#highfive if at any point you have sung the lyrics “I’m gonna let it shiiiiiine”
In my first post, Seeing a psychologist, I mentioned I was feeling low after the birth of my second child in September 2016. I’ve always been overly anxious about getting things right, and that’s exhausting at the best of times…
…well having children was like giving my anxiety steroids.
I was used to worrying about my life and what everyone thought of me. But I was soooo not prepared for how amplified that would become when I first became a mother, let alone having a second bub so soon (I was pregnant again when my first was only 14 months old).
The pressure I felt to not screw up my boys was intense. Just a few months of being a mother of 2 and I was crumbling. All the plates I’d been spinning for so long, along with all the new motherhood ones, now surrounded me in shattered pieces on the floor. I felt so helpless, and that I was failing terribly.
I could already see how I had impacted my eldest’s eating habits. I was losing my temper when I could see it just wasn’t fair or rational, but did it anyway. The list goes on. It turns out I was creating issues because I was worrying about creating issues! Yes, I see the irony.
I was living in this torturous middle land, between who I really was, and who I was trying to be. Chasing the ideal whilst being pulled firmly back to reality when I just couldn’t be that person.
I’m incredibly grateful to have finally grasped two important things:
- The ideal me was not achievable, and never will be. I was looking at the other mums around me, online positive parenting articles, opinions from friends and family, and trying to piece myself together based on all of their best bits. Like a ‘create your own’ perfect mum pizza.
- Who I am is good enough. I am not perfect and never will be. I will only ever come up short if I try to be someone I am not. But dammit I am not a bad person. I am good enough.
What I’ve learnt
- Being in the middle, was worse than just being me
Chasing the ‘ideal me’ meant doing things I didn’t want to do, or didn’t know how to do. If I ever did check an ‘ideal me’ box, I hated doing it, it would feel like a chore and it would take all the patience and energy I had to spare. This in turn would make me grumpy and change my behaviour, and so I’d become worse than the real me.
I had to decide to accept certain things, so I could free myself from the ‘ideal’ struggle, for example:
- I don’t do ‘messy play’, that’s what nursery is for, go get dirty there
- I will never be decked out in the latest fashion trends, because I’m just more comfortable in a soft top, jeans and flip flops (bring on the summer!)
- I’m happy to sacrifice a good nights sleep for a few months, for the benefits of co-sleeping
- Dinner will almost never be ready at 6:30pm sharp for the man when he gets home, its 2017, we have takeaway orders on repeat with Just Eat
- I do not enjoy looking after other peoples children. I’ll absolutely do it for you if I love YOU the parents, but this service doesn’t come with a Mary Poppins smile
- I think having cats is now a right pain in the ass, and I wish some crazy cat lady would lure them into her loving home with chicken sandwiches, so I can have my conservatory back to air the washing
People have said to me many times, “no one is perfect, so stop beating yourself up”. Those words made sense, and I’d happily give out the same advice, but deep down that wasn’t what I believed for me and so I couldn’t live it. I believed that I should be doing more, trying harder, being better…
Here’s my best example:
I was truly terrified that every time I had to say no to my toddler when he just wanted me to play or have a cuddle, I was leaving a lasting mark of rejection that one day he would end up talking about to a Marge of his own. Now I believe that in order to raise a well-rounded strong man, he will have to hear no sometimes. What I was not willing to accept was saying no with anger (because I was already frustrated trying to be ideal me all day). Now when I say no I am firm and I am loving but I am not angry (for the most part I’m still human and toddlers can test the patience of a saint). If Marge had only helped me achieve this I’d call the sessions a success, but I’m just getting started.
Now I look for what I really believe about a situation, because that’s where the resolution will come from. Changing what I believe, or simply accepting it. This brings a much more permanent solution than what comes from loved ones continuously reassuring and validating what I think or feel. When I choose, I am in control of me, and that’s how it should be.
If you find yourself worrying a lot, take a look at my next post I worry less with a ‘Worry List’ (as requested by one of my dearest friends, after I shared it with her a few years back), I hope it helps you too