As a Mum to two little girls under 5, I’ve found it’s really easy to just become an extension of them, especially when I was trudging through the ‘sleepless fog’.
I wish someone had a crystal ball and could have told me when things would get easier, but alas they didn’t (kind of a nice thought though, isn’t it?…). One thing I do know, that just like our little darlings, our job as a Mum continually evolves. From what I hear I don’t think it particularly gets easier, but it changes. And that’s ok. Maybe we just need to embrace those changes?
I’ve worked or studied from home continually for the last 5 years (almost to the day actually!), since I was about 5 months pregnant with my eldest, Lulu. I’m going, to be honest, it’s not always been easy. I’ve felt pretty down at times and pretty darn isolated for quite a lot of that time.
Previously I was used to working in an office every day surrounded by people with the chance for a quick chat while the kettle was boiling or I was waiting for the photocopier to do its thing.
I had a lunch hour…a whole hour where I could pop out to get some food uninterrupted or meet a friend for a bite to eat. Not to mention the regular Friday night pop to the pub with colleagues to dissect our weeks and talk about our plans we had for the weekend.
Then, suddenly, nothing! I was at home, all day every day with a laptop and a small child for company.
My honesty continues…I also felt huge resentment towards my husband. Not only did he ‘get a break’ and go to work (he’s a Doctor…so…) and get to talk to REAL people about REAL stuff, he also got to go out occasionally for a few beers with friends and not worry about the consequences.
I spoke to him recently about this, and he was genuinely upset that I never mentioned it to him at the time. Of course, he said that if he’d known that’s how I felt (rather than me just adding it to the list of things we’d argue about at the time), he would have enabled me to go out and do something for myself.
The joys of the ‘retro-specto-scope’! We’ve all got 20:20 vision when we look back on things! I get it too, that I’m in a very fortunate position that I do have a partner who can share the load (even if it was just listening to me whining about how tired I was!), not all of us are so lucky.
Hardest Job in The World
But, it’s really made me think about our roles as Mothers. When you think about a ‘paid job’, employers know that to get the best from their staff they need to provide optimum working conditions for optimum results, including sufficient time off for employees to recharge and continue working to the standard expected of them.
But for the majority of us Mums, once we have our first child, that’s a 24/7 commitment for the rest of our lives…pretty hefty stuff!
Of course, there are the usual reports on just how much a Stay at Home Mum is worth financially (even though it’s only based on a 96-hour working week!) if you haven’t read one recently, you might want to check this out.
But, it’s not about the money. It’s about having that recognition for what you’re doing (and honestly, what you’re sacrificing on multiple levels!) and how you’re perhaps juggling work, home and a child, no small feat by any standards.
Please don’t misunderstand me! This is in no way a negative post about the hardships of being a Mum! Hey, I’m pretty sure we all had at least an inkling of what we were signing up for when we were pregnant. I’m just pondering and actually finding it pretty therapeutic, so thanks!
Time for Mum
I don’t know about you, but I had concerned friends and family encouraging me to find ‘time for me’ and go out when AJ, my youngest, was having real difficulties with her sleep (also reads ‘for the first 2 years’!), but I just didn’t have the energy!
Plus, I knew I was setting myself up for failure, as I knew I’d go out, have a lovely time with my hubby or friends, have a few drinks and go to bed later than usual, but I’d STILL have to wake when she woke multiple times in the night…and that sucked!
But this isn’t all about me. What about you? Do you find time for you? If not, maybe now’s the time to try (regardless of how old your little one is).
When can you forge some time into your schedule just for you? And what do you fancy doing? I’m not talking about grand plans (although they’re good too!), I’m talking about something manageable, something regular that you can look forward to.
Maybe once a week you’ll ask your partner or a friend to guard the monitor so you can have a long soak in the bath until the water’s cold with a glass of something nice and a good book. Or maybe there’s an exercise class you’ve been meaning to go to? Lots of health centres have creches available, or some classes you can even take your little one with you (I’ll be talking more about fitness and health in a week or two… so stay tuned!).
Or take up a hobby? Learn a new language? Or, shock horror, if you can find a willing babysitter, enjoy a date night with your partner or friend? Doesn’t have to be once a week, maybe once a month? Just something for you to look forward to.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t lose sight of you! It’s easy to do, and if I were a betting kinda gal, I reckon most of us do at some point, and maybe not just once, but multiple times. And that’s ok, that’s natural. What’s not so natural is maintaining that and burning out. I’m just saying be kind to yourself and don’t lose sight of who you are. Yes, things have changed, but deep down, you’re still you!
When Does it Get Easier?
You know I mentioned the crystal ball earlier? Actually, I can tell you when things got easier for me…when AJ started to sleep a bit better! I can hand on heart say that by using the Sleep Sense™ Method to get AJ to sleep well was a game changer not just for her, but for me too!
Suddenly I felt like I had some energy in the evenings to actually do things, rather than just staring at the TV with an eye on the monitor wondering when she would wake.
I’ll not pretend I’m out every weekend painting the town red these days, but when I do go out, I know that I can relax and enjoy myself. I also know that because we have a regular routine that both girls respond so well to, anyone can put them to bed, it doesn’t have to be me or daddy
If you’re looking for this same kind of freedom, why not get in touch so I can help you rediscover time for you?