Sometimes parenting can feel like you are in an out of control car. Hurtling along, narrowly missing other cars and occasionally careering through red lights. Sometimes you might even find yourself getting a ticket for parking on a double yellow. Even worse you might crash. If you’re lucky you might escape unscathed, eventually. Parenting, lately, has been that out of control car followed by a crash. We have been thrown back into the routine of school pick up and drop off. However, there have been many, many bumps in the road.
Last year I had it sussed and I felt like we were cruising along nicely. This year I am struggling. Back to school for Oldest hasn’t been easy. She had gone from being a happy and extroverted girl who adored learning, to a girl who was now reluctant to go to school, she didn’t seem excited to be learning. I have been so concerned that the idea of home schooling has reared its head again. However, just as we started to consider the idea seriously it appeared that Oldest had ridden the storm and come out of the other side. I couldn’t help feeling like I had failed her though. There were many, many nights, where I stayed awake, unable to sleep for worrying about Oldest.
This is being a mother though, am I right? That feeling of worry, the knowledge that you would defend your children fiercely and without reservation. Emotionally I am now a mother. My first thoughts are always for my children. My worries centre round my children. Physically too I am a mother. The angry c-section scar is testament to two births that ended up in surgery, also a painful reminder of the first time that I failed them. My boobs no longer pert remind me that I provided them with nourishment. However, there are also other physical signs that shouts I am a mother. You might have to look carefully, under the foundation and the illuminator that I put under my eyes, my poor attempt to hide the shadows and bags. The number 1 thing that tells me physically that I am a mother is the tiredness. I thought that once your babies were no longer a baby that the tiredness left but it doesn’t, it’s always there in the background. Sometimes it rears its head and you can feel the overwhelming need for sleep, your bones ache and your eyes feel heavy but you carry on because you have to as you are a mum. It’s when this tiredness hits that you realise the car crash is about to happen.
We spend so much time juggling and dashing, tending to our family’s needs, that we often forget our own needs. I have spent so much energy over the past month, juggling school runs, dashing to clubs, working from home, meeting deadlines, that I am exhausted. Physically exhausted; mentally exhausted. Then the wheels fell off. Youngest got poorly, Oldest got poorly, the washing machine fell apart and that was the final straw. I then got poorly. The motherhood car had crashed. However, as a mother you continue, you ignore the signs and you carry on pushing that car up the hill.
Sometimes we need to admit defeat. We need to take a step back and we need to reassess. We are our own worst enemies. We think that treating ourselves, taking time for ourselves is too indulgent and shouldn’t be done. We have a tendency to focus on the negatives. For me I was consumed by why Oldest was unhappy, by the fact we were struggling to get to school on time, it felt like everything was falling apart. It wasn’t though; just two things but I was focussing on them and blaming myself. How can we cure ourselves of car crash parenting?
- Don’t lose focus on yourself. You are important as well. You might be a mum but you are also a wife, friend, daughter, etc. Make sure you find time for yourself. Whether that is by reading a book on an evening, watching a trashy tv programme, going out with friends or staying in and having a long bath.
- Share. Don’t bottle it up. If you are struggling to do everything then share how you are feeling, ask for help or for advice from others. You don’t need to do it alone. Let someone else help drive that car!
- No. Sometimes saying no can be really hard. If we aren’t careful then we can end up taking on too much and spreading ourselves too thin. Then you end up feeling like you are letting everyone down. It’s a vicious cycle and you need to break it.
- Write it down. It can feel overwhelming at times. Writing everything down on a calendar can help. I love lists. Having a list of everything you need to do that day and then ticking it off when you have done it reminds yourself that you are achieving things and getting things done!
- Have an early night. There will be days where nothing seems to go right on those days get an early night. A good night’s sleep is good for the soul and everything always looks better in the morning.
What are your tips for fixing car crash parenting?
Pin for later: