It comes but once a year and for many of us, Mothers Day is a special day whereby we are reminded of just what a damn good job we’re doing.
But surely we should be reminded of this every day? And more importantly, shouldn’t we be reminding ourselves of that (although of course, it is wonderful to hear it from our nearest and dearest, whilst they are so appreciative of all that we do)!
Sometimes it takes stepping back for a moment and looking at just what you have achieved in a day to remind yourself that you’re doing a great job, even if it has seemed like your day has been a nightmare. Kids fed, even if it took two hours and a lot of negotiating, then that’s a success. A bit of fresh air, even if your threenager threw a shit fit in the park when you said it was time to leave, then that’s a success. It’s easy to hold on to the difficult and negative aspects of whatever episode your child has charmingly treated you to that day, before you recognise “ah but overall, we ate, we played, and there were more smiles than tears”.
I almost feel hypocritical writing this, telling you all to celebrate yourselves and give yourself credit for what you do. Because I know I don’t give myself enough credit for what I do. I am a stay at home Mum, with two kids, one of whom is autistic and so unpredictable that you’re in a constant state of high alert, and my every waking moment is about them. I don’t take much time to think about myself. And of late, that’s really been affecting me. It’s making me tired and unenthusiastic about things I usually love, it makes me less patient, less kind to my husband, and in turn it can make me feel quite unhappy. And I am a true believer that a Happy Mum equals Happy Children, so if my mental state isn’t having a positive impact on my kids and our day to day lives then, as I have recently realised, something has to change.
So I spoke to my equally exhausted best friend and without even thinking about it, we booked ourselves off for a night away. Because sometimes you simply need a break, and it’s taken me three and a half years to recognise this and do it! We went this weekend and it was amazing! Not just because of the shopping, prosecco lunches, a night out and a care free lie in the next day, but because I only had myself to think about for a bit. My handbag, rather than a changing bag, my meal that I’d enjoy whilst it was warm because I wasn’t letting it sit and go cold whilst I battled two kids to bloody well eat, my long hot shower that wasn’t timed down to an episode of Hey Duggee. That freedom was so wonderful and much needed. My friend and I enjoyed a lazy couple of hours before going out on Saturday night, laid on the bed, chatting about anything and everything whilst binge watching Come Dine With Me, eating cake and drinking bubbles. Because when do we ever get to do that!!! I made a conscious effort not to continually text my husband to check on the kids, I didn’t check the night cameras on my phone that evening to see if they’d gone to bed, and even when we went shopping I purposefully avoided H&M Kids because in my mind, this weekend was for ME, what I wanted to buy for myself, not what to buy for the kids.
When I got home on Sunday afternoon, and Josh flung himself at me and was so pleased to see me, it made it even more worth while. I was talking to my husband about it that evening and said that I’d not come home in some spa-like uber relaxed state but that was a good thing, that hadn’t been the aim of our weekend. I didn’t want to come home massively chilled and then be straight into bathing the kids and feeling tension and stress creep back in, going from one extreme to the other. And I didn’t feel that….. I came home with a sense of purpose; I suppose you could call it balanace. A reminder of what it was like to be Fi for a bit and not just MAMAMAMAMAMA as Holly likes to call me. I felt lifted. I felt happy to have been away and I felt happy to get home. I was thinking logically, I wasn’t quickly getting irritated by the mess (although there hardly was any – seriously the husband was on fire this weekend), or what the kids had eaten.
I felt calm. Calmness is something I often crave but cannot find. But I felt it again like a familiar old friend reminding me it is possible, amongst all the chaos, all the tantrums, all the challenges, I can be calm. It helps me think logically, be kind to others and myself, and makes me so grateful for what I have.
Taking 24 hours away, off for myself, was one of the best things I could have done. That time to yourself reminds you of what you manage to do everyday and why you need a bit of a reward and a break sometimes. Most of all it’s reminded me the importance of being kind to myself. Of course I’m going to continue to have days where the kids are difficult, meltdowns occur, and I doubt myself. But a bit of time of way has given me that mindset that sometimes just stepping back, taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that you have indeed got this, that can help you through the tough days.
My life has changed a lot in three years; I’m more tired, I have inspected poo more than I ever thought I would, I know who Mr Tumble is, I’ve embraced the Twirlywoos (still a bit weird though lets be honest), I have succumbed to Mum guilt, and I am heavily reliant on mascara and concealer to stop myself from looking so scary I frighten my own children. But more importantly I’ve learnt what pure unconditional love is. Even after a “leaving the park” meltdown or a “I want Daddy not Mummy” phase (bloody heartbreaking when they pull this shit on you – don’t mind me I only went through 9 months of puking, major surgery to deliver you and pretty much dedicated my boobs to you for over a year, but you go to Daddy cause he’s the favourite), it simply doesn’t matter.
Cause these are my little people and I am doing a good job at looking after them.
I keep my babies happy, loved, warm, safe and fed every day. Every day, despite whatever meltdowns take place, they smile. Every single day they feel happy. And I can proudly say that’s down to me and my husband.
So this Mothers day, take a moment for you. Whatever a moment of calm is for you; a bath, a walk, a solo shopping trip, reading in bed, whatever it is, do it. It’s good for the soul, it’s good for you and therefore it’s good for your babies.