The biggest reason mothers have burnout

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Aaaaaaaarrrrgh. This quote. This mentality. THIS is why mothers today are struggling so much. It’s such toxic messaging.

A friend shared this meme the other day and while I recognise myself in it (I’m often the first up and the last to eat breakfast), I also recognise that continually putting myself bottom of the pile is the reason I get overwhelmed, angry, burned out as a mother.

We need to stop doing this. We need to prioritise our needs. We can show our loved ones that we love them in so many ways, including respecting and honouring ourselves. Modelling that we are worthy of eating when we are hungry, having a hot meal, using the loo when we need to.

Otherwise our daughters won’t treat themselves with the respect they deserve. They won’t learn to recognise their needs. They too will buckle under their mental load. Our sons will see us as someone who meets their needs at the expense of their own and expect their partners to do the same. Our partners will carry on letting us shoulder so much of the responsibility of raising a family without even realising the imbalance and the negative effect it can have.

We can change this message. Put yourself first, at least some of the time. Show everyone that your needs are as valid as everyone else’s. It’s a small act with big consequences and your family and your mental health will thank you for it.

‘It gets easier, I promise’

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He smiled, eventually

These words make me cringe. I used to say this phrase all the time, thinking I was helping. But time has taught me it’s not true.

At the time, I didn’t know it was a lie. I made the mistake of thinking that my experience was the norm and that everyone would follow my path. That’s usually the mistake of the privileged, to assume that their experience is the only experience. In this case it wasn’t so much privilege as luck that was responsible for my naivety. Continue reading “‘It gets easier, I promise’”

Grief encounters

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This bears no relation to this post. I just thought a calming pic might be nice

 

In the interests of fairly representing this rollercoaster called parenthood, I feel compelled to write a follow up post to yesterday’s.

Yes, overall, we are happy. For the most part, everything is OK. We go to work and school and nursery. We drink coffee and eat scrambled eggs on Saturdays. We go to the park and for country walks. We sometimes see friends for beers or barbecues or trips to Peppa Pig world. We go to IKEA and eat meatballs, get lost in the showroom and have a hissed row in the car park. We are tired. In other words, we have good times and bad times and are like any other 2.4 children family. And yet…

That grief I mentioned? Today it floored me. If you’re on a similar journey to me, navigating the extremes of everything that parenting a disabled child throws at you, perhaps you need a reminder that it’s OK to not be OK.

Continue reading “Grief encounters”

Seven.

This time seven years ago, I woke up in a London hospital after a couple of hours of fitful sleep, feeling like I had been hit by a bus. In some ways I had.

Sure, the bus was metaphorical, but nonetheless I was sore, bruised and covered in last night’s blood. There was no charge on my phone and I was all alone, feeling dazed and anxious.

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A few hours old, being cooled to stop further brain damage

I’d had a baby. My first. But he was at a different hospital. For those early hours of Monday 8th October, I couldn’t even be sure he was still alive. The hatred I felt towards the Bounty woman who burst through my cubicle curtains with her shitty newborn pack, calling out her congratulations, was visceral. But I didn’t have it in me to do more than nod and then burst into tears when she left. At that point I had no idea it was the midwives I should be angry at.

Happily, that baby was still alive. We had to take it day by day, minute by minute at times, but he was hanging on. Thanks to several poor decisions by the midwives who were supposed to be keeping him safe, he had suffered a catastrophic brain injury that altered the course of all our lives. Continue reading “Seven.”

Mummy doesn’t need wine

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I’ve spent a good chunk of the past year following my curiosity about ditching drinking.

I am sober curious and I’m not alone.

The past few years has seen a big surge in people choosing not to drink. I’ve noticed it increasingly among women, but that could just be down to my particular social media echo chamber. Some women who I really admire (list at the end) are on this journey too and I am keen to properly commit to joining them on this path.

Like many people who are sober or mindful drinkers, I don’t have a drinking problem.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a questionable relationship with alcohol in the past, I really have. In the days of being young and single, living in London, working on magazines I fully bought into the hard-partying culture.

I’ve been to those places where I think I am a more interesting person after a drink. Or that I need a drink to be funny or courageous or to ease social anxiety. I have felt free, empowered, fun, inspired and grown-up with a glass in my hand and cocktails in my belly.

On the flip side I have had crippling anxiety, low self-esteem, self-loathing and utter despair at my behaviour because I have drunk too much the night before. It’s affected relationships, work, my physical and mental health. Not for long, I might add, but it leaves its mark. Continue reading “Mummy doesn’t need wine”

And… action!

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This is the kind of chat you tend to see a lot of around New Year, but do you pick an intention or word to live by? I prefer it to making resolutions as it gives me a kind of anchor to my life and a theme to return to.

My word of the year this year was ACTION and let me tell you, life has far from stood still.  While you may not have seen much of me doing anything in the digital space, IRL I have been living life in all its messiness and lurching ups and downs. Including…

Continue reading “And… action!”

The trouble with my three-year-old

The trouble with my three year old is me. 

That sounds harsh but it’s the truth. Not always, of course, but sometimes. Often times at the moment.

I’ve read enough and experienced enough to know that when a child plays up, they are communicating with you. I know when she is squeezing out T’s expensive therapy gel in the bath, purposefully weeing on the carpet (she NEVER usually does this), kicking things around the room… she is telling me she needs me. Continue reading “The trouble with my three-year-old”