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.
I’m living in fear of snow this week. Last years snow drifts, while beautiful and temporarily fun to play in before the ice cold creeps into your bones, has left me willing and wishing the weather man will say we’ve escaped with a sprinkling of the white stuff. When I was five, I longed for snow. At 35, not so much. Indoors I stay. Indoors I do my best to keep warm. But I’m also living in fear of the oil running out before I can top up the tank. Which got me thinking about how the cold seeps into our house on days like these. Practical as ever, I have a few tips for keeping the house warm without leaving the heat on all day.
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?
Being Momma Bear has changed me. I’ve changed drastically and dramatically and for the better. We grow up, drag ourselves in to the world of adulthood and expect nothing. For some people things don’t change. They blend from one decade to the next with the same ideals and shoes. Others change quickly, become bigger, better versions of their younger selves. And then there are new parents. The change is sudden and immense. The growing up and learning is vast. Parenthood is like an affliction that changes the internal mechanisms of your body and brain – in a positive yet frightfully severe way. Has parenthood changed you?
It doesn’t seem like I hang around my own blog too much anymore but trust me it’s always on my mind. I’ve been one of these buzzy bees or more like an annoying blue bottle bouncing off the walls and windows, trying desperately to find a way out to that fresh air. I can not sit still. My mind is constantly on the go between the kids, the house and my writing. Seven months into freelancing and I’ve discovered a pertinent truth to this career. I need a damn diary. Preferably one with an automatic entry from my brain. Oh yes, I need a telepathic diary.
Despite being in our thirties, I think myself and Papa Bear are relatively traditional when it comes to our marriage. We’re not stuck in the 1950s though, with himself the bread winner and me tied to the kitchen sink peeling spuds. We’re quite the team when it comes to our relationship as well as our parenting. When our marriage hits a blip or life throws a curveball, we have a natural way of finding our way back to the straight and narrow. We never read a guidebook, although there are many! We value each other as well as our marriage. And no, every day is not perfect, and yes, somedays we want to throttle each other, but running away is never an option. I realised a lot of the qualities that makes us “Us” are not new. Not new age. They’re relatively old fashioned but certainly still relevant.
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 always say life has a funny way of throwing you a curveball. Whether you can hit that ball out of the ballpark or not is really the issue. Last Friday a curveball came in the size of a Lexus as it swerved onto my side of the road and collided with my car, sending us spinning with the gas and smoke from the airbags suffocating us.
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.