…sometimes the old cliches are true!

Happy Easter!

Feeling absolutely sick now after inhaling chocolate and wine but finished the day off by going full couch potato; watching films back to back and ignoring the dishes!

The basic moral of Tonight’s choices were your usual, well-worn cliches: ‘believe in yourself’, ‘know who you are’, ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination’. Unusually though, both films got me in a reflective mood about life, the universe and my full on Hollywood meltdown this week!

I’m just going to say it and damn how cheesy it sounds: parenting is a journey (feel like I’m on the X-Factor…I’ll be saying it’s a roller caster of emotions next)! Looking back, I was insanely naive! How could I have been anything else, realistically? The path to where we are now has taken twists and turns beyond anything I could’ve anticipated. It is the ultimate journey with no destination. It never ends, never let’s up. It’s as unrelenting in its trials and challenges, as it is in its surprises and unashamedly beautiful, overpowering moments. 

Yet this week I’d forgotten the fundamental thing…where I am today as a parent it not the end. I have been pushing myself to be this amazing finished product of a ‘mum’. Boxed, shiny and ready for the shelves. In trying to fit this image I had, I’d strayed so far from my true self that I was damaging my self image as a parent and, worse, my relationship with my child & my husband. I was not believing in myself to trust my instincts, be led by my intuition and listen. I had become so preoccupied with what ‘they’ (bloody ‘they’…rearing their ugly know-it-heads again) say my toddler should be doing to be Nursery ready, how ‘they’ say my aversion to strict routine is damaging my child, what ‘they’ say my greedy boy should and shouldn’t be eating, that I’d lost the essence of what made me ‘me’ as a mum!  

I am fully aware that this is not the 1st, and for sure won’t be the last time, that I forget to hold onto these tried and tested mantras but for now at least, sod it! So what if my Little Man steals sips of my tea. Who cares if he likes a bottle to fall asleep while cuddling on the sofa at night? What’s the worst that will happen if he doesn’t get the prescribed 14 hours sleep every time! 

Being a parent is a journey and it is a roller caster of emotions (oh shit, I just said it)! Every cliche ever written is absolutely, 100% true at some point! So yes, I will be late for everything and I can’t guarantee I will arrive clean. Yes, sometimes I will talk like I’m the only person to ever have children. My house will perpetually look like I’ve had my own personal cyclone pass by and I will appear to enjoy living like that, when in truth I have just given in to the inevitable! 

But…

I will believe in myself. I will know who I am. I will honour the journey and I will not be rushing to my destination for, when I get there, my house will be clean, I will arrive on time and I will not wax lyrical about the latest piece of crap art, because my child will be grown and no longer want to snuggle to sleep or play for endless hours.

And that’s ok. That’s right.

I will have done the best I can for him and that’s anyone can ask (even of myself). 

  

…being a mum can be lonely

Today is not a good day. 

I woke up feeling so productive, I even cleaned my fridge before 8am! (All we have now is cheese, milk and mystery sauce!) 

Everything was going to plan!

Finally it was my turn to eat. The Boy was fed, the Husband’s lunch was made. I sat down and a familiar voice piped up ‘can you iron my clothes?’ No problem, I’ll eat after. Next a familiar sound…time for a nappy change! He has to wait, I’m doing something. That doesn’t go down well so now I’m being bitten and smacked (by the Boy, not the Husband)! How dare I not attend to his every need right away?! Sorted him out, now he’s crying because he’s tired (again, the Boy not the Husband). Make the bottle, snuggle him down…let the fight commence.

We do not like naps! So, I alone, struggle trying to hold him, to wind him, rock him, put him down (nope that definitely doesn’t work)! I alone suffer through the smacks, the bites, the tears. Now, I alone, am trapped under a sleeping boy because he’s allergic to his cot (and the least some he’s andtsleep, right)! Still haven’t eaten by the way and, worst of all to an English person, still no brew! 

I alone listen to the whirling criticism in my mind…it’s your fault he’s like this, he should have a routine, why don’t you just let him cry while you eat, don’t give into him, the Husband’s only trying to help, don’t be a queen bitch.

I alone am feeling another day slipping sway into a swamp of dirty nappies, making food (not for me, might I add), cleaning, fighting nap times, food shopping, cooking again. 

I alone am wishing myself back to the early days when everything seemed so easy.

I can’t even go out because the Boy is still an infectious ball of spots and even when they are gone, I won’t dare go out until he is the perfect vision of health for fear I will be judged by Mummy Mafia!

I need perspective! Crying on the stairs never solved anyone’s problems! Chocolate does though! And wine…wine is good but 9am may be a little too early! 

Now he’s awake again. The little shit is smiling at me like nothing every happened! 

Although, when I think about it…am I ever alone anymore?! Wherever I go, I have a teeny tiny shadow. They are right…going to the bathroom by myself is considered a luxurious victory! 

Maybe that’s the problem…the more demanding the Boy is becoming, the less I’m looking after myself. Weirdly, the less time I have to myself, the more alone I feel. 

Sitting here feeling sorry for myself isn’t going to do any good. Silver linings, at least now he’s awake I can put the kettle on! Fair enough, he will try steal my brew but I might get a bit! 

…it’s time to get serious about relaxing!

Last night I hosted the 1st MammaKnows…virtual coffee group! I was super nervous that it would bomb but, as usual, you lovely MammaKnows…followers stepped up and shared some fantastic tips, resources and advice ❤ 
Our topic was relaxing . I’ve blogged before about ‘getting off the grid’ and taking some time completely out of the madhouse that is being a mum but, realistically, how often can you actually do this? What do you do when time for this is super rare? 

The discussion was great. Not just because people shared their fantastic tips but because it also went deeper. It became a conversation around being mindful about your choices; really honouring yourself and giving yourself permission to nourish that basic need in us all.

“I’ve observed that different people need very different things to help them relax…I think it’s important to realise that, especially as a mother, you need to be quite deliberate and methodical about seeking out what’s right for you.” -Sarah Hon           (Teacher @ Beach Haven Community Yoga) 

The idea of ‘deliberately and methodically finding my own way of relaxing on a practical, day-to-day level struck a cord with me. So often I find myself a slave to Netflix or cleaning the house during those daytime naps! The Little Man wakes up and I feel no more ready for the next adventure than before! 
I never really thought before about actively seeking out the right things to help me relax. Unconsciously, writing this blog has become one of those ways and yoga, definitely yoga, but could I list 5 other ways?! 

It also got me thinking about my husband and my perspective on his relaxation time. When I expect him to spend his weekends helping me and allowing me ‘time off’, am I selfishly denying him that vital ‘downtime’?! To me, watching hours of YouTube videos seems like a pointless waste of family time but actually, he needs that switch off just as much as I do! 

I guess, in the end, that’s all about balance. Balance between us both, allowing each other space to recharge. For me, I’m absolutely going to practice this idea of, in essence, planning my relaxation time. Not letting fatigue suck me back to the same routine and acknowledging that to relax is as basic a need as food and water…not something to feel guilty about doing!