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.
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.
Here it is. The start of a brand new year when expectations are high and disappointments seem so far away or even impossible. When new beginnings can mean everything and anything and certainly have no place for failure. When day one is exciting with a new mind embracing new challenges. What will you do in 2019?
How many times, as Momma Bear, as Papa Bear have you put your needs to the side? Dropped your needs over by the “side board of lost intentions” only to be remembered as you fall into bed, or as you sit on the loo with an audience complaining about being hungry, bored, tired or sore. How many times have you thought, yep I feel hungry, bored, tired and sore too, only for the thought to quickly evaporate as their needs outweigh yours? I wrote an article recently for the Irish Examiner about being an introverted mother and since writing this feature, I’ve relaxed a bit more and allow myself those five, ten, fifteen minutes – if I can get it – to regroup, refocus, to be still and recover from the never-ending exhaustion of a day with kids.
I’ve spouted the term mindfulness about throughout my posts recently without really telling you what it is or how to concentrate on it. I’m obviously no expert having only come across the term less than a year ago but I’ve found it be the best thing, or rather, concept if you will, that has eased me back into real life without panic or stress. Being a Momma Bear who is also a Working Bear has had some pretty hefty challenges which could have easily knocked me downwards if I let it. But mindfulness has kept me focused in a way that calms my mind to the storm that often swells up around me.
I’ve had some incredibly mixed emotions lately. Little Bean is almost one and I can’t help but think back over the year it’s been. It’s been good but it’s also been bad. And those bad days are standing out more. But I am ending today focusing on Little Bean and her big sister because while the year has been a challenge, guess what, we got through it.
I’ve written quite a bit about my own personal journey through anxiety and depression – my diagnosis, my therapy and my recovery. You can read about it here,here and here if you missed it. But there is more than me in this scenario. Let’s Talk About Papa Bear.
It’s been almost two months since my anxiety “blip” which left me floored for two weeks with intense frustration, anger and anxiety that I lost control of. I wrote a letter to my Fricking Flamingo and kicked it out of the door. Before this blip I thought I was ok, in the safe zone, and had let life jump back on board making me forget about the ways I manage my anxiety.
Or rather, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated is pretty much the best any parent can hope to achieve. I have to admit, and I should be embarrassed as I say it, but my health is not at the top of my agenda. Since quitting my job and having two kids run rings around me, earning money and putting clothes on their bums is what keeps me going. So writing is my wealth but with that stupid attitude my health has taken a nose dive. Stress, anxiety, yada, yada, yada, we all know the drill. But to be good to my kids, I have to be good to myself.