(Today’s Author is Lou from MWM Kingsteignton)
It’s Thursday evening as I’m sitting down to write this in a short period of quiet time now my ‘smalls’ have gone to bed and before my dinner has finished cooking. The first time today when the house has been peaceful since 6am this morning. It’s now 6:15pm. And now I hear Alice calling down to me – “Mummy, I’m scared, I can’t see in the dark.” In my haste I’ve forgotten to put on her cat shaped night light…
“Silly Mummy” she says to me as per greeting at the top of the stairs and I reluctantly agree, “Yes, silly me”, turn on the aforementioned light (cursing only mildly in my head for my oversight), before tucking her in again, a kiss goodnight and the return down the stairs to where the laptop cursor is waiting patiently.
It’s been a good day today, and a good week too and for that I’m feeling glad. Daddy has been away in Germany with work since Monday night so I’m glad we’ve got through the week without me being driven totally to distraction! There is a sense of achievement in having met all those daily obligations of the school run, making lunches, planning our week of activities and entertaining the small people in my care. All those boxes successfully ticked! And now so close to the weekend, with Daddy returning later tonight, I’ll have my Friday night beer in company instead of just settling down in bed with my kindle at 8pm, which is how the rest of this week has panned out thus far.
I’m grateful to be in a positive and peaceful state of mind aware that this is not always the status quo, and especially since it’s been World Mental Health Day earlier this week. A healthy mind truly is something to be grateful for and should never be taken for granted.
Being a busy working Mum to two young children doesn’t always leave much left of me by the end of the week, I am physically and mentally used up! I am very lucky never to have suffered from a serious mental illness like anxiety or depression but these illnesses have touched many close friends and family members and I am no stranger to the destructive power of mental illness.
We have, I believe, a peculiar cultural stigma still attached to illnesses of the mind, perhaps because from the outside they seem intangible and unseen. We are ready to offer condolences to someone who breaks their leg or has a heart attack perhaps because we can visualise the damage and have an understanding as to the cause and method of treatment for such medical issues. When someone is struggling with mental illness this is not the case, it’s a much more private disease, we are culturally not trained to approach it particularly well. And sometimes mental illness remains very well hidden, not everyone smiling on the outside, smiles internally too.
I’ve had periods this year when I’ve felt unnecessarily gloomy over odd periods, not bad enough to consult my GP but enough for me to make a mental note and mention things to my husband. I have a ridiculously self-critical inner voice which can, if I let it, make me feel rather small and insignificant, or powerless. I compare myself to others too much. I often struggle to remember the good things, concentrating only on the bad and I have had a tendency in the past to try to do too much. Fearing missing out I suppose or fearing not getting the most out of life. Feeling I ought to be doing more, more housework (!), more exercise, more at the weekend for the kids etc, etc.
From time to time, I have to almost force myself to remember those things I have achieved and for which I rightfully ought to feel proud. My husband is very good at fulfilling this role, as his memory is far better than mine. This ‘parenting two young children’ phase will not last indefinitely and thus I ought to recognise small milestones where appropriate. For instance, we longed to have, one day, a workshop in which to build things and we have begun to make this a reality this year. We moved all the bikes, outdoor toy and pram storage into a new shed to make room. Gareth has prepared the existing brick shed for it’s transformation by levelling the floor internally and it’s soon to have a new roof. We’ve brought down some of our tools from the loft and built a simple bench inside, with a vice (I’m still very excited about this part), and I’m looking forward to beginning to build mark one Yoxall go-cart in the near future! (For those who don’t know, I was a cabinet-maker in a previous life, way before children.) This shed project is a great opportunity for us to create something that will see us thorough into the next phase of our parenting journey…whatever that may bring…and if nothing else, there’s a warm(ish), dry, quiet space now at the end of the garden where we can escape to, if the children are driving us crazy!
Another recent discovery of mine, and one that’s helped enormously to regulate my mood and feeling of wellbeing, is aromatherapy. A chance encounter whilst at Forest school led to my first purchase of an essential oil blend since I used them in my teens (to make my room at home smell pleasant, I felt so grown up being trusted to burn candles!) and on days when I’ve felt particularly tired or out-of-sorts the fragrance does seem to really help. It’s called “women’s balance” and I’ve no idea how it works, or whether its all just a rather pleasant placebo aroma, but heck, if it works, I shall keep using it! I’ve a diffuser gadget too, maybe one day I’ll use it in one of my more lively classes and see if the calming affects works on under three’s too! I’m off to bed soon, smelling of lavender and ylang ylang, as I have a date with my kindle. Sweet-smelling dreams everyone 😊
Lou x x x
PS. If anyone is struggling out there and feels they need to talk or contact someone, here are a few links to help, but always tell someone, and if that person doesn’t listen, tell someone else x