day I just feel like I totally suck at everything. I think I suck as a step/mum, I suck as a partner, I suck as a friend, and I suck as a coach.
What I believe I don’t suck at is recognising it.
I am aware the days where things go “belly up” are the days when I buy into everyone’s looks, notice everything they were doing wrong, and I call everyone on it. This is when things can spiral into my own little pity party if I don’t recognize it quickly.
It is on these days I know my cup is empty, and I need a refill.
So how do I recover from my less than positive starts to the day?
I own it. I apologise to all my humans individually and at our family dinner table. I take responsibility for my inability to handle the morning in a better way. I am aware, and so are my family, that when I’m tired and overwhelmed than all the little things become exaggerated. I catch myself and start looking for all the things our children are doing RIGHT.
The most magical day of my life was when I became a mother 26 years ago. Yes, I have a grown son too.
I also know, as mothers/parents/carer, we are continually running the ‘Everyone comes first’ program most of the time.We start our day assessing how we are going to balance getting the children out the door on time, lunches, notes, homework, and afternoon sports. While also balancing our own business/careers, our own health, trying to keep spark alive in our relationship, and look good while doing it all.
These are the days I call STOP and ask myself what is URGENT and MOST IMPORTANT.
Generally, it is time for a mental health day, weekend or maybe as simple as a dip in the ocean.
The truth is, when I’m out of balance in my own head, the wheels fall off at home. For that reason, I know it is essential for me to reset and rebalance without guilt.
I am grateful to have a partner that recognizes the importance of “Mumma time out”. He encourages me to take a yoga class, a swim or even a weekend away at his family holiday house ALONE. I am pretty sure he needs a time out from me too. Haha.
Honestly, in the beginning, MUMMA GUILT stopped me a lot of the time. I would make excuses that the kids “NEEDED” me. But what I noticed more, I NEEDED them. I found it really hard to let go. So I started small with a yoga class, walk or a day out.
Now, I have two weekends a year to reconnect to nature through sunrises and sunsets, hikes, yogas and walks ALONE or with friends.
What I find most alarming yet not surprising is how many mums just don’t allow themselves to take any time for themselves. The guilt consumes mums so much that leaving the family feels debilitating.
Now I appreciate not everyone has a place to escape for free as I do, but why don’t we allow ourselves more FREE time?
When we take time to fill up our own cups, we are not only more patient with our families, we are teaching through modelling the importance of self-care.
When on a plane, we are advised to place the oxygen mask on ourselves first before helping others, right?
So if you are not quite ready to plunge into the great escape yet, here are some examples of small daily rituals you can add to fill up your cup.
- Get out of bed half an hour earlier to listen to a 20-minute meditation, audio-book, take a walk or even just enjoy a coffee before the morning rush. Personally, I escape to the gym ultra-early. I am a better person if I can tick that box.
- Go to bed earlier. Lack of sleep increases our inability to handle our emotions. I know, especially when our children are small, we stay up late because it feels like our only “alone” time. But it is these times we fill our brains with useless programs and our mouths with mindless eating. I recommend the app ‘Calm”. I listen to a bedtime story with my headphones on and drift off. Matthew McConaughey’s Wonder is my favourite. YUM. I have found not only do I fall asleep more quickly, but also have longer quality sleep.
- Turn off social media after 7 pm and don’t look at it before 9 am. WOW, when we notice the 5 minutes here and there we are on Facebook and Instagram, we soon see how time gets away on us.
- Burn a favourite candle or incense, plays some relaxing tunes to create a peaceful state at home. Now not everyone loves my incense, but no one complains too much.
- Enjoy nightly family mealtimes to reconnect and laugh without technology. More and more, the family traditional meals times are being replaced with, in front of the TV or separate times/areas of the house. Dinner times at our house are loud and filled with storytime. Our little people have loads of adventure throughout the day.
- Date time. Make a date night with your partner once a month. If it is not out of the home, then make a particular time to talk and reconnect.
- Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier, so you get to hit snooze and roll over and give your partner 10 minutes of hugs in the morning. Taking time to connect makes a difference in your relationship.
It doesn’t matter where you start to take time for yourself, just start. Remember, our brain is designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain, so change is tricky at first.
Our children are not going to remember how clean the house was or what we did for them when they were little, they are going to remember how we made them feel.
Life doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a mother.