Are You Stuck in a Rut?

Are You Stuck in a Rut?

Scrolling through social media can be soul-destroying at times. It’s not just the celebrities who seem to be having a better time than you but somehow all your friends, colleagues and those random people you don’t even know who regularly pop up in your Facebook feed thanks to all the groups you joined.

It’s not just jealousy over another far-flung holiday and wishing you still looked that slim in a bikini, it’s more than that. It’s their achievements, their progress and that baffled awe you feel when you try and work out how on earth they managed it all while still being a mum. Sometimes it’s not even an amazing career but just a new pursuit that seems to bring them immeasurable happiness and fun new friends and time away from the kids doing something for themselves. Why does that all seem so unattainable?

Stuck in a rut

If you’re nodding along then you are not alone. It is so common to feel this way but the problem is letting it slide and doing nothing about it. It’s pretty unlikely anyone is going to knock on your door with the solution and if a courier does call, it’s probably another parcel for your neighbour.

When Laura posted in The Motherload® group on Facebook asking for advice, she never expected to get such an encouraging response from women who had already made a change in their lives.

She wrote: “So over the last few months I’ve been assessing my life and I’ve realised that over the last 5 years I haven’t really achieved much for myself. I’m in the same job, no progression or real development, same routines, same fight to get slimmer/fitter, same activities – everything feels bland. I feel a little lost, like I don’t have any real goals or ambition any more and I’m just floating from day to day. I just feel so stagnant, but yet full of life? For inspiration, what things have you achieved over the last few years that you’ve felt proud of? I need to get out of this rut, I need to take some risks and actually feel like I’m living and not just existing!”

Ask the MOLOs

Here are just a few of the answers!

1. If your work doesn’t spark joy then make like Marie Kondo and get rid.

Rebecca said: “I quit my job. I went back to university to do my PGCE and I now have a new career as a teacher. Make the leap and do what makes you happy.” Stephanie agreed and her new job with fewer hours and lower pay has led to another life change too: “It’s a lot less stress and I’m happier and healthier and so are the kids because I have time to prep meals instead of just going with convenience food.”

2. Take an evening course or retrain

Louise left office life behind after taking an evening course with flowers. She said: “I retrained then worked for lots of other florists and set up on my own 6 years ago and I’ve never looked back. Life is too short!” Wendy also started her own company and has no regrets: “I built a business from scratch with no financial investors and a tonne of hard graft. I now employ three others, work in the industry of my dreams and have a healthy work-life balance doing a job I adore with my whole heart. Change is scary but take a leap of faith!”

3. Find a hobby

You may not want to switch jobs but perhaps you’ve realised that your other half has a hobby they get time out to do and your children have a packed schedule of play-dates and extra-curriular activities but all you play is Taxi Driver. So what class could you go to?

Dance has been a saving grace for many MOLOs including Gemma: “I am about to take Grade 4 ballet and my intermediate modern exam. I turn 40 this year and never had the build of a dancer, certainly not after having 3 children!” For Sarah, it was pole exercise: “ I have no rhythm and not a sexy bone in my body but it was so empowering. It did wonders for my body very quickly and I met some lovely girls of all shapes and sizes who support each other.” Laura took up modern burlesque to boost her confidence. She said: “It worked! I performed among some amazing people in a charity gig. Try something new that makes your tummy flip, something just for you and believe in yourself!”

4. Getting fit

Fitness is a popular way of getting some time to yourself and it can do wonders for your mental and physical health. You don’t even need gym membership. Hayley said: “I did Couch to 5K then built up to running two half marathons and a marathon!”

5. Appreciate what you have

Appreciating what you do have is important too as Amy was keen to remind others: “Don’t underestimate ‘normal’ or ‘mundane’. I was diagnosed with MS two years ago and now nothing is normal or simple. However it has made me a little selfish so I took up a screechy instrument! I now play saxophone in a soul and Motown band.”

What next?

Recognising that you are stuck in a rut is the first step, according to MOLO Kat. She advised: “Now is the exciting yet scary time of working out what to do differently. Ask yourself questions like what would I do if I had nothing stopping me? What did I used to love doing? What would I like to try? Just try new things and see what sticks.”

When she posted her question, Laura had no idea there would be such overwhelming support and so many ideas to get her brainstorm started. It was reassuring to know there were also so many mums who felt the same way. She replied: “I hope this post enables us all to recognise and acknowledge the wonderful things we do with our lives and to give ourselves a pat on the back and to share a moment of pride.”

The discussion did the trick too, stirring Laura into action. She added later: “I have started Brazilian Jujitsu and booked piano lessons and I’ve also started looking for a new job. Such a wonderful bunch of inspirational women!”

Jill Misson

Broadcaster, writer and mum of two girls.

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