Some days I feel like I’m on top of things. I feel like my life is pulling together and I’m on track for contentment. Other days something triggers a dive back into the darkness and I feel I’ve got the whole mountain to climb again. But I am learning. I’m starting to recognise the triggers that knock me down and the things that lift me up again.
5 things that make life manageable:
Its hard to feel like you’re getting enough sleep when you have young children. But little things like a lie in at the weekend courtesy of my Knight it Shining Armour, or leaving the washing up in favour of an early night all help.
2. Planning ahead
It’s tough looking after 2 young children. They need activities to keep them entertained, quiet time for naps and free time to explore their own interests. Too much of one thing and they start to get ratty. Too much of ratty children and I start to feel like I’m losing control and, particularly if I’m lacking sleep, I start to panic.
When I loosely plan my week things are always much easier. I plan a few outings, a mum & toddler group and a meet up with a friend and the week starts to look manageable. If things get too crazy at home, we’ve got something to get out for and people around me to give me perspective.
Not forgetting to plan for a little free time at home too. Too much to-ing & fro-ing and we all get too tired!
3. Vitamin supplements
I have never been a fan of taking supplements, preferring instead to have a balanced diet. But, if there’s one thing that will make you eat lazily it’s having a baby to look after. Pregnancy is also a big demand on the body, throw in 2.5 years of continuous breastfeeding, a second pregnancy and tandem breastfeeding and it wouldn’t be a surprise if I was deficient in some vitamins.
I started taking a “new mother” vitamin supplement every day and within 2 weeks it vastly improved my ability to cope with day to day stresses. B vitamins in particular can have a big impact on mood. Emotions are affected by the delicate balance of chemicals in our brains, so getting sufficient nutrients to maintain that balance is essential for general wellbeing.
4. Doing something for myself
When I live each day solely to care for other people, as rewarding as it potentially can be, I feel lost. I lose my sense of self and begin to disappear, like I am just a shadow watching over my children.
Building in as much time as possible, even just 15 minutes, where I get to do something for me is so important. The best use of this time is when I am creative with it. I sew something, knit or bake – anything that gets a result. To have something to hold at the end of the day, a physical achievement, is so good for the soul. What did I do today? I made this!
5. Being Organised
This is a tricky one. The more organised I am the more I feel able to cope with every day life. But the less able I feel to cope, the less energy I have for maintaining organisation, so it has the potential to spiral out of control. Little things like packing bags the evening before an outing or keeping the table clear to use for meals & crafting sessions can make the difference between an activity being possible or becoming an insurmountable task. Ratty children? Get out the paint pots. If I have to clear the room first it becomes overwhelming.
This is such an important one for me that I felt it needed saying twice!!