Posts tagged #pressure

Losing Myself

Losing Myself Mama Pyjama

It’s been a while between blogs…and if I’m honest, it’s because I’ve been staring down the slippy slope to Mama Pyjama Syndrome.   It’s been a reminder of how easy it is to let yourself slip.  Before you know it, you’re back in the cycle of letting life happen TO you, instead of actively participating in the living. 

I’ve been under a big chunk of pressure at work.  I remind myself daily that I’m not out there saving lives…but ultimately, I’m still trading forty hours of my life a week for this.  My life: my time with my kids, my time with my husband, my time for me.  It needs to be for something more than just the money.  There needs to be value in the trade-off, because when there’s not, it’s deflating and disempowering.  It just feels...wrong.

I’ve been absorbing so much of the negativity around me that it’s started to grow inside me and is making its way out of me in the form of complaints and judgements.  This is not who I am.  This is not the person I want to spend my life with. 

This is how it starts.  We’re going through the motions; feeling unfulfilled.  We’re doing stuff, throwing our heart and soul into it, and we’re getting little in return.  We’re working ‘round the clock but no one’s noticing.  We’re slowly fading.  Wearing down.  We didn’t have time to do the stuff we like to do last month, last week…and now we’ve pretty much forgotten about it altogether.  There’s no time right?  Everything else is more important, right?

Wrong.  This is the problem.  Whether the current demand is raising our newborn, or running our household of teenagers, or managing our career, or all of the above – the impact is the same.  If we put our ‘self’ on the backburner, all of this will be in vain.  What’s it all worth in the end?  When the demand and pressure lifts …what’s left of you? 

I’ll tell you what will be left.  A shell.  Oh sure, it’ll be a super-functioning shell, and people will no doubt shout praise about all the things you DO.  They’ll say how you “always get the job done”; how you’re “always there for them”; how they “don’t know how you do it”.  But what will they say about WHO  you are?  What you’re passionate about?  What sets your heart on fire?  What would you  say? 

When they ask you what you like to do in your spare time, how will you answer?  … “What spare time?”…Yep, this is the excuse you’ll use to cover up the fact that you can no longer remember what it is you like to do.

So here’s the deal - I can see myself slipping again, but I’m going to pick myself up and I’m going to practice what I preach.  It’s time to redefine my career.  It’s time to put some more colour back into my outfit.  It’s time to smile, to breathe deeply, and to embrace the new day when it breaks.  It’s time to remind myself of the importance of the present moment.  If it’s not working for me, I’m going to change it.  If I can’t change it I’m going to follow the wise advice to “change my attitude”.  We create our own reality.  The challenges before us are there to help us grow, learn, mature, heal.  I will embrace and treat them accordingly. 

There is time for me.  There is ALWAYS time.  I will plan a catch up with my best friends.  I will book in a night out.  I will find something fun to do with the boys that is active and creative, and I will get up and get out of the house with them no matter how overwhelming that feels.  I will achieve the goals I have set myself and I will do it with a positive mindset.  I won’t waste my breath complaining or judging the behaviours of others.  Right at this very moment, someone is taking their last breath.  I’m going to make damn sure my next breath counts. 

Competition

"Save the pretending for parties!"

"Save the pretending for parties!"

I am very lucky to be surrounded by supportive women who share the same “no holds barred” approach to discussing our parenting experiences.  But I’ve heard so many stories from women about the pressures they feel in living up to the carefully constructed images that other mothers present. 

You know the ones…claiming to never have sworn, or yelled, or lost their temper.  Sprouting about getting a full night’s sleep every night with their newborn.  Comparing the milestones of your children with theirs.  Constantly posting updates on how wonderful their life is and how motherhood is a dream.  These are usually the same mums that are making the judgement calls on putting your child in daycare or being a stay-at-home mum, preaching whatever opinion suits their situation and putting down anyone that does the opposite. 

Ah good luck to them!  If this perfect little world really does exist for them, consider them the one in a million - the winners of the parenting lottery.  I’m happy for them, honestly I am!  But as for the rest of them, let’s get real.  You seriously have never ever, not once wanted to lock your child in a room and run out of the house screaming?  They’ve never pushed your buttons so much that you’ve lost the plot and yelled ridiculous statements like “what is WRONG with you?” two inches from their face?  You’ve never rewashed the laundry three times, or let dishes pile up for a week?  Never sat in a corner crying wondering how you got to where you are?  The statement “I’m failing” or “I totally suck at being a mum” or “I can’t do this” have never crossed your mind?

So flip it 'round and think of it a different way.  Instead of comparing yourself to these women, or buying into their opinions and mind games…think about how hard it must be to be them.  Imagine waking up each day and lying to yourself and everyone around you about how ‘easy’ everything is.  Imagine never getting any help because no one thought you needed it.  Imagine how hard they must work to ensure that their house is pristine so as to leave no hint of struggle.  Imagine how difficult it must be to maintain the facade.  Urgh!  No thanks!  I’ll take second guessing, guilt ridden, slightly lunatic, warts and all mum over that any day.

If you ARE one of these women – please stop.  Women have come a long way in recent years, and a lot of them have fought really really hard to get us equal opportunities and rights.  Stop sabotaging our gender!  We should be banding together, not putting each other down or creating unnecessary competition and pressure.  We need to support one another, prop each other up, share our struggles and celebrate our successes - together as one.  It’s a modern world, there’s a lot of pressure on mums to be a lot of different things now days.  Please stop adding to that pressure! 

If you’re right smack bang in the middle of being dragged into this comparison game…get off the train!  Now!  You’re tired, you’re vulnerable, you’re susceptible – they’re preying on you!  Don’t let them get their teeth in.  It’s not too late!  Run - run really really fast in the opposite direction.  In fact, run over to Mama Pyjama on facebook  – read the blogs, read the responses from readers – there’s a whole community of real, supportive, honest parents out there.  Get in amongst it and save yourself the pain of trying to live up to unrealistic expectations.