This blog is Day 12 of my 30 days of motherhood blogging challenge. Every day, for 30 days, I’m sharing diary-style snippets of my life as a working mum to one cheeky toddler. Consider this part creative experiment, part self-therapy. Feel free to play along at home! You can read days one to 11 here.
Zoey slept in until 6.30 am this morning! Progress. But poor Tom turned his 5.20 am alarm off (instead of on snooze) and we fell back asleep until 6.15 am – we both needed that extra hour but I suppose having a toddler-alarm-clock has its perks for getting Tom to work on time.
Today has been a pretty slow day for me. I was feeling emotional last night – every now and then I push myself too hard (on the work and motherhood front) and hit a wall. I guess you could say I had a mini mama meltdown – think tears of exhaustion and feelings of overwhelm.
In hindsight, what I should have done was order takeout, plonk myself in front of an uplifting Netflix show and go to bed early with a good book. Instead, I cried on Tom’s shoulder and tried to solve all the problems in the world (including, you know, climate change). Tom tried to help, but I think I was beyond all rational thought – I just needed to go to sleep and start a new day.
When I woke up this morning (feeling like a new person), my first thought was – “I need a meltdown prevention toolkit!”. Haha, a strange thing to think, but let me explain…
I came across this concept on the Kylie Camps podcast. In an episode aptly named Mum Guilt, Losing Your Shit and More, Kylie (mum of twins) revealed that she has a mental checklist of quick and easy self-care wins that make her feel better during times of stress. I think she used examples like running her wrists under cool water and taking deep breaths – classic calming techniques that seem so simple yet when you’re in a chaotic moment, are easy to forget.
I like this concept – so much so that I want to take it even further. I want more than just a mental checklist, I want to create a proper physical toolkit filled with some of my favourite things that I can open on nights like last night, where I’m need of some serious switch-off time. Like a good book, a beautiful journal and pen, a scented candle, some affirmation cards, maybe even a sneaky chocolate stash! It sounds elaborate, but I think it would be a nice reminder of all the things that help me de-stress. Maybe Tom could even be brave and pass it to me in the middle of one of my monologues!
Whether I create a physical toolkit or a mental checklist, what I’m really trying to do is remind myself of the importance of downtime. I need some prompts to rest and practice self-care because I don’t do it automatically. I always think I have the energy to squeeze in just one more thing – just one more blog post, just one more email, just one more tray of homemade muffins (seriously). I enjoy the thrill of being busy and productive, but I forget how important it is to rest.
If you’ve been following this #30daysofmotherhood writing challenge, you might have noticed that I haven’t taken a full day off work since starting (I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t turn on my laptop all day). It’s a bad habit. I call it a habit because that’s what it feels like – something I do without even thinking. If I’m presented with a few free hours, I often choose to send a few work emails or write a few drafts, and then before I know it, all my free time has disappeared. I work hard because I’m ambitious and I enjoy my work and I love over-delivering for clients. I like to think I offer a pretty rockstar service and go above and beyond on the regular.
But, because my clients are all lovely people (some might even be reading this blog), I know that the best way I can continue to serve them to the highest standard is to look after myself so that I can continue to deliver my best work. It’s up to me to make sure I put boundaries in place that allow me to rest and recuperate, so my brain is sharp and my copy is stellar.
Getting enough rest is also one of the best gifts I can give to Zoey and Tom. If I’m well-rested, I’m a better mother and partner. They both need me to be vibrant and energetic far more than they need homemade muffins!
Most of the time, I’m pretty good at striking somewhat of a balance, but every now and then I have a little mama meltdown and I need to hit the reset button. I suppose they’re useful in that sense and the only collateral damage is a ‘wasted’ Thursday night where I could have been doing what I needed to do most: relax!
So, that’s where I’m at today. Sorry, not much Zoey news to report – she went to daycare and I still worked today (it wasn’t quite a big enough meltdown that I wanted to take the day off!).
What I’d love to know is, what are your strategies and prompts for reminding yourself to relax? What quick and easy self-care wins could I begin to incorporate into my week – if not my day?
I would love your tips and advice on this one!