Recently, I had a few weeks of feeling very flat, exhausted, worn out and grumpy. I am not always like that, I am usually not, however, when I felt like that, stupidly I felt embarrassed to admit to the majority of people that I felt that way.
Then I remembered….the reason we feel embarrassed to admit that we are struggling, is because so few people are open about it. Then it makes us feel inadequate if everyone else looks to be coping fine, “Why aren’t I coping?” On Facebook everyone else looks so happy ALL THE TIME!! Remember that Social Media is where most people share their happiest moments, and they do not usually post photos of supermarket tantrums, failed dinners, iron burnt clothing, bad hair days, photos of disagreements with our partners, or when one steps in dog poo. We all act as though everything is okay and then try to cope alone and feel isolated and alone in our struggles. It is so silly, because we are then adding to the problem!
So here is to keeping it real!
I want to start a series on some helpful and some not so helpful tips (some are just to make you smile which I think can be helpful too!) to help when we are feeling worn out and tired:
1. Lower your standards for cleanliness and order.
This is a big one, and I REALLY struggle with this one. I feel a bit overwhelmed if the mess starts to get too much. If my house is clean and tidy, I feel as though my world is orderly and under control which makes me feel good. What I need to try to do more, is recognise that mess does not equal chaos and it does not mean that I am not coping. It means that cuddles on the couch with the ones I love most and quality time with them, were more important to me today than mopping the floors.
2. Did step 1? Lower them even more.
Seriously, this is important! Don’t miss out on opportunities to connect with your loved ones. Take time away from chores to sit on the floor and play with your children, or call a friend you haven’t spoken to in ages, to call your Grandparents or Parents, to catch up with a friend. In our last moments of life we won’t be lying there thinking, “I am so grateful that I had such clean floors when I was alive” or as the old saying goes, “No one on their deathbed ever wished they had spent more time at work.”, we will be grateful for the connections with people that we had and the precious time we spent with them.
3. Yes it really is this hard, you are NOT doing it wrong!
I know Mummy Guilt is tough. I KNOW! Please be kind to yourself. Honestly, when something is hard, challenging, not working in the household, somehow we always tend to blame ourselves. It just IS this hard, you are not doing anything wrong, just ride the waves and know that anything worthwhile is meant to be tough. You ARE enough, you DO enough and you are wonderful.
4. However bad a situation might seem, one day it will be funny. I have a few for which I am eagerly awaiting for the funny to kick in. Any time now….
they love us sooo much, they idolise us, will do anything to make us approve of them or be happy, they want to be around us, they want to hold our hands, will tell us openly that they love us and want cuddles and affection often. I know it is hard now, I KNOW!
However, do try in crazy situations to keep it light and maybe try to switch the mood with a light hearted joke or a hug with your kids. Every time I growl at my boys, I feel guilty afterwards. I think of all the ways I should have handled that situation differently. What I need to start doing is put the “Pause” button on my reaction, “Fast Forward” to how I will inevitably feel if I get grumpy afterwards if I choose my reaction badly, then “Rewind” and press “Play”. When I press “play” I think, “How would I handle this if I thought Morgan Freeman was hiding among the cereal boxes shooting and narrating a documentary titled “How to correctly manage children’s behaviour”. I know….I know…it sounds easy. It is not, but I am now trying to pause and breathe (not hyperventilate to which might be the tendency, instead breathe deeply and slowly!) and then consider my reaction more carefully as though there are cameras watching me studying my fabulous techniques on how to best manage children. It may sound silly, but it does help me. Try in the moment, to just step back and see if there is any funny side to this situation, you may have to think REALLY hard! If so, try to find the funny now or how to MAKE IT FUNNY now! Try a tickle with your child or a hug or any other way that could work to shift everyone’s mood, taking a minute out to do this will hopefully make life easier, but also note that this won’t always work either, nothing will ALWAYS work! Just do your best and that is all you can do!
5. Yes the crayons will break and it is okay to throw them away rather than save them to make some sort of craft that involves the hair dryer.
In fact, I give you permission to not feel guilty about all the crafts you know you will never do. If you do craft here and there, feel good about yourself, but don’t feel guilty if instead of awesome craft projects, your time with your children is cuddles on the couch or simply going on a walk together. The simple things in life often present the most treasured family moments, if your child is in to craft, that is great, craft away to your heart’s content if that keeps them happy and presents an opportunity for bonding, but if not, bond in the way that is right for your family. I would rather snuggles and just chatting with my children any day over doing craft. In saying that, we do craft sometimes too, but only if we have time and only if everyone is interested.
Overall, let’s just give ourselves a break! We are all doing the best we can and that IS enough! Think of all the things that make you a wonderful person and ADMIRE yourself for a change instead of beating yourself up!
I will post the next 5 “Tips for Worn Out Mums” soon! Stay posted!