I am staring at the cursor, blinking in the top left of the screen. A blank page to fill. When is it right to share the real, not so pretty stuff on a blog? Is it ever right? For me, it is when not sharing feels inauthentic. You don’t come here for a picture perfect life, you come for a real portrayal of life and I imagine, of motherhood, in particular. I have other posts I could finish off and publish and they will come, but when I find something is stopping me, I know it’s time to write whatever my fingers type.
Do you ever feel that this should all be so much easier? That you should be doing it all better and enjoying it more? When does it get easier? I thought once the baby days were done it would become more manageable, but at the moment I am finding it harder, I think, than even those sleep-deprived hazy days. Perhaps it’s the expectation that it should be easier that makes it harder. When you have babies, just getting out of the house on time and with everyone in the right clothes is a cause for celebration and a good day tick earned. Maybe it’s that juggling the needs of a 7,5 and 2 year old is actually just as challenging, as juggling those of a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a newborn, if not harder. Perhaps it’s just the lack of balance for such a long time. The seven years of making snacks, mopping up spills, arguing about clean teeth and coats and what’s for dinner. Perhaps it’s tidying the kitchen everyday, folding endless loads of washing or trying to stop your car becoming a toy cupboard/rubbish bin and failing. I suspect it’s all of that, plus, and perhaps this is most important, giving so much of yourself, everyday and not even knowing if you’re doing it right. Overthinking it all or getting to grips with it all, only to have it all change on you, in the blink of an eye.
Over the past few weeks (months?) I’ve noticed how short-tempered I am. Running on my emotions too much, in a house of small people, who are designed to live on their emotions too. And then a couple of weeks ago, it hit me. I looked in the mirror after the kids had gone to bed and thought “ I look knackered. When will I ever not look knackered?!” Mostly, I get plenty of sleep, aside from the odd disturbance for a child’s nightmare or a wet bed, we sleep all night and I realised it’s not really that kind of tiredness. It’s weariness. It’s burn out. On the same evening this blog was shared to facebook and it stopped me in my tracks. It was like she was speaking to me and the relief that this is how it is was overwhelming.
A google search later and of course, Mum burnout is a thing that everyone else seems to know about. I just thought I was failing at it all. I’m not, I’m just burnt out. The extra to-dos of the festive season have taken it up a notch and my complete lack of enthusiasm for it all, in stark contrast to last year, show that things are a little off. It occurred to me today that I have felt more festive when pregnant or with a tiny baby or in the middle of a very long and expensive loft conversion. This year, it all just feels like a huge drag. I am hoping that the introduction of mulled booze and mince pies will rectify this, but they won’t if I don’t write some cards and wrap some presents too.
So, what next? Well, I’m a bit of ‘this is how it is. Suck it up and get on with it’ type of person and I stand by that. It is what it is. My children are still quite young and take a lot of hard work and it’s not even that I am wishing it were over. Strangely, the last few months have had lots of moments that make me want to freeze time. They are all at such awesome ages and I can see their brains exploding, in very different ways, but all seem to be in a time of huge growth and I love it.
However, I know that just sucking it up and ploughing on won’t be enough on it’s own. Even if I do find that by just acknowledging how I feel is often enough to help. Do you find that? I am a big proponent of ‘feeling what we feel’ and just sitting with it for a while.
How do you prevent or recover from ‘Mum Burnout’? I’m thinking working on that elusive balance. A little more taking it easy on myself. A little less heaping on the guilt and pressure. Lots of early nights and things that make me happy, that ‘fill my cup’ How about you?