Running on empty

Being a mummy is, for me, the most amazing, precious gift I have received. I adore my three children with a boundless passion. I put them first in pretty much every thing I do and I think about them constantly. I guess that is what motherhood is, right?

However, sometimes I just wish for a little more time to myself. Sometimes, I'd like to curl up on my bed and sleep....sleep until I wake naturally, not until I hear a cry or murmur from another room. Sometimes, I'd like to have a day completely to myself, when I don't have to think about sorting laundry, emptying the dishwasher, cooking, cleaning sinks, setting out school uniform.

I know these thoughts are due to my current exhausted state but they are there, nonetheless, and with increasing regularity. Since my third child was born, I've hardly had any time away from her. I am not saying, in any way, that I haven't enjoyed my time with her. I've actually loved it and feel so privileged. As time races on, I am acutely aware of its passing and whilst I adore and feel hugely proud with each milestone my children reach, I also feel a deep sense of sadness that things are moving so quickly. However, there comes a point when everyone needs and deserves, some proper time off and that does not mean we are wishing time away!

I am in no way being ungrateful for the life I have with my beautiful children. Yet, I presently feel that I am running out of gas. I've been really rather run down lately - urine, ear and throat infections have set me back. However, my circumstances dictate that I have to soldier on regardless. I know and am thankful for the fact that my husband works hard in his career to support our family. Nevertheless, I can't help but envy his time sitting on the train, his time chatting to colleagues about things other than family life, his time spent squeezing in a bit of exercise because he doesn't have a child / children to be responsible for at that point.

I've written before about 'me-time' but taking my own advice and properly switching off seems to be an impossibility. So why do I find it so hard? I guess I worry that things won't get done if I step back for a while. I get anxious, worrying that the children will need me whist I'm not there. I imagine them going out without hats and scarves on a cold day, or not eating properly. Is it just me? Am I totally neurotic? In actual fact, I think many mums can identify with this and the issues we imagine grow and multiply, simply because we love our children so very much and only ever want them to be happy, safe and secure. Protective, nurturing mothers are a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure!

Dangerously though, running on empty is not giving our children, or our partners, the best of us. When I'm tired, make that exhausted, I'm grumpy, uptight and anxious. I'm unable to think clearly and even less able to make reasoned decisions. This is not the mummy my children need, but sadly, it's the one they sometimes see. I try not to let this get me down, yet it makes me feel guilty and pretty inadequate at times.

My awareness of my own needs gets pushed to the back of my mind constantly. I don't have time to languish in my own self pity (neither do I want to). My children need me and all the energy I have is dedicated to them. However, this sometimes brings me close to a state of being a perpetual robot. Someone who just does, without thinking, or being mindful.

Therefore, it feels quite important to begin to make some small changes. Perhaps that class at the gym will be hugely beneficial for me? Maybe seeing a friend for coffee (without the kids in tow), is achievable? Plus, feeling guilty will not be allowed! Me time will enable the best version of me that I can give, because time off facilitates clearer thinking and reflection, thus leaving a less-stressed and happier mother.  

Note to self: You are a wonderful, loving mother but you will not allow yourself to run on empty.



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