Life’s all a balancing act, apparently. We all have busy lives, these days, and many balls that we valiantly attempt to juggle while keeping a cheery and positive demeanour. Sound familiar?
But how do you get the balance right? Seriously, I’m asking for tips here. Because most of the time I feel swamped, like I’m drowning, and I can’t even fit in the lifeboat because the kids are throwing a tantrum in there. Everywhere I turn there’s stuff to do, people to look after and who need attention and not enough time to cram it all into.
It’s not all as gloomy as it sounds. Sometimes I have days that I manage more than I could ever have anticipated. So many chores achieved (that’s extra plus the daily mountain), brilliantly fun games with the children, maybe some baking in a (not often) spotless kitchen. I might even squeeze in a shower, or apply make up too. I am woman, hear me roar.
And then, there are days where nothing gets done. Nada, zilch, zip. Intentions are great, execution is piss poor; because both kids have decided to screech for no reason, or the dog is having a bit of a wild day, or despite the fact I’ve spent the whole damn day racing around attempting to get things done, at the end of the day, I’ve achieved nothing. Nada, zilch, zip.
It only takes a few of those days before I feel utterly overwhelmed and defeated. The self doubts set in. I berate myself harshly. Tears are shed, usually irrationally. The days feel like endless gloom, with a bit of bleak tossed in as well. I realise that I haven’t shared my time equally. One of my many loves will have been compromised in the midst of the madness, and the guilt sets in. I’m not doing this right. Maybe I’m not but out to be a mum. They all deserve better than me. Etc.
I find it so difficult when this hits, because I’ve had depression throughout my life and postnatal depression after my son. And I’m never quite sure if I’m back there, and I need help, or whether it’s a rough patch that will pass. Whether it will pass, or get worse. Whether I’ll hit so low I won’t even notice that I’m seriously ill again. And whether medication would even work, as it didn’t last time (on a separate note, sometimes I conveniently forget that drinking on the medication would no doubt have contributed to this and negated much of the needed affect of the drugs. I chose self medication, and not to bleat on about my alcoholism again but that didn’t go so well. Obviously.)
I think what I need to remember is that every parent has these days too – whether you’re working or stay at home, mum or dad. I don’t think anyone ever warns you of the crippling guilt that is a huge part of parenthood, and how overwhelming it can feel at times. How frustrating it can be to not manage to successfully toilet in peace, let alone tackle the laundry. But I’ll be checking myself, just to make sure that I’m not on a slippery slope. I don’t want to go back there again.
(If you or someone you know have beenaffected by postnatal depression – or any perinatal depression – there is a twitter support group that runs between 8-9pm GMT to talk. It’s called PND Hour, and you can find it on #PNDHour. Also #pndchat is checked daily if you are struggling at any time, so please reach out. And the wonderful founder is Rosey at @PNDandme. The people in there have saved my sanity on many occasions, so please get involved, it’s a wonderful community.)