“F*k sake Mummy. Why do we say f&*k’s sake?” Molly asks innocently as we are driving home one day. The husband and I look at each other, slightly horrified, trying to stifle our laughter.
“We don’t say that Molly, it’s not very nice,” I try to explain. “Who says that? Where did you hear that?”
“But Mummy, you do. You say it. All the time, in the morning.”
Gulp. (The husband thinks this is hilarious. Especially the fact that he has escaped blameless).
This little encounter just about sums up the last few crazy weeks. Weeks in which we sold our house. Weeks in which a broken memorandum of understanding forced us into storage for a while before finally making the move to the new one. Weeks in which I’ll admit to feeling overwhelmed and pushed to my edge. Weeks in which sleep has been extremely broken (although that’s really nothing new.) Yes, I’ll admit, in the last few weeks quite a few F bombs have probably been dropped on my part.
Over the last month or so, nothing really went to my well-oiled plan. Schedules were pushed, tempers flew and tears were shed. We ended up moving in just days before Christmas, surrounded by boxes and half finished rooms, thankful for friends who put up with us all (and Henry singing at 4am) while we waited (not at all patiently) to get our keys. Stress creeped its way into the hinge of my jaw, my neck, my shoulders. I turned into a kind of frazzled, crazy person.
Looking back now, I know I didn’t cope very well with the upheaval. Running on caffeine and broken sleep meant I was moody and extremely stressed out. Any slight air of yogic calm disappeared completely out the window! Any sense of presence was replaced with pre-empting scenarios and conjuring up imaginary stresses. If it wasn’t a stress before it happened, I made sure to make it one. I snapped at the husband. I shouted at Molly. I wasn’t myself. And in the midst of it all, there were times that I wondered if I was really cut out for this whole parenthood malarkey. The stresses just seemed magnified with two little ones in tow!
You’re probably reading this and thinking, so what’s the big crisis here? You have a wonderful new home and a fantastic wee family!! And heck yes, you are completely right!
To be honest it took me to have a slight mini breakdown before I could start to put all this in perspective. My ‘breakdown’ was sparked by the sale of a sofa (a long story better told over coffee and cake) and Henry having a small tumble and knocking his head. He was absolutely fine and all smiles within 10 minutes. I, on the other hand, was a blubbering mess.
I did the best thing I could think of. I phoned my Mum. For half an hour I ranted about the fact that I thought I was a crap mother. That I was too preoccupied. That I couldn’t cope with everything that needed to be done. That I didn’t have enough time for myself. That I was too fat. That I was too exhausted. That my body was too sore. That I didn’t see when life would start to get back on an even keel.
Man. It all came out!
And after all the tears had been shed and Mum said all the things that Mums are so good at saying, I felt so much better. Like I could finally see the darn wood through the trees again.
Yes, sometimes it takes us to get bowled over before we can get back up. It takes us to stop to realise we don’t have to do all this sh*t in a day – especially if it means we might end up completely frazzled in the process. To be ok with the fact boxes might have to sit unopened, unemptied. (Oh, I find that so hard!) To understand that things can’t and won’t always fit in neat, tidy order. (Also, extremely hard.)
Shortly after all this chaos I taught my first yoga class after 9 months away in a body not quite what it used to be. Acceptance was my theme – instead of always thinking that something has to change – your wobbly bits, your job, your life – what can you accept right here? I realised that while I stood there leading the flow; that this bloody hard practice of acceptance had to start with me. All too often, we beat ourselves down, feel guilty over time spent by ourselves, our kids, not with our kids – every day can be a battle if you let it. And for a while there I had let this very battle reign supreme.
You’ll be glad to know I’m feeling less of a crazy person these days. Although I still have my moments. But for now, life is slowly starting to settle just a fraction. So here’s to regaining control. And also letting go of control. And learning that I can’t control everything. Here’s to taking a darn breath and accepting we’re not superhuman beings. We’re just normal people doing our very best!
Are you with me?
“I may not be the strongest. I may not be the fastest. But I’ll be damned if I’m not trying my hardest.”