“I went back to work when my daughter was 6 months old because we couldn’t survive on another cut to my maternity pay. My daily routine turned into autopilot. I was awake most of the night with my daughter. I struggled getting up and giving 100% to my work commitments, driving home, picking my daughter up and then returning home to be mum and wife for the rest of the evening. I was physically drained but didn't see a way out of it because this was my life now. I turned to my friend who was also a working mum and she gave me tips like buying a slow cooker and jumping the train to work instead of driving to tackle emails before I got home. That supported me in having some quality time with my husband and myself. ”Chelsy
Imagine standing in the middle of a room with all your family, friends, children, employers, clients, health professionals and social media surrounding you. It already sounds uncomfortable to me! Now imagine the sound and the vibrations there would be if everyone in the room started to shout your name, craving your attention. You want to please everyone, because you don’t want them to feel as if their voices are not important. This can happen without everyone being in the room with you; even when sitting at home on your couch alone. Repeated demands stick in our minds. Who needs me and who shall I prioritise? I know, let me see how far I can stretch myself across everyone’s needs except, of course, my own. Does this sound like something that you can relate to? It’s like you’re getting pulled from pillar to post, person to person and you’re just expected to go with it, or so you have trained your mind to believe. Your attention is in demand, and you’ve never been so popular for fixing the everyday challenges that everyone around you are facing and coming to you for support with.
There are times when my husband was working away that I would spend over two hours getting my toddler into her bedtime routine. I’d then come out of her room to be greeted with the needs of my older children. Sometimes it would be help with homework or to share something that they were excited about.
This can be the time when you feel like dropping everything around you, going to your room and climbing back under those covers, right? I feel your frustration. No matter how much you get done, nothing ever seems to stay the away you intended it to. The washing piles up and the kids want three different meals. You get to the stage where something has to give. Your body can’t go on being in such demand, and your mind doesn’t know what day it is.
Having been told in the past that this was just life, and that it’s your own fault for having children, doesn’t help. Ignore anyone who says that. If anything, it makes you feel as though there is nothing that needs changing, because it’s life, right? Wrong! Your life doesn’t have to make you feel so low and so powerless to change. This force of negativity that is thrown at you, can be the energy and determination that you need to push things forward and make the changes.
No one should ever make you feel like you are fighting a losing battle, especially those who you are close to. This is your battle and you are the only one who can take back the reigns , canter through the mess and come out the other side. Only you can decide what path you want to ride down. So why do we let the beliefs, views and negativity of others determine what our next step is, or what our life goals are? Why are we so reluctant to take back control and show the people around us that we can get through this? Because we keep telling ourselves that we can’t, but the sooner you start to tell yourself that you can, then things will change.
Now you can see that no-one can do everything, and appearances are deceptive, the next step is to focus on your health.
A lot of built up pressure and stress can come from trying to get too much done in an unrealistic time.
Managing the needs and demands of your new baby and combining everything into a routine for you and your family can be challenging on its own, without the pressure of everyday tasks and to dos hanging over like a grey cloud. A cloud that when ignored grows bigger and bigger until we realise that it’s an area that needs some attention.
Even before I became a mother I would feel like I was always expected to do everything because I had no family commitments. This was seen as free time to some of the people I worked with, especially during times like Christmas holidays.
When I left the Royal Navy to have my son, I thought people would tell me that I was silly giving up an excellent career to start a family when in fact, no one blamed me for anything. I had so much support from friends and family but I just didn’t stop to notice it when I was too busy worrying.
Women in business often ask how I manage to juggle work commitments, family and friends. It’s about focus and being in the moment, knowing what needs to be done as a priority and what can wait. Sometimes I carry over my to do list into the next day because I know realistically I won’t get them done.
For me, if I know I’ve got parents evening on Tuesday I make that evening all about that. It’s simple; nothing else will be booked in. If I’m out with the children for the day, I focus on them and their needs, then I timetable in ‘Me-Time’ so I can re-identity with myself, or time alone with my partner, and get that reminder in that I’m Not Just a Mummy. When I’m with my children, I’m fully there. When it’s about me, I’ll fully there too. Compartmentalised living works for me. Yes, you might have to get up that extra hour earlier and go to bed that extra hour late, but it is worth it.
The next time you feel like you’ve got far too much on that to do list, too many people asking for your support and a bucket full of household chores to do, sit back and ask your mind and body if you need some time out or if you can delegate. Can you ask your partner to take over? Are your children old enough to understand the concept of chores and carry them out? You’re not the only one who lives in the house, so why should you be the only one expected to clean it? Plus teaching your children how to clean up after themselves, take responsibility for their own homework and make a sandwich shows that you are preparing them on how to be independent. Everyone will understand that you’re overloaded and respect your honesty. And with this support you’ll eventually feel like you can do everything you need to do.
Here for you.