So I am having a rather shitty mummy day today and all of my plans have gone tits up!
Being a single mum to an 8 year old is difficult. Sometimes, I think it is more difficult than being a mum to a baby- whose needs are mostly physical. Though both come with their challenges.
Dealing with an emotional pre-teen is heart wrenching, frustrating and downright overwhelming. And today I am feeling like crap.
I had my whole day planned while Josh was at school. PT session first thing then lovely walk with the dog then all my scheduling for the week and getting back to clients and working on my videos and emails- an office day. But really I just needed some ME time. Some time on my own to focus and feel good outside of dealing with someone else’s needs.
Josh refused to go to school this morning, complaining of a ‘sore tummy’. He wasn’t at school on Friday either. He didn’t have a sore tummy on Saturday or Sunday so I really think he is just faking it.
I consistently fight with the battle in my mind between believing him and wanting to care for him in his ‘hour of need’ to upholding him as a human being and ensure he follows through on what is good for him- which in this case was to go to school.
Today, I got so angry and upset I actually wanted to run away. I wanted time and space to myself. When your 8 year old becomes this clingy, you begin to feel suffocated.
What did I actually do?
I know in these times of stress that I could have turned to chocolate or other snacks (my usual anti-depressant) or I could shout and scream at him (which I really wanted to do so he felt punished and bad for what he did) but what I know I needed was to breath and bring myself back to me- the caring, loving and compassionate mum and human being (not the raging green hulk like monster that was trying to break free!)
I put Josh to bed with no distractions (no toys, TV, laptop) and told him to go to sleep and to not disturb me for an hour- this is what he would be doing if he was actually sick anyway- sleeping.
During that hour I went into my room on my own and I sat on my bed and I just breathed (keeping my first finger and thumb connected to ensure I was breathing deeply) and I did this for about 10 minutes until the angry feeling lessened.
I then decided to squat! I just did about 30-45 squats in my room, up and down and took a few seconds in between. Once I got my heart rate up a bit more I swung my kettlebell for about 60 reps and then did some crunches… keeping my mind on what I was doing and not my problems.
By the time the hour was over I felt so much better, so much calmer and more objective.
Josh and I have since talked about the situation more calmly and I am able to deal with his emotional state.
Things do not go as planned when you are a mum. Being a mum is difficult and challenging. However, being a healthy, energetic and strong mum (emotionally and physically) makes it easier.
Having tools and strategies, that do not include food and wine, in your ’emotional’ toolbox can make things less stressful. Coping strategies that are linked to eating or self medicating with antidepressants and wine will lead you on a downward spiral of overwhelm and depression.
There is hope. There ARE things you CAN do. But the most important thing to know is that all mums feel this way at some point. You are not alone.