You know those videos or memes with ‘different types of mums, which one are you?’ I have always identified more with the hot mess mum. The one who doesn’t know what day it is, forgets the trip money and falls asleep in her tea.
I now find myself in a rather different place. I’ll never be Mrs Hinch, or a crafty mum but I think I’m getting closer to how I thought I’d be. I make myself fill in forms straight away rather than letting them pile up. I (almost) have the morning school run down and I am cleaning and tidying more (Thanks in part to Lynsey Queen of Clean and Mrs Hinch, who I follow on Instagram). I even found myself cleaning the doors and skirting boards the other day! Do you know why I can be more organised? My youngest is getting older – shock horror, it happens, they grow up. Daniel is 4 in December and he’s partially more sensible. He will play independently, watch TV, play with his siblings. Yes he still gets into mischief, needs me, wants cuddles and playing with, as do the others, but the pressure is less on me. He sleeps better. He sometimes comes in during the night or early morning but the disturbance is minimal now. He eats independently. All those things make a difference. There is still stress and chaos – my laundry pile is forever a turnstile of overflowing baskets of varying smells and I regularly injure myself treading on small toys.
Finding my new normal
I remember when I had my first child, Amy and I went to a mother and baby group run by the health visitor. One week we were all sat round and feeling rather miserable as we talked about how our lives had changed and not for the better. The health visitor talked about finding our new normal. I remember feeling slightly resentful about it, I wanted my old normal back, where I got a full night’s sleep and could eat my lunch in peace and I couldn’t see it happening until she left home. It’s only now in recent years where I’ve felt more normal. Our family is complete now so I feel we are a strong unit together, my relationship is more solid now with my husband, and I’m 99% sure we’ll grow old together. Our house is the forever home, even if it’s not completed it’s ours! I’m happy with my work both this blog I’m so proud of and my work as a nurse and midwife. So I feel like I have my normal and I’m happy with it. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine and I’m embracing it.
Depression and Anxiety
I suffer with depression and anxiety, but I feel like it is under control at the moment. It will always be there, lurking in the background but it is something I live with and manage rather than expect to be suddenly cured. It helps now that more and more people are talking about mental health and their own struggles, for that I am extremely grateful. I have started to talk about it more in my online space. It doesn’t make you a weak person, in fact it makes you stronger for coping with it. I take medication and vitamin supplements to help me, which work for me. I don’t feel sad, I don’t cry or feel depressed in the traditional way or perhaps the perceived way, but I get easily overwhelmed, tired and anxious at times. I get irritated and angry when I’m overwhelmed and I go inward. I simplify my life and things where possible. Working in a care home has actually helped, because it reaffirms that life is in fact, short and you should enjoy what you can in life. If I’m feeling overwhelmed and overwrought I try and take a break if I can. I think I know my limitations more now and if you don’t look after yourself you can’t be the best for others. My children make me smile every day, along with driving me crazy, they always manage to make me feel good and the fact that they think I’m amazing mean I must be doing something right.
So really where I’m going with this is, if you’re stuck feeling like you’ll never be more than a hot mess mum, there’s hope for you yet. It does get easier as the children get older, at least with some things. The problems don’t go away, just become different. We have homework horrors to contend with, the older ones stay up later so we have less couple time in the evening and there seem to be ten times more clubs and activities now. I still savour my time alone but I do love my cuddles and sloppy kisses. What do you think, does it get easier? Where are you on the timeline of life?