Put a video camera in front of my face and suddenly my mouth’s contorted like I’ve just had a root canal, I’ve a vocab of about three words, and I’m all machinegun giggles (this awkward heckling can be heard ringing out through every poignant scene in my wedding video)… So why would I audition for a reality TV show?! Sounds crazy right? But that’s exactly what I chose to do on the back of being told I was “boring”.
I realised that I needed to do something drastic – something that completely challenged me, in order to restart my engine. I’d been idling for years, sitting on the sidelines, waiting for someone or something to come and pull me out of the rut I was in. I chose to leap, two feet first, guns blazing, straight from Mama Pyjama Syndrome into a ring of social judgement (‘cause that’s just how I do things, but I’m sure that the same can be achieved by taking less extreme steps).
Suffice to say, I didn’t get through to the final round of auditions but what I gained from the experience was the kick-start I needed. I felt re-energised by the challenge. As corny as it sounds, I actually felt like ‘me’ again. I was doing something that for me was completely ‘crazy’, completely on a whim, completely self-driven - and it felt awesome.
When we're feeling exhausted and a little lost some days it seems almost impossible to brush our teeth, let alone get up and do something that falls completely outside the realms of our comfort zone. But it's so important to do things that increase our energy levels.
I'm no expert, but in my experience, it’s the things that force you into the “now” that set your energy levels flying. For me it’s activities that get my adrenaline pumping – like rollercoasters, sports (and reality tv auditions!). Things that force you to think of nothing other than the present living moment. Activities that elicit the ‘fight or flight’ response. Obviously this isn’t really a sustainable approach to maintaining our zest for life, but I’ve found it a very effective jump-start tactic, and one that has been pivotal in pulling me out of my Mama Pyjama Syndrome.
I challenge you to take a chance this week. Say yes to something you never thought you’d be able to do. Get the blood pumping through your veins again. Take the time to remind yourself of what makes you, “you”. Part of being a great parent is knowing who you are and what makes you happy. Don’t let “yourself” get lost among the dirty nappies and sleepless nights any longer than is absolutely necessary (yes, there’s a period of time where there is little choice but to put our “selves” on the back burner, but that period doesn’t need to last forever). If you see an opportunity to reignite your passions – seize it! There’s no shame in being both a “parent” and a happy, fulfilled individual. We wouldn’t want our children to settle for less than that as adults, so let’s lead by example. Go on, get out there – break free!