We all are? Things don’t get done? We don’t eat? She sleeps all day? Whats the answer then?….
We have two children currently aged 7 and 3. They are both beautiful little people full of character and life. They drive me absolutely insane but I love them like I couldn’t breathe without them. I am their mother, a human being and unfortunately not the superhero they think i am.
In the household I was raised in my dad went to work and brought in some money. My mum also worked but did everything else as well. I’m not belittling working or saying that its easy working a 9 to 5 at all but when you’re doing that plus all domestic duties, running a household and raising 4 kids (mostly on your own because their dad works long hours) its a tad different. I watched my mum, cook, clean, work, struggle, love, nurture and do her very best for the four of us. She very rarely took time for herself which led to the stresses of all I have listed above taking its toll on her health. Why did she do this to herself? Probably because she thought it was her duty to do so.
Fast forward to two years ago (2015), I found myself in a very similar situation. I was working full time, having to bring work home sometimes, cooking, cleaning, helping our son with homework and generally overloading myself. I was doing everything for everyone, I felt it was my place to do so and it was making me ill. I was miserable, anaemic, rundown, depressed, under pressure at work and grumpy. I would snap at my children when they asked me the simplest of questions and hated being bothered, I just wasn’t happy and neither were my family. People at work would say, ‘I don’t know how you do this job with two kids” and the truth was, I wasn’t, not properly anyway. I feel awful actually putting these words to paper as i haven’t been this honest with myself out loud, but its the truth. I felt I had no time for me and did nothing for myself. Is that selfish?
I needed to find a way to balance everything that needed to be done plus take time for myself. Organisation, prioritisation and learning to let things go and accept the fact that not everything needs to be done right now were my answers. Chill the *beep* out, basically! I’m not superwoman and I don’t wanna be, that chick has no time for herself!
The main difference however between myself and my mums’ scenario is that Mr. Be is a supportive husband. He gets the little people ready for school everyday so I can have a little extra time in bed. I am a bit rubbish in the mornings, he knows this and has a cup of tea ready for me on the table when I drag myself into the kitchen rubbing crust from my eyes. Its the little things that help.
So now at weekends the little ones help with the cleaning, a little vacuuming, drying the dishes etc.- its not the best tidying in the world but they love doing it, apart from when they have to tidy their bedroom but hey that’s to be expected, it always gets done in the end. It teaches them to take pride in their surrounds and gives them some responsibility, you make the mess you clean it up! Not perfect but good enough.
Mr. Be cooks dinner every Saturday which gives me a two-day cooking break (Fridays are takeaway night), he enjoys it and has really fine tuned his cooking skills. Ironing of school/ nursery clothes is done on a Sunday so that they can be laid out each school night ready for the morning. We have a menu rota for dinner so that we can not only reduce waste and save money on shopping but everyone knows what’s for dinner and I have purposely filled the rota with meals that are generally fairly quick to make. I try my upmost not to bring any work home which means having a working lunch most days but I’m happy to make this sacrifice for my sanity and to spend the wee small hours with my family. We have good and bad days but we are an actual family not cardboard cut outs or the perfect smiling individuals from the magazines, perfection is not our aspiration.
Finally, and most importantly, I try and do something for myself everyday. If something doesn’t get done because I’m taking some time out for me then pfft! This might be doing 10 mins of yoga, 30 mins in the gym, having a bath, 20 mins reading a book, having a cup of tea in silence, going out for a drink (this doesn’t happen often lol) or painting my toe nails. This time is a priority, not just for me but for my family because if mum isn’t happy, no one is. Its ok not to be ok but its not ok to stay that way.