Often a taboo subject but lets face it, as parents we often find ourselves burned out and it’s no wonder we feel ashamed about it considering the endless number of ‘perfect families’ we see on social media. Lockdown and social distancing have majorly intensified our experience as parents and although lockdown may be officially over, our minds haven't quite recovered yet. Say hello to a term we've coined 'Post Lockdown Blues'.
Prior to lockdown, the effect of your favourite influencer baking cookies, creating arts and crafts and cooking up the perfect nutritious meals for their little ones, had minimal effects on your psyche. However, lockdown has really amplified our own feelings and lack of self-worth. You now find yourself wondering how these IG mums find the time or energy to be perfect when you can't even get your child off the iPad for ten mins and its the fifth day running of chicken nuggets for lunch.
You find yourself in a vicious cycle, trying everything you can to be ‘the best parent’ ever, to then finding yourself crashing because your overworked, burned out and have had no time for yourself.
Social media can not only have you doubting your abilities as a parent but it can single handedly destroy your confidence in every single way possible. Its time we bring down the notion that we are somehow ‘failing in life’ if we are not super successful, beauty queen mums, with an insatiable fitness regime, always looking perfect from our lashes down to our painted toes. Not forgetting the expectation that our kids need to be impeccably dressed with manners befitting royalty.
The worst part is, you miss those care free days. You wonder where all your passion for life has gone. You feel drained from giving to everyone around you and it probably doesn’t help that your drinking 10 cups of coffee a day.
You’ve probably searched Google endlessly trying to find online support and find yourself inundated with the phrase ‘this too shall pass’. The thing is, when emotions are heightened and your dealing with your seventh tantrum of the day and its only 11am, ‘this too shall pass’ feels like a knock in the teeth. It hurts not being able to be the best version of yourself and give your kids the best of you. So we want you to know we hear you, we support you and you’re doing great.
So how can we boost our self esteem, improve our life and as a result, improve the lives of our little ones:
• Remember you can’t drive on an empty tank
You have to look after yourself. As much as you think its a luxury, it’s really not, its a necessity. If it’s not possible for someone to take care of the kids for a few hours, then make a point to take some time out for yourself throughout the day. Go and buy that face mask, put your favourite music on, run a bath and just unwind. If you can’t get child care, dont expect the kids to cooperate because they will scream that they need to use the toilet as soon as you start to unwind in that beautiful bubble bath you have dreamed about since they were newborns. So try to have reasonable expectations and take short interval breaks periodically throughout the day.
• Rewind & Chill
If you’ve been dealing with some serious adversary battles with the kids, then its time to sit them down and rewind the clock. It works best when you actually act out rewinding a huge clock and say its time to start fresh. At the least, it will give the kids a good giggle, and at the most, it will strengthen the bond between you and your little ones, allowing you to enjoy a nice morning/afternoon together. Every time your faced with difficult behaviour just take out your imaginary clock and rewind. Simple. You’ll soon find the kids bringing out the clock all by themselves.
• Pick your battles
It’s not life or death. No they won’t turn into a serial killer because they didn’t share their toy when you asked them to. Life is a lot more serious now with kids, but take it easy, they are just kids after all. Be consistent, implement rules but don’t correct every behaviour that you deem unacceptable. After all Rome wasn’t built in a day.
• Put everything on hold
Yes I said it, leave the breadcrumbs on the kitchen floor, buy some paper plates. Make at least one day a week chore-free so that you can actually get some me-time, or do some other tasks that will feel like you’ve accomplished something. Better yet, just put on Netflix or Disney with the kids. Go to Mcdonalds and grab a bite, what the heck, throw your hands up in the air whilst going through the drive-through, like you’re on a rollercoaster. Pretend you’re one of the kids for the day, live a little and you might actually start having some fun.
• Stop beating yourself up
You’re a human, with complex emotions. Donkey couldn’t have said it any better, we are all ‘onions’ we have lots of layers. Yes some days you sound like a screaming banshee, other days you’re a hippy loving, chilled out, humanitarian. These moods, feelings are all apart of you. To paraphrase Rumi, welcome them, embrace them all as everyday is a new arrival. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
You are so much more than your present mood, you have so much more to give. Lockdown and isolation have presented us with some huge challenges, and lets face it, it really is well… isolating. Things have changed, and will keep changing. This whole stay at home thing may be here for a little while. Lets work on our inner selves so that when the time comes and we are back to normality, we can do this thing called life with more appreciation, understanding and a more compassionate perspective.
Love & Light,
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