Mummy Stuff - Overwhelmed

You know what I’m not good at? Not doing everything. I want to have a foot in every door, a finger in every pie so to speak. I want to be a stay-at-home Mum, a working Mum, the Mum who takes her kids to extra-curricular activities, to playgroup, to library, to mother’s groups. I want to be a fit Mum, a Mum who feeds her kids only healthy foods, who ensures her kids brush their teeth twice a day and are bathed every night. I want to be the Mum that is there in the middle of winter with two kids rugged up in the pram ready for Parkrun each week. I want to have beautifully dressed kids and turn up early to church each week. I want to be able to cope with packing lunchboxes and backpacks and get the kids off to daycare & preschool on-time, dressed, fed and in good spirits. I want to give 110% at work always and never turn up with kids cereal or sticky handprints on my clothes. I want to have a date night every week with my husband and spend time with him every day when he gets home from work. I want to spend time each week with my family and closest friends. I want to be able to stay on top of the washing and cleaning and decluttering and constant tidying. I want to be able to find the 2 or so hours (uninterrupted) each month to be able to document my memories in a photobook. I want to have an immaculate house while still being able to enjoy it. I want time to myself!

Wow. I’m overloaded just thinking about all that. And I think about it on a daily basis. I’m a chronic overthinker. Hence why this extrovert gets overwhelmed occasionally and needs to retreat and have alone time. I love to be in control and have everything planned out - sure I love a spontaneous adventure once in a while, as long as it’s between certain hours on a certain day and only if we have nowhere else to be (I’m not good at spontaneous, can you tell?)

One thing I have learnt with kids (and I thought I’d learnt a lot after child number 1, and then number 2 came along and it turns out, I know nothing!) is that you cannot possibly control every part of your life. You also cannot do everything. I wanted my life to look a certain way (see above!) and for me to be able to take the kids somewhere and do something every day, but you know what happened? I crashed and burned.

I’ve crashed and burned many, many times before. I can’t recall many from primary school, but definitely in high school, definitely during my gap year, definitely at university, definitely at work and most definitely when I became a Mum. So I’m pretty good at recognising the signs, and slowly over time I am able to use some strategies to pull myself back out of the hole I like to dig myself into.

What does it look like when it happens? I’ve often had anxiety attacks (which have been mistaken for an asthma attack in the past), I feel like my head is spinning, I can’t think straight, I can’t function, sometimes depression rears it’s head again and I crawl into bed, unable to eat or do anything, I feel physically sick, stressed, nauseous, I cry, I get angry or I shut down to everyone around me. Definitely not what I like admitting to people as a) I like to put on a face and be that person who ‘has it all together’ and b) I am trying really, really hard to be positive. Well unfortunately not talking about it keeps it bottled up and that’s where the power of it is - bust open the lid of the bottle and this horrible illness has no power. In my case anyway. When I wrote a blog post on my battle with post-natal depression, the response was amazing. I had so many women reaching out to me letting me know about their experiences, or that they didn’t realise the symptoms they had were also post-natal depression and that they were going to seek help. So I’ve been wondering whether to share this, and well, here we are. It can only help!

Recently I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been quieter in writing blog posts and why posting on my Facebook page has been a bit random at times. Now, I accept and love the choices I’ve made to be a working mum and to have kids close together. But I have to also accept that in this season, I cannot do it all, and something has to give because it’s not really a way to live, being stressed and overwhelmed day after day, and still trying to make it all work.

So I’ve decided that I need to be able to say no more. I have no problem saying no to my kids, so why is it that I find it so hard to say no to adults? I think it's because I’m a people pleaser. But it’s pushing me towards breaking point. So no more - I need to weigh up decisions to do things during the week and my desire to have it all and do it all against how that works with the most important role I have right now - to be the best wife to Brendan and the best mother to my two beautiful girls. Isn’t it better to say no and perhaps feel bad for a small amount of time because you’ve ‘let someone else down’ (this is how my head tries to justify it - I know in theory this is rarely true) than to have your life at home and your mental state suffer? I think we all know the answer to that.

I’m not trying to give anyone advice here (I’m definitely not qualified) - I began blogging as I love to write (and to keep myself accountable as I began decluttering my home) and writing is very therapeutic for me - being able to get everything I’m feeling down on paper to get it out of my head and perhaps help someone else along the way. I think one of the coolest things about Facebook pages & social media is how much we loved the shared experience. We aren’t going through this motherhood journey alone, nor should we have to. If you are feeling alone or overwhelmed, reach out! I know I have in the past and I always feel so much better for it.

I’ve cut everything right back this term and we’ve enjoyed more time at home. And I actually think we are better for it. If you are feeling overwhelmed, definitely talk to someone about it and consider what it is in your week or life that is making you feel that way. Mine might seem like an easy fix but I’ve battled with so many things over the years, each with its own little lesson, and luckily I’m at a point at the moment where I’m recognising that ‘this is not good’ and ‘I need to do something.’ So for now, life is back to being fairly balanced and calm. I’ll keep you updated ;)

[All images from Google]

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