Having children is challenging and demanding. No amount of reading can prepare you adequately for this life-changing journey. It’s like being on the never-ending rollercoaster, up and down, round and round. One minute everything is tickety boo and the next minute you’re wondering if you could find a way to resign from this position!
Exhaustion. Joy. Worry. Laughter. Guilt. Happiness. Anxiety. Fun. Stress. Confusion. Tears and a whole lot more is wrapped up in this beautiful experience of being a parent.
The balancing act
You don’t know what to do. Judgment from others. A to-do list as long as your arm. Juggling your career with being a mum. Paying bills. Rushing from one thing to another.
You’re trying to keep your relationships going with loved ones. Plus keeping your own shit together and looking after your own needs is no easy task.
So many things to do, with so little time. If we’re not careful, we can be left feeling exhausted, resentful and burnt out. It’s okay to ask for help.
We simply cannot do everything. We cannot be useful to anyone if we are not looking after our own needs. We must put ourselves first. This concept to many is not a comfortable one, as in general, the message we receive is family comes first — which I agree to a point. You must ensure your children have their basic needs met, of course; however you must eat, you must drink plenty of wine – sorry I mean water – and you must rest.
Don’t be the martyr – ask for help!
I’ve been the martyr, making sure everyone else is happy, making sure everyone else’s need are met and completely missing myself. Skipping breakfast because I was too busy or not resting when I was exhausted. I was left quite frankly feeling like crap, unworthy, resentful and burnt out.
This affects your well-being and will ultimately impact your family and life overall.
If you’re tired, you are going to be more likely to be snappy and potentially overreact. If you haven’t eaten, this will affect your energy levels, and you’re potentially not going to be ready to take on the day.
Look out for the warning signs
You may not be aware of how tired you are, or you may not be aware you’re even struggling.
If you’re snappy. On the edge. Triggered easily. Ratty. Frustrated. Feeling anxious or low. Not able to focus. Shouting at your kids. These are all warning signs that something is not quite right. Your emotions, how you feel are a good way to know whether you’re on the right track or a sign there’s more going on.
You can do anything but not everything
This is where you have to put your big girl pants on and know without a shadow of a doubt that you are important. You are equally as important as everyone else in the household. If this is resonating with you, you must put yourself at the top of the list.
You can’t do it all; you are one person. If you need to ask for help – do it. For some people, this isn’t very easy to do, and I understand. I was the worst when it came to the need to ask for help, and I rarely did it. I believed I could do it all, and I was unaware of the consequences. The consequences being I was shattered, low energy, and now looking back, it did affect the way I felt about myself. My self-esteem was low, which now makes sense because if you keep putting your needs to the bottom of the list, the message you are giving to yourself is I am not important.
I want to mention here, since I’ve put myself on an equal footing with everyone else, the way I feel about myself has changed beyond belief. I feel worthy, loved and good about myself.
Ask for help
This is vital for your well-being and sanity. So I’ll reiterate this for you, if you’re struggling with anything – ask for help, look for support or reach out to me if you like. Too many people do not share their worries or concerns, and in some cases, end up taking their own life and others.
I appreciate I’ve gone to the extreme but this is the reality for some.
Whatever you need support, advice or help in, no-one is going to know unless you speak up. Of course, this is not to say you will get the answer you want, but you won’t know until you ask.
Watching you like a hawk
Believe me when I say everyone will benefit from a happy, relaxed mum. A mum who puts herself at the top of the list and knows her worth. Your children as they grow up will be watching you like a hawk, and learning from you as they go. If you’re showing them to look after themselves, they are more likely to do this as an adult. More likely to have higher self-esteem and self-worth — what a beautiful gift to give to your children.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
PUT YOURSELF AT THE TOP OF THE LIST.
IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING ASK FOR HELP, SUPPORT OR ADVICE.
YOU ARE NO GOOD TO ANYONE TIRED OR BURNT OUT.
LOOK OUT FOR THE WARNING SIGNS.
YOUR CHILDREN WILL LEARN FROM YOUR ACTIONS.
ABOUT THE NOT SO PERFECT MUM
Teresa is the author of the forthcoming book “I should have bought a puppy; Parenting with heart, honesty and humour.” Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.