Posts tagged #working mum

“Your blog makes me feel bad about myself”

Anxiety truth who i am Mama Pyjama Blog

This is something I’ve heard several times over the last two years.  It’s never said with ill-intent, and it’s usually always followed with something like, “because you’re doing all this stuff and I’m just sitting at home watching the TV.” 

I won’t apologise for how my blog makes others feel…but I will say I’m not here to make you feel bad.  I want to motivate you and support you, but most importantly I’m here to share my life honestly with you.  Because honesty is important.  Because there’s not enough of it in the world.

So in case there are any misconceptions about my life – I’ll lay it all out for you to see.

I’ve always believed that there are 24 usable hours in every day.  I’m an achiever.  I am driven by a need to make things happen, to be great at what I do, to be leading the pack.  It’s how I’m programmed, and it’s tied up in my self-worth.  It can be a really awesome thing – I get stuff done, and most of the time I do it well… BUT, it can also be a truly destructive force in my life.

Three weeks ago I crashed and burned.

It was like everything was happening all at once.  Instead of having five or six colourful balls in the air to juggle, I felt like I had forty three flaming fire sticks….  Work pressures had mounted. My extended family were going through a significant period of pain and change.  My son’s health issues were growing.  I was trying to launch my new website which took crazy hours and was a huge learning curve.  Financial pressures were increasing just as I was launching myself into the world of e-commerce, and I was feeling quite dejected in general after several setbacks and lost opportunities over the last 6-12 months.  Put simply, the world was spinning around me with crazy speed and force, and I was standing in the middle feeling exhausted, undervalued, nervous, helpless, vulnerable, anxious, and well and truly out of my depth.  

I found myself sitting in my manager’s office, attempting to have a conversation about a resourcing issue I was having on my project.  It wasn’t a fun conversation, but it’s certainly not something I haven’t done before.  All of a sudden the room felt like it was on fire.  Hot.  HOT like I’d never felt a room feel before.  I could feel the colour filling my cheeks.  I took off my jacket.  My voice changed tone and I was talking really fast.  It was like I was in an inferno and the walls were closing in.  BAM.  I was having my first ever panic attack.  I’ve never felt so out of control in my whole life.  I walked out of the room and straight out the front door and found a park bench to sit at. 

I sat.  I breathed.  I wondered what the hell just happened.  Then I took myself back inside and kept on going.

I should have stopped.

The following week I got influenza.  The universe clearly wasn’t taking no for an answer on this one.  I was bedridden.  I am never bedridden.  I hate being still.  I find it virtually impossible to sit and do nothing.  I was so sick that I literally couldn’t even muster the energy to watch TV, yet I was sitting there with off-the-charts anxiety because I was ‘wasting time’.

I had to take 1.5 weeks off work.  The Sunday before I went back, my youngest was diagnosed with pneumonia.  That same week, my eldest nearly broke his foot.  It doesn’t stop.  But what can we do?

Well me?  I take a deep breath, and I keep going…because that’s who I am.

I’m still going to push myself and I’m still going to try everything in my power to ensure I’m living my life to its fullest potential but my dad, who’s a fellow ‘achiever’, had some good advice for me.  “It's about knowing when to get off the merry go round or change direction”. 

So I will continue to look for new directions, and I will be focusing more on speaking up, saying no, finding balance, supporting my health with supplements, asking for help, and finding ways to get more restful sleep to ensure I don’t reach breaking point again.  I'll also look at ways to slow down a little, and to manage my achievement anxieties a little better too...because if I didn’t, that'd just be stupid, right? 

So there it is.  My life’s not perfect.  I’m not super woman.  I do have a break point.  I do yell when I shouldn’t.  I do take it out on my family sometimes; in fact I completely lose my shiz sometimes.  I do watch reality tv (with a passion way disproportionate to the quality of the show).  I certainly don’t succeed at everything I do.  I do drink too much wine.  I am terrible at phonecalls with friends and family; I often miss texts or emails completely.  My house is an absolute bomb-zone, ‘cause something’s gotta give.  And last week I forgot to supply the grated cheese for all the kids making their own lunch wraps for my son’s 100 days of school celebration. 

I’m not here to make you feel bad.  I’m here to make myself feel better…because all this?  This is my passion.  I’m here to inspire you to find your passion too.  And I’m here to spread the honesty around the universe.  Life’s not perfect.  I’m not perfect.  You’re not perfect.  And that’s ok.  That’s exactly as it should be.

Daycare

"Why can't I stay home mama?"

"Why can't I stay home mama?"

I’ve had a tough few weeks…and it’s wearing me down.  My son has decided that he doesn’t like going to daycare anymore.  He’s been going since he was about 10 months old.  I had hoped these days would be over by now.  I guess it isn’t to be.

What has ensued is tantrums and screaming in the parking lot.  Fists clenched, iron claw grip on the car seat and me standing at the car door, toddler on hip, begging for him to just get out of the car.  Please just get out and go inside. 

I’m late for work (again).  My heart is in a thousand pieces on the ground.  I’m questioning my entire life situation in this moment.  Please…just get out the car and go inside.

This escalates to dragging, screaming, pulling…more begging.  Then we’re inside and his hands are around my neck.  Clasped together.  Unbreakable.  Then the pleading starts.  The “please don’t leave me.  I just want to stay hoooommme.  I love you mama.  I want to stay home with you and daddy.  I love staying home.  Please can we just stay home?”

They tell me he’s fine 5 minutes after I leave.  And I’m sure he is…but is he really?

This is what I do.  The second guessing.  The worrying.  The guilt.  The all-consuming nausea that is borne from thinking about your four year old suffering anxiety.  Anxiety that your mind convinces you, is something you could prevent or protect him from if you were ‘just doing your job right’.

It feels like a lose-lose situation at times.  So I guess it all comes down to keeping things in perspective – so much about parenting seems to come down to this!  I’ve drilled down to the detail in an attempt to work out if it’s something specific about the daycare that he doesn't like (I have a lot of faith and trust in the carers  so I really don’t have concerns around his safety or care).  Upon further questions my son tells me it’s just “so boring” going to daycare, so I’ve given myself a quiet pat on the back for having such a super fun home ;) and chosen to focus on the fun aspects of daycare as a way of selling the benefits to him.  We make sure we show and tell him how much he is loved and we try to provide consistent routines (giving him pre-warning of daycare days and stay-home days) in the hopes that this will help reduce his anxiety.  I have also bribed him with strawberry flavoured tic-tacs ... this is probably my most successful tactic to date ;).

And in the quiet moments I try to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can to provide a safe, comfortable and loving environment for my children.  Issues like childcare will always spark debates, so I try to focus on the one important factor – every situation has its positive and negatives.  There is no right or wrong way.  All you can do is trust your instincts and try your absolute hardest to provide a balanced lifestyle for your family, and an environment in which your children feel loved, cared for and important.