My posts of late have been a lot less frequent and the tone in general when discussing anything in current time has been a little negative and just plain flat to be honest. It’s always ‘Kaiber is teething, he’s fussy, unsettled, not his usual happy self, fighting his sleep’ and all of those things are still very much in play right now but they aren’t affecting me quite as much as they have been for the past month.
So what’s changed?
I think a big portion of the problem with how I have been dealing with everything mentally is to do with the sheer weight of all the things I try to take on daily. I start the morning looking around and making mental notes of all the jobs I want to get done throughout the day and you can bet that the list has doubled before noon. In between juggling everything, my mind is absolutely littered with concern about whether or not I am doing a good enough job not only as a Mother but as a Partner and a Lover, too. I am constantly questioning myself and apologising to both Kaiber and Carl for such miniscule things; I’m sure that a good 70% of my vocabulary is made up of the word ‘sorry’ and that will take a lot to adjust as I have been this way for as long as I can remember.
Usually, at night, I lie awake tearing strips off myself in my mind and wishing I was someone I will never be capable of being because that person doesn’t even exist- the perfect person that is. A few weeks back, however, I lay there pondering over everything I do for my family and the efforts I go to to ensure they are the happiest they can possibly be and I thought I can’t possibly be doing that much of a bad job if I care this much.. right?
They say that if you worry about whether or not you’re a good Mam then that as a stand-alone makes you one anyway and I am starting to realise this holds more truth than most of the other quotes I read or hear about Motherhood.
I made a decision in my sleepy state of moderate consciousness that when I awoke the following morning I would just stop worrying so much despite how difficult things are at the moment; it was more than time to start taking that one little bit of positivity from each long, hard day and focusing on that instead of all of the negatives.
And that is exactly what I have been doing.
Be it a smile, a giggle, a cuddly feed with eye contact which results in a spontaneous skin-to-skin nap or even just a full hour with no tears.
I have been snapping a mental image of that one little moment of divine and absolute happiness and putting it away to save for later, when Kaiber is sleeping and I start to upset myself by thinking he had a really terrible time. I think of that brilliant photo and it is enough to erase all of that and make my heart feel warm and full.
I also decided to take a step back from the internet- my Blog, Facebook and Instagram. I’m not one of these people that sits glued to a device, I’m really not and I never will be, in fact, it’s rare I even bother to top my phone up. It wasn’t that I thought I spent too much time scrolling and not enough time focusing on my baby as I don’t even check my phone when he is awake unless I am taking a photo of him (or twenty), it was more so that I didn’t have that niggling thought at the back of my mind like ‘I need to get something on my blog or my stats will drop or I haven’t posted on Instagram today’ and what a difference that tiny bit of stress unloaded made.
Instead of sitting with Carl when he returned from work feeling increasingly down as the minutes ticked by because I was just thinking of how little time there was until he would be walking back out of the front door, I started to not check the time and just truly enjoy being in the moment. I also opted for sitting with him in those twenty minute intervals of spare time he steals a day as opposed to stressing over how much housework I can squeeze in before I am the only parent to tend to baby. It’s amazing how much closer those little changes brought us.
The most beneficial thing I have actioned over the last few weeks though, is self care.
It’s something I have touched on a few times already and a topic that will probably dominate much more of my writing in the months and even years to come yet it’s something that I do and probably always will forget. Self care is equal to, or more important than self love in my opinion anyway and just one act of it can really mean the difference between a bad day and a better day.
I actually stumbled across something that I have been enjoying above all else recently in desperation during my efforts to get Kaiber to nap in the day. I was so sick at one point that I just chucked him in his pram and walked and walked and walked, I just kept walking. Eventually, he drifted off and it was the first time I was alone with my thoughts, in tranquil peace other than the odd car passing or the birds singing and it felt amazing. To breathe in fresh air after being in the stuffy house for so long, feel it on my face and look up from the exhausted bundle now at peace in the pram just to be met with stunning countryside scenery which I had forgotten was right on my doorstep was exhilarating.
Even though Kaiber was right there with me, I felt freedom for the first time in a long time without having to leave him and it was something I wasn’t even aware that I had been craving. Mostly though, I felt relief at the fact he was finally getting some much needed shut-eye and was waking up in a seemingly more happy and refreshed mood than when he would pass out for the odd ten minute indoor cat-nap. The longer I walked, the longer he slept and, before long, I had established a familiar route which I was walking twice daily all other factors dependant and that is still very much the case.
Not only has it given our days some much needed structure and routine but it has offered something for me to look forward to which I do very much. Of course, I don’t always feel up to walking after a bad night or a rough morning but I force myself out and every time I am thankful that I did. I am starting to even have regular passer-bys who exchange small-talk with me and it’s crazy how much such a tiny bit of adult interaction can impact your day positively. Above all though, I am getting a lot more exercise than I have since becoming pregnant, long before, actually and it is not overrated by any means. Exercise really does release those good endorphins as well as make you feel better mentally and physically.
Don’t get me wrong, we are still very much amidst the war zone that is four/five month old who has switched my perfect little angel baby for this angry one but I am finding it so much easier to cope with now I have made just the slightest of changes. Although not in the clear yet, Kaiber is happier and more content than he has been in what feels like forever and I can’t help but wonder if that has a lot to do with my own mood and the aura, if you will, that I emit or if it’s just coincidence but either way, I am not complaining!
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have that little thing you do for you, be it taking a shower, reading a book, eating something indulgent or going for a stroll whether you do so baby-free or with your little one by your side. It truly can make the world of difference in both yours and baby’s happiness and your sanity!