By: Cheney Goodchild
Like all mums I had an idea about the kind of mum I wanted to be when I had kids, and I strive to be the best mum I can be for F every day. At the end of some days I feel like I am a good mum, but at the end of others I think I could have done a way better job.
I have never been a very relaxed, go with the flow kind of person. I am a stress bunny. I stress about everything. I am also quite stubborn & once I get an idea in my head it can be hard for me to let it go.
The only time I was completely relaxed was when I was pregnant. 9 months of me being completely relaxed. A lot of our friends couldn’t believe the “change” in me. The cruisy, relaxed me lasted for a few months after F’s birth. Slowly but surely though I could feel this feeling of zen starting to slip away & I was becoming more stressed again.
I find myself getting stressed when I do not get through the list in my head. You know, the.never.ending.list.of.things.that.need.to.get done. I start a job then halfway through I find something else that needs to be done. For example I am doing the dishes and need to put something in the bin only to find the bin is full and needs emptying before I can put more stuff in so I go empty the bins. Then in the garage where the washing machine and big rubbish bin lives, the washing machine has finished. So I get the laundry out and take it into the house to hang up after I have finished the dishes. I just start on the dishes then litte man lets me know he needs a nappy change. So I do that, take the nappy to the garage, come back into the house wash my hands and go back to the dishes. The water is cold by this stage.
In between doing housework I need to make sure I actually spend time with W & F before I run out the door to work. I feel really bad when F comes to me and sweetly ask me to play with him and I tell him for the umpteenth time “mama is just in the middle of doing this I’ll play with you later” or when I give the same response to him wanting to go for a walk. He loves going for walks. This is when I start to get frustrated because I have things to get done but my boy and husband need me too.
I have a very understanding husband though. He sees when I struggle and steps in. Giving me a sleep in or telling me to get out of the house and to town to treat myself or even taking F out for a couple of hours so I can rest. There are other things that I can do too, to help me manage these stressful moments.
1) Make sure I get enough sleep. This can be tricky as F isn’t a very good sleeper. In saying that, I don’t help myself either. I stay up way too late being distracted with TV and Facebook.
2) Not making myself into a martyr. Which lets face it is very easy to do. I am only one person. The washing can wait for tomorrow. People and relationships are far more important and surprisingly enough (head slap moment) my family’s actually quite willing to help if I swallow my pride and ask for it.
3) Doing things for me that I enjoy- after F is in bed. Like painting my toe nails, doing Yoga or Pilates or any exercise. Having a long relaxing bubble bath, or writing this blog. Something to remind me of who I actually am (more exploration on this front is needed though)
4) Taking time to read a book. Any book but perhaps not a parenting book because I read a great many of those already along with articles I find online.
5) Spending time with, and reconnecting with my husband. This does not happen as often as it should but when we make time it makes a BIG difference to how things flow around the house. After F is in bed we usually do a scramble around the house to tidy or we go and do our own projects that we didn’t have time for during the day.
I know I will not just be able to snap my fingers to get my ZEN back, it will take some time. I do hope it will happen though.
What do you do to take care of yourself? I would love to hear your suggestions.