I’m not totally sure where this one is going to go. It’s a difficult one to write, or should I say, an easy one to write and a difficult one to publish. Because it’s honest. A true reflection of what is going on. There may be little in the way of conclusions or even clarity, but I think I’ll just write for a while and see what happens.
I’ve been feeling, how do I put it, ‘off’ lately, not quite the best version of myself. Anxious, short-tempered, uninspired, lacking a creative spark and tired, oh, so very, very tired. It just so happened I had a health check recently, a routine, ‘you’ve reached a certain age’ healthcheck and whilst I was fairly certain that I am totally healthy, there was a brief thought that perhaps my blood tests would show a medical reason why I’m so tired. Low Iron, maybe or a thyroid issue, but no, nothing.
I began to wonder if perhaps my low mood is a little more serious than I thought, the depression word popped into my head, in one of my many internal monologues, but I just don’t buy it. I just don’t feel that I am and not in a self-delusional way, I just don’t feel depressed. A bit stressed out maybe, a bit weary of the grind, but not depressed, but I did begin to wonder if perhaps I needed to offload on someone and that’s where this blog post grew from. Why spend money I don’t have on therapy when I have a blog. Am I right?!
Because, ultimately isn’t it the shared experience of something that brings us back to blogs time and again? Isn’t it the fact that personal blogs aren’t magazines that sets them apart? I am a blogger, I share stuff and by sharing stuff I reach out and someone will nod and think “yes, I feel that. I know what you are thinking and feeling” and by making that connection, we are all better off.
Mothering is hard, hard work. The mind numbing grind of some of it, as we tidy up the same mess, made for the thousandth time or prepare the endless food and drink that is either spilled or rejected or eaten, while making it very clear that they “hate this dinner”. The huge amount of patience that we need to breath through the two year old who is finding her own way and testing her own abilities to do it all herself. Or the four year old who can’t deal with his emotions and is pushing all his boundaries, it seems all the time. Or the seven year old who is touching that next level of maturity and wants to be like his friends, have what they have, do what they do. The patience we need for this is more than can really be expressed in a few paragraphs.
Then there is the juggling. The school commitments, the wider family commitments, the appointments, the phone calls, the emails. Basically the flotsam and jetsom of family life that can feel like it will sink us. And we do it all with a smile to the public world. A friendly chat at the school gate, small talk at the toddler group. A shrug and a wry smile when someone gives us a compliment about how busy we are and how together we seem and we carry on, because that’s just what we do. We are patient, when we feel we have no more patience left. When we feel we have no more left to give of ourselves, we give some more. When we feel we can’t cope with it all, we find that we can. We carve out much needed time for ourselves when we probably should be sleeping and eventually we just feel……well, tired to the very core of our bones.
I look around at other mothers, at my team, as it were and I don’t think it matters what the differences are. Working, not working, single, one child, four children, mothers with babies, mothers with teens, attachment mothers, Gina Ford mothers. It can be hard for us all. There is no miracle cure, this is how it is sometimes. We still have moments when we laugh and relax or days when it all goes well, but sometimes it just feels harder than others.
So, what do we do? I am still not sure on this one. I tried a little Internet break. I’m not sure what I was expecting, I am not really one for feeling Insta-envy. I am fully aware that the snippets of life that we show are edited and I’m fine with it. Taking a break certainly didn’t change my life. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t the restorative experience that many speak of. I didn’t feel more present in my own life and now I have re-installed all the social media apps on my phone, I’m generally just annoyed that all the notifications seem to be turned on and it keeps buzzing at me, when someone who will never talk to me, follows me on Twitter. I am a sharer. I believe that we should be making connections, not withdrawing and when it comes to motherhood it is even more important. A coffee with two other Mums, that have three children, of similar ages to mine, was the best therapy I could have wished for last week and those connections are just as valid on-line as they are down the street.
I think that perhaps that is the answer, or at least part of it. Along with more rest, good coffee and a regular dose of yoga, the way to find that spark, that last ounce of patience and grit is to share our story. To speak the truth about our life and experience. Not every moment of every day, but sometimes we should say; “This is where I am. This is how I feel”, because there will always be someone reading who will say “Yes! This. This is how it is and that’s OK”