Imagine for a minute that the old TV programme Family Fortunes was on. Les Dennis would be at the helm:
“OK, we’ve got the lovely Avridge Family here from Bolton. So, Avridge’s, we asked one hundred people to name five things that people equated with a good life!”
After some naff jokes about mothers-in-law with slightly sexist connotations, the first answer would come.
“Our survey said…Ding! Kids is right!”
Well, that’s me sorted. I’ve got two of them, a girl aged three and a boy aged one.
“Our survey said…Ding! A loving relationship”
Yep, tick, I’ve got a pretty awesome husband.
“A parrot, Des?”
“A parrot? I can see we’ve got a quirky one here…”
“Having your own place?”
“Our survey said….DING!!!” …
…and so it goes on, dingalingaling. I reckon I’d get every “top answer” in that survey, and I am profoundly grateful for it.
But that doesn’t stop me feeling sometimes like my brain is going to explode.
I’ve always thought of myself as an Organised Person. I love a list – I am a sucker for stationery (anything with gold: give me an EMBOSSED PLANNER and I’m positively giddy) and now have more iPhone note lists than I do contacts. As a recent exercise for this blog (I know how to live), I had a quick peruse of my ten most recent notes – these were the headers:
1. Write blog for Tuesday (which Tuesday?)
2. Teeth (what does this even mean?)
3. Table cloths are provided (profound)
4. Skin-to-skin chat (again, with whom, when, why?!)
5. Adam check bottom teeth (check bottom and teeth or check bottom teeth?)
6. Kitchen kickboards (they’re crap, end of)
7. APPLES (?)
8. Contact Cecile (do actually know what this one is about)
9. Childfree taxcare (that was a special one – imagine, a bit of childfree time while someone dealt with your tax…)
10. Look into relaxation opportunities (you just know that writing it on your phone is going to make it happen, right?!)
What do these lists mean? Why did I write them? And where has the Organised Person gone? It’s like I can almost feel all the different thoughts, plans, must-dos, could-dos, should-dos tumbling out of my head. My poor brain, rather than expanding, contracts and shoves another thought out of the way.
I waddle up and down our stairs at home (I’d love to say walk, but I’m naturally more like a penguin in my gait than a gazelle), holding piles of washing, a mug, a toothbrush and a sticker book. Then I get to the top of the stairs and have no idea why said toothbrush and sticker book joined me on my journey, nor why I made the journey in the first place.
I have four things that I need to return to Amazon. FOUR. Every day I wake up and remember I must print off returns labels. Every night I get to bed and realise I’ve forgotten to do so.
I don’t think this is indicative of some significant mental delay. Rather, perhaps, it’s symptomatic of something more profound: a fundamental shift in the way my brain prioritises my thoughts since having kids.
You see, I can be changing my son’s bum, while playing “shoe shop lady” with my daughter, talking to Siri as I organise the food-shop, making a mental note that we need more Sudocrem and setting the video (I know it’s called something fancy these days but, hey, I’m “retro”) to record more blinkin’ Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures. I can simultaneously intercept a toddler running into a pre-schooler, while cooking dinner, sending an email and putting my shoes on.
And that’s amazing. I am a powerful, brilliant woman. But jeez it’s relentless. The weight of “having it all”. And I lean in, I journal, I plan, I make time for self-care. I know how important it is – it’s what I harp on about to other women all the time, and I can see the transformational effect it can have.
It doesn’t stop me feeling, just sometimes, like my brain is going to explode. That I have so many thoughts about myself, my job, my appearance, my role as a mother (and don’t get my started on comparisonitis), and that’s just me! What about my kids, my husband, my family, my friends?
And that’s why it’s so important to be able to share our feelings, particularly on an online forum where we can “speak” without fear that our friends or family might judge us. Where we can let the explosion happen. Where it’s okay, just sometimes, to recognise your power, and turn it off. That Lamont quotation “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”.
I’m going to try that a bit more – venting, sharing and then unplugging. Before I explode.
Laura is a Mum of two under four, devoted to making other Mums feel amazing. She is a hypnobirthing and music teacher, (she has 12 years secondary school teaching experience), organises mum meet-ups and is a blogger. She loves to work with other women who are helping Mums realise their true power. Laura loves to write and wishes she’d started blogging sooner! She’s also a professional classical singer. She can be found chatting away here, is on Instagram and Facebook.