It’s Maternal Mental Health week and so this blog is about us reaching out a hand to all of those fantastic Mums who may need a leg up. Which is basically all of us at one time or another – We three at Our Kids Social know what it’s like when the shit hits the fan.
Maybe it’s the last in a long line of sleepless nights, maybe expressing milk is causing you stress. Maybe it’s the toddler tantrum because they asked for a blue cup, you gave them a blue cup and then they threw it at the floor and started screaming. Maybe it’s the fact that your old Levi’s still don’t fit and it’s hard to let them go because it feels like you are letting go of part of who you are or who you were – and why can’t the Levi’s fit both of those people? Maybe it’s because you feel really sad and you don’t know why and you convince yourself that it’s not PND – but maybe it is. Maybe it’s because it’s relentless and you just need to have a ittle cry. Maybe it’s because even at a jam packed soft play, sometimes it just feels really lonely.
Motherhood is tough. The joy it brings is unequivocal. The sleep deprivation is unparalleled. The rollercoaster of parenthood sees the uplifting highs of love, elation and pride couple with the dark dark lows of guilt, fear, sadness and desperation.
It is never simple.
Motherhood makes us see ourselves more clearly: Our Amazonian strengths and our need for support. Motherhood is not a show and yet it can feel like everyone is watching.
Motherhood is a gift to be treasured, a heart wrenching agony, a role for keeps.
So when the shit hits the fan – and it will – maybe in the middle of IKEA (we got escorted out through a secret concealed emergency exit), or at your local sling library (we wept into our brews), or at your dinner table (I did not remake the previously agreed pasta pesto without the pesto no matter how hard she demanded), or when you are on your own in the car park at Aldi (I just felt like I couldn’t do any more of anything and had a big cry) – here are our 5 top tips for muddling through, seeing the light and living to fight the next day …..
- Comparison is the thief of joy
Oh how I have flicked through the tiny squares and admired the glossy pics, the tidy homes, the smiling children. Admiration soon turned to comparison for me – no amount of common sense can help the doubt creep into my mind.
Why doesn’t my house stay tidy? Why are none of these children tantruming in Tesco? Why are all these women so together?
What a load of crap.
When it’s 3pm and you are still in your pjs, in a self made nest on the sofa, watching Friends back to back, feeding your baby and yourself in between snoozing and eating choc, comparison will steal the cosy joy from right under your lovely patchwork blanket.
It’s ok for everything not to be perfect. It’s ok to take it at your own pace. NOBODY ACTUALLY LIVES LIKE THAT ALL OF THE TIME!
Everybody has times that are just really tough. Problem is, most people don’t share them. They ALL have a bright orange paint hand print on the front room wall (not just me right?). They ALL have days when what is holding it all together is a bottle of dry shampoo and a mug of Yorkshire Tea – WITH SUGAR IN IT. They ALL have days when they lock the bathroom door and pretend to go the loo just to get 5 minutes alone to eat the secret chocolate stash / have a cry / phone a friend.
Don’t ever forget it. You are not alone.
- It’s ok not to be ok
So, it’s tough. Doing all the stuff all the time everyday to keep little people alive is tough. Let’s not pretend otherwise.
If you were to start a brand new job, or decide to train for a marathon, or to move to live in another country – it would (probably) at times be tough. And if someone were to ask you – ‘how is it going?’ You would give an honest answer – ‘yeah it’s ok, some days are tough, I’m not sure I always make the right decisions. I mean there are great bits but there are shit bits too’.
Hmmmmmm – so it’s ok not to be ok. It’s the same for Motherhood. We don’t have all the answers all of the time. And that’s ok.
We don’t feel great and happy and elated all of the time. And that’s ok too.
- It’s all about YOU!
Some days it’s red lippy. Some days it’s baking a cake. Some days it’s sitting in the bath for half an hour. Some days it’s a huge glass of white wine. Some days it’s comfy trainers and a quick run. Some days it’s a lie in – even if it’s just ten minutes. Some days it’s dancing like a wild thing to Kylie in the kitchen disco playing the air guitar and singing into a ladle.
Do what makes you feel good. Do what makes you happy. Prioritise your well-being.
In order to successfully look after others, you first must look after yourself. Take time, make time, put some time aside – for you.
Plan for it – put it in your diary. Stick to your plans and be kind to yourself. It isn’t always easy to find time but it isn’t impossible – even if it’s just ten minutes to read a magazine with your feet up.
- Take one small step
Sitting in your pjs, eating chocolate, living in the sofa nest and watching Friends on Netflix. It has its place – but it’s not forever.
Take a small step. To the local park. A walk around the block. To a cafe for a brew. To meet other parents.
In can be daunting and a bit scary but it is worth the courage to do it. We have had some great times with others – talking, eating cake, laughing.
Some of the classes and groups we are currently enjoying are – Slingswing Manchester, This Mum Can Fitness, The Mucky Monster Club, The Conker Crew. Find something that suits you and dip your toe in – try it out.
- Tell someone
Sometimes it’s just all too much. Getting dressed feels like it is too much. Going to the park feels like it is too much. Talking to other Mums feels like it is too much. Looking after a baby feels like it is way, too much.
A relative or a friend – phone them, whatsapp them, knock on their door.
Ask for help. Look after yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. They will support you.
Here are some great places that you can contact if you feel in need of a leg up and you are not sure which way to turn –
Our Kids Social pioneer family events in iconic buildings across the North West. We would love for you to bring your tribe to our community – we would welcome you with open arms. Mums, Dads, Nans and Uncles – we have room for you here: Find out more about what we do and where to find us at http://www.ourkids.social