Wanting so Much More than Survival | My Checklist. June 01, 2017 11:12 6 Comments
I became a mum for the third time 7 weeks ago. Motherhood is very different this time for many reasons; the biggest reason being- it’s number three. Life was already full. I thought we were already at capacity and now we’ve added a mini-human family member into the mix and he’s somehow supposed to slot in. He has.. He’s pretty amazing that way:) The second reason it is so different is that the girls can share in the joy of him and really help me when i need to have octopus hands. The third reason for feeling like motherhood is so different is because I run such an exciting business. (well i think so anyway!) A business that seems to have legs of it’s own, and if i’m honest, sometimes I’m scurrying behind either chasing it’s heels or letting the divide between us grow until i’m too far behind to catch up.. and i wear this extra backpack which carries the fear that everything might just dwindle if I don’t keep up…the terrifying disintegration of everything i’ve worked so hard to build might just disappear in a puff… it’s not true, but it’s crippling none-the-less and add a newborn that needs so much practical love and care into that headspace and you’ve made yourself quite the hot sauce!!
So in an effort to prevent a full on fourth trimester mental meltdown, I’ve devised myself a little self-help checklist and i thought I’d share it with you. Most likely you’re not in my post pregnancy, breastfeeding haze, but perhaps you’ll find one or some useful anyway. I certainly don’t wanna come across like I’m employing these to the max, but they are helping me from ‘dipping’ when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Plus, life is so much more than survival; at times over the past few weeks, survival has been good enough for me, but i want sooo much more...don’t you? So here goes:
Develop LISTENING skills.
To yourself that is. I would’ve thought i was okay at this but it’s totally something i could be better at. I’m learning to know my triggers. For example, yesterday afternoon after a lovely walk home from school with Esmee (my 7 year old) & Espen (my newborn) I was sent into a complete emotional spin. I hadn’t had time to tidy up since breakfast and was navigating the demolishment of the house at the same time as having the same dreaded conversation with Esmee about her needing to go on Netflix (which is fine except for sloth of child that emerges a few hours later.) I failed to recognise that “mess” and this same ol’ boring war with Esmee are major triggers for me. It would’ve been kinder to myself if I listened to my feelings of rising panic instead of being ‘reactive’ and letting them beat me into a pulp of tears. Instead, today as I want to finish off this blog post, Esmee and I are in a coffee shop after school and she has my phone for 30 mins while Espen sleeps. I know that the inevitable untidy corners of my home right now would be totally distracting.
Another thing i’ve started to notice about myself are the critical stories i tell myself, usually about ‘body image’ when i’m already in a bit of a funk. I’m starting to see a pattern here. It must be a ploy i’ve devised in an effort to gain some control in the chaos of life. As a way to regain some control of the impending chaos, there is this hope that when i look in the mirror I’ll be happy with the outcome but rarely or never am, so the body-critical voices have a shot at me. So i’m starting to say things like.. “That’s an interesting thought” instead of personally identifying with it or letting it ground itself, I’m trying awfully hard to speak to myself like I would to my sister or best friend.
Go to Where There is Love and Laughter.
I mean push yourself kicking and screaming to it. One of my all time favourite writers, Napoleon Hill wrote, “the emotion of love, in the human heart and brain, creates a favourable field of magnetic attraction, this causes an influx of the higher and finer vibrations that are a float in the ether.” Oh please can i send higher lovey vibrations up to the ether? Basically, when i’m spending quality time with people that love me unconditionally, like my kids or Jon, my husband, it seems to sap up some the crappy energy. Join this up with some good old fashion laughter (the giddy type you can conjure with your siblings or old friends,) then you’re hopefully on the path to a happier day. One better, is to Laugh AT yourself and not take things too seriously. Gosh, easier said than done, but magic if it happens:) This, for me means i have to ‘plan’ some quality moments, no point waiting around for the spontaneous ones to happen..pizza express vouchers here we come..eh?
Take Time Off Social Media.
Okay I just went off Instagram for 4 WHOLE DAYS. The community that’s been so kind to me and the place that funnels a significant portion of people to my website and shop. I’d heard of people doing this for the likes of lent or my husband for example, has an app that literally won’t allow him on during the day time hours... (the freedom app) what?? Such extreme measures i thought, but last week, my 6 week post-natall mind felt a little wobbly, so it was a bit of an experiment and let me tell you it was like a magic elixir for my mood. Apart from releasing up a ridiculous amount of time, (hours friends, blooming hours,) i also felt free from the constant allure of having to seek out inspiration and ideas, which actually refreshed me. I didn’t want any new information or new inspiration; all i wanted was to feel happy with my OWN life and it was in this space (away from screenland,) that led me to write this blog post.
Assuming I’m already where I Want to be
I love the idea of imagining where i want to be. Not in a way that cripples me from the happiness of NOW, but in the way that I’m programming myself for ‘good things,’ so I’ll be alert to the conversations i need to have, receptive to the things i need to do to get where i want to be. So speaking personally, before Espen was born, i would imagine me wearing jeans and a vest carrying my healthy boy who i knew would be called Espen. He’s in one arm and my other arm is free to care for others or work on my business. A really simple image but has helped me the last few weeks when i feel the weight of the demands of life.
I’ve talked about this HERE when i was sharing on what I’ve learned since starting my own business. An anchoring ritual is something that you do in a time of transition in your life, when everything else seems a bit whirly and unsettled, you can practice these mini rituals and they are actually pretty effective tools in countering anxiety. Some form of movement or intentional exercise has become an anchoring ritual for me. Even now, weeks after giving birth, there is rarely a day when i don’t feel the need to move, by doing a quick workout at home or recently feeling strong enough to go jogging. Believe me, it’s not primarily to shed the pounds, it’s for my sanity! Others, may want to journal or sing or listen to podcasts or take baths or make beer or sourdough like my father does:)
I’d love to make Service to Others one on my list here. I wish it was more of a priority in my life cause i think there is transforming power in it. I’m working on it. Even if it’s merging my passion for healthy plant-based cooking with my passion for ‘eating it’ with friends, I’d love serve others more this way.
Consider Getting Help.
After sharing a little of my struggles, so many of you emailed me telling me to really take help when i can it and if things don’t change, seek out help from my GP. Thank you, i’m totally in the muck of it right now, but life is good; so good and I’m grateful for the busyness. I love life to the fullest and if this was my last day on earth it would be a life well lived, so don’t worry. I’ll be careful though.. Taking time to write this was for me more than anyone else. I want so much more than survival and i'm guessing you do too, hopefully there’s something here for you. Let me know…
Love Reb x