The truth is, I've been finding the day-to-day grind of life a bit hard of late.
Every morning I wake up with a smile on my face feeling positive about the day ahead. Our girls greet us bright and early in our bed and I love those cosy cuddles before the sun is up. But then once I'm up and into it, throughout the course of the day I've been experiencing all kinds of negative emotions at different times for different reasons; anger when the kids won't listen, frustration when the house looks like a bomb has gone off (again!), loneliness when I think of my best girlfriends who live hours away etc. etc.
These are all feelings that I know most women and mums experience, but lately the have been getting to me more than usual and I've been upset over the smallest things or snapping at my poor husband for no real reason (bless him -he puts up with a lot at times!)
I think mostly, I've been finding the constant demands of three little girls, on top of my other responsibilities, pretty draining. I love them more than life itself and I wouldn't change the fact that we have them for anything. However, I feel at times that after I give them the love encouragement, support, advice and nurturing they need and deserve, there's not much left in my 'care box' to hand out to anyone else - including myself.
I talk to my mother in law about these challenges a fair bit (I've been blessed with a MIL who is very much the opposite of the stereotypical, painful mother in law often depicted on TV; she's kind, non-judgemental and very understanding. We get along well and I'd be lost without her). As a mother of four and a primary school teacher, I have been the grateful recipient of many a valuable piece of her parenting advice over the years. When discussing with her last week the pressure I'm feeling to give the kids all that they need as they go through their various stages, as well as juggle everything else I need to, she very simply advised to just be there. Give them my time and my love. To maybe stop the dishes for a minute and sit beside them on the couch or put off the computer work for five and have a chat. Basically, she pointed out, our kids just want to feel that they are worthy of our undivided attention and that they are loved. And how right she is! Such oh-so-simple advice but oh-so-easy to forget, confuse and complicate.
Since our chat, I have made a concerted effort to remember this and it's made such a difference to how I am feeling about everything and consequently, to how the kids are behaving and interacting. I think in this day and age it's so easy to get caught up in the 'busyness' of life. We can be so pre-occupied with trying to keep up, we forget that the basics of being present, interacting, communicating and most of all, showing love, can go a long way to solving our problems if we let them.
Being in the moment and trying to approach everything with love and acceptance really modifies the thoughts that enter my mind, the feelings that follow those thoughts and most of all the actions that are the end result of the thought. It's important to let ourselves feel and acknowledge any sad or bad emotions but it's also important to remember we have a choice in what we let guide us and emanate from within. I find that choosing to give in to the love and happiness inside me rather than the negative, I can pull myself through a tough morning with kids or a stressful day a lot more easily. And maybe actually appreciate and enjoy where I am and what I'm doing!
Herein lies the irony of my problem of not being in a place where I could write about self care. For it is during these difficult periods of life when we don't take care of ourselves, that we actually need it most. It's kind of a never-ending cycle; if we are kind to us, take time out and generally look after ourselves, we can much more effectively be there for those who need us with our love, attention and time and if we are there for those who need us with our love , attention and time, we are more likely to feel deserving of our own self-love and care! They really go hand in hand.
So what I have concluded from all of this is that when the road ahead looks bleak or the daily hill climb particularly tough, I need to try to stop and look at each situation from the lightest place possible. See each situation form the most positive angle I can. Definitely acknowledge the crappy feelings but let them pass and always come back to the fundamentals of love and understanding. Give the subject, whether its my beautiful kids, my husband or even a dull chore my presence, time and and love, and what seems quite difficult, becomes easier. Granted, some situations are easier to handle this way than others, but it definitely helps me on some level no matter what I am dealing with.
Now to just keep practicing this simple mindful method and get back to the rosy place where I not only deserve to be everyday, but where I can write that uplifting and enlightening self care blog!