I was once asked, on the radio no less to thousands of listeners, to describe what anxiety feels like. Where do you start? Anxiety isn’t simply a nervousness that makes you indecisive. I’m sure I’ll list off how I was feeling and any woman who has suffered will nod in agreement. It’s painful, physically painful. There is nausea, headaches and dizzy spells aside from the mental overload. It feels hopeless and it can pass before it hits you hard again. The lull and low of anxiety didn’t affect me all the time but it sure did like to linger and attack quickly.
Something transpired out of motherhood, rising from the ashes like a giant pink flamingo. It probably began earlier than I care to admit, but a few weeks after Devin was born, my focus was gone, my routine and schedule, all fragmented and I suddenly felt this overwhelming urge to blow up. It was less to do with the fact that we had a five-week-old baby and more to do with the extreme possibility I was suffering from intense postnatal anxiety and depression.
I haven’t been the best blogger lately have I? I used to feel guilty over having 4+ weeks gap between posts but I’ve a new lease of life lately and my number one rule is to attempt to get rid of the guilt which likes to creep in and hover of my head and every decision I make. On top of that, I find I either haven’t had time or a good enough topic to write about and god forbid I start repeating myself. I have, however, found myself connecting with parents over on Instagram as we share the load of this miraculous and sometimes incredulous life that is parenthood. If you haven’t joined me in my very many random conversations then please do pop over but for today, lets talk about Momma Bear in all her bare naked glory.
There are days, quite a lot of them, when I don’t feel like the adult in this Momma Bear, Baby Bear scenario. Allegra crept up to me one afternoon and wrapped her dainty arms around my legs and hugged me hard. The little mite, in her tiny years and few short feet, has grown up so much but still so desperately needs her Momma’s hugs. And I hope she always will. In that instant, as her arms squeezed me tight, I thought, dammit I needed that. I needed that hug. And I also thought, dammit I’m the Mum.
I like Disney Princesses. Little Miss is very fond of them, if anything for the way the dresses twirl when she spins. We’re all raised on Disney with Snow White, Belle, Aurora and Cinderella being staples in most of our homes. The stories are adventures. The songs are beautiful and melodic and the beauty is profound. It’s not our world though is it?
If you were watching my Insta Stories this weekend you’ll know we were at Dublin Comic Con despite the insanely bitter cold. Dublin Comic Con started back in 2013 and Little Miss was bundled up in my belly when we went to that very first convention. It was a start up convention with a few big names wrangled for that very first event. Since then it has sky rocketed to being Irelands best comic convention and is referred to as Irelands largest Family and Pop Culture Event. We have been going almost every year. Last year we started bringing Little Miss with us and this year she was counting the days down to the Spring Edition. Here’s how we got on.
The phrase “having it all” did not necessarily begin as being strictly implied for the professional mother but somehow, over the years, we have found our way here. Career driven women who inevitably question the balance of life with work and motherhood. Making choices as though it’s a necessity to choose. Or attempting to balance the load of success in every aspect of our lives because we are the great acrobats of modern society. Because being successful is how we are supposed to measure these things, right?
We question those choices. And argue about why we can’t have it all. We debate the very idea of what it means and why we want it, searching under rocks and digging on every X. Feeling the pressure of guilt, self-doubt and judgement on every scale as it balances out of our favour. We battle an ever, omnipresent idea of being bigger, better and more than we are. As though striving to reach goals, break through glass ceilings and chase our dreams becomes a questionable commodity as motherhood calls. Almost as though we search in vain.
It’s been hanging around a few weeks lately which is why, a few days ago, I wrote the post Anxiety: The Flamingo Does Not Define Me. I’ve been trying to climb out of a rut that has seen me stuck for three weeks or so. I have to be honest, because that’s who I am and what I do. I consider myself a self care idiot. I should know better by now. I should know how to look after my physical needs and the needs of my ever spinning mind. I really should but I’m feeling the pinch of being overwhelmed lately and it has swallowed up any opportunity I’ve had to care for myself. Overhelmed with balancing working from home and being the Momma Bear I want to be, but feeling as though I’m failing in the process because I want to hide in the kitchen. Overwhelmed with my relationships with friends, family and Papa Bear. Even overwhelmed with how the furniture is positioned and how Un-Marie Kondo’d the house is.
Something struck me the last few days. Struck me hard, like a lash of a whip or one of those instantaneous paper cuts right on the knuckle. Or a slice from tin foil which oddly happened to me last week. I’ve been overly tired – emotionally, physically and mentally the past while. I’ve been crawling through the sludge grabbing for a rope to pull me up and out. It’s been a case of being hit hard by “the overwhelm”. You know those days when everything seems to need to be done two or three times before you can move on to the next thing. And the next thing and the next thing. I’ve had friends and family worry about me this week. And I can see in the back of their eyes, a little dancing Flamingo.
Lets jump on the Marie Kondo bandwagon shall we? Now I know most of you heard of her before the Netflix series took centre stage, but I, my friends, had not. Despite her sailing into our lives in 2014 with her book detailing the KonMari method of de-cluttering, in other words retaining only what “sparks joy”, my order conscious self missed her inspirational overhaul of life. I do love a good reshuffle and I appreciate the motherload of organisation but I must admit, her method of living and loving is not as easy as it looks.