Whatever your problem, our resident agony aunt Dr Doolally is here to help. If you need help or advice on any aspect of parent life, then shoot us an email at email@example.com. With that said, this month we look at anxiety in children, missing life before kids, and worrying about leaving them overnight in Dr Doolally: Domestic Dilemmas Discussed.
Domestic dilemma #1: Pre-teen panics
My little boy is 5 and I’m worried he’s showing signs of anxiety. He’s a real perfectionist and gets very frustrated when things don’t turn out the way he’d hoped. I suffer from OCD and I worry it’s affecting him. I want to help him but I’m not sure how.
This resonates deeply with me. From a very young age, I would spend hours creating a piece of art only to scrumple it up and chuck it in the bin, protesting my crapness.
My advice to you is to be totally honest with him. Don’t sugarcoat the brutal truth. Especially if he’s anxious.
When I was 6, I was obsessed about needing a poop at school. The very thought of it terrified me. My mum told me I definitely, absolutely, would not need to go.
I believed her and for a long time, it worked. Until I needed to go really badly at school. I pooped myself that day! What she could have said to me is… yes kid, you might need to poop at school. Don’t hold it in, you’ll get a tummy ache. But she lied and I believed her.
I think I was more traumatised by it. I hold my mummy on a pedestal. She did and said what she thought was the right thing and I salute her for that.
I’m not saying you should tell him his efforts are crap but you could just work on the language you use to empathise with him. Because no matter what you say, if he thinks it’s crap, to him, it is and you have to respect that.
In regards to your OCDs, don’t be ashamed of them. Own them. They are very much part of you. If he sees you do things in a different way, perhaps explain why you feel you need to do them and it may offer some comfort to your son.
On a deeper level, he may be worried about you and why you do things in the way you do so keep the lines of communication open as much as you can on a level that he can understand.
The moral of the story is, be honest, else you’ll poop your pants.
Domestic dilemma #2: Mummy memories
I love being a mum and I’m mostly really happy but sometimes I’m prone to missing life before kids and the old me. I wonder if I’ll ever feel like myself again?
I was thinking about the old me. I hit 40 last year. I guess that’s why I’ve been thinking about the old me a lot.
Perhaps I’ve just been thinking about just feeling old. But, I’m still the old me and you’re still the old you. You just have to find the time to celebrate the little nuggets of the old you. But be realistic. Sometimes I wish I could transport myself (and my hubby) to some fancy nightclub where we would sip a sumptuous cocktail then pull off some Strictly Come Dancing routine on the dance floor. The harsh reality is that we simply cannot justify spending all that money on transport, drinks, outfits and babysitters.
To be brutally honest, at 40, the old me is just as happy with an early night and a £15 bottle of fake Hendricks gin from Aldi.
The 40-year-old me has been obsessing about skincare regimes. In a last-ditch attempt to reverse the abuse of sunbeds in the mid-nineties. The 40-year-old me has added upper lip waxing to her appointment schedule. My husband didn’t know about this and I know I’m about to give him the ick.
Recently I’ve been literally obsessing about every new chin hair and freaking out about it. The other night for some unknown reason, I was shining a Maglite on my chin? And there it was a BLACK hair. Where the freaking hell did that come from? The depths of hell, that’s where, And I know there’s more to come. And I’m nervous about it all. I have a little panic now and again.
But then I stop and I think. I’m still evolving. While I’m as healthy as I can be, I need to focus on staying healthy and being grateful for the every-day.
Does it matter that when I ask people … no go on… guess how old I am and they say… um 40? I’m disappointed. It’s time to stand up and be proud. I had a great childhood. Now I get to re-live bits through/with my babies.
Domestic dilemma #3: Ominous overnighting
I know me and my partner need a break but I really can’t face leaving my young children overnight.
Then don’t do it.
Mine are 5 and 2. Before I know it, they will be young men, off doing whatever they want with whoever they want. Whether I like it or not!
While they are little, don’t have guilt about anything. Weigh it all up. What’s the pay off?
My husband and I were invited to his best mate’s 40th birthday. It was a medieval banquet in Coventry. On paper, it all sounded really good fun. But my heart immediately sank. There was categorically no way on this earth I was going to leave my babies overnight. But there were my hubby’s feelings at stake here so I knew I had to get my big girl pants on and work it out.
In all I do, given my extreme anxiety, I start at death and work backwards. This was no exception. There was a very small chance that, god forbid, I might have some fun!So here’s what we did.
I booked a Premier Inn. I booked the Grandparents and took them with us. We all had a lovely day out as a family and at 7pm, myu other half and I donned our medieval costumes, necked a glass of champers and we stayed out until 11pm. It was great, we talked to friends, we had a nice dinner and we drank lots of wine. Then we got back to relieve Grandma and Grandpa who, by the way, looked a little worn out! I got to snuggle in with my babies and when they woke up, I was there.
You can have it all. But you have to do what works for you and your family.
Just be honest. The best thing I ever did was learn to say NO. It’s not selfish, it’s liberating. Often you have to put the feelings of others before your own.
When you have children, you absolutely put their feelings ahead of your own so give yourself a break. This is self-care in its purest form. Be true to yourself. But be warned. You MIGHT just enjoy yourself.
So that’s all for this month’s dilemmas! Have you ever caught yourself missing life before kids, worrying about your children’s anxious tendencies or leaving them overnight? Do share in a comment below.
If you have a domestic dilemma that you’d like discussed, we would love to hear from you. Email Dr Doolally at firstname.lastname@example.org and your dilemma will be treated absolutely anonymously.
About Dr Doolally
Dr Doolally is Mum to two delightful little boys aged 5 and 2. She’s had her fair share of life challenges that’s for sure. Probably why she feels qualified to offer little nuggets of helpfulness. In fact, she self-published a book on the subject of her crippling anxiety and the struggles she faces. You can find her story here.