My next blog post was going to be about self care. But each time that I tried to start writing it, I felt a bit weird. I couldn't figure out why. Then it hit me; I haven't been feeling very worthy of the privilege of self care lately, so how can I successfully write an uplifting, enlightening article about it? The answer - I can't.  So instead I've decided to write an open and honest piece on how I've been feeling.

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!




28/03/2015 11:53am

Such a lovely piece Leah. Yes we all feel overwhelmed or what ever lable you think best describes your feelings and I to try to put the dishes down or forget about the washing for 15min and just play and enjoy my kids. We can create alot of our own struggles and you have just reminded me that I can also solve them and make my home a happy one. Thanks for the reminder.

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this piece of writing brings to mind a saying of Wayne Dyer's I love -'When we change the way we look at things the things we look at change' and the power of the mind over our emotions and feelings. Found it a positive advantage in my outlook in life. Mindfulness is also so important and we are living in such a fast paced world where we are constantly thinking of the next thing we must do rather than enjoying the current one we are doing. So true about giving time to children who just want to be acknowledged and appreciated and other tasks always wait (cos no one else comes along and does them!!).

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BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you so much for your honesty, and for presenting it so well. You brought a tear to my eye, and a wonderful reminder of what I needed to hear at this time. Thank you so very much kind soul xoxo

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Oh gosh...this is just what I needed tonight.
THANK YOU so much.

29/03/2015 2:37am

There is nothing better than a blog post written from the heart Leah.
I read a book some years ago called " Peaks and Valleys" by Spencer Johnson M.D. - a truly wonderful book which helps us "superwomen" and givers out there understand that sometimes we have to be selfish ... we have to care for ourselves.
I have a mantra I say daily and it goes like this, as I too have had my struggles. "I am whole, I am healed, I am healthy, I am loved, I am worthy, I am ENOUGH" ... ANOTHER beautiful piece of writing from the heart. Your blog will be so successful because you keep it real, never lose that to become just another "guru"
Love and Light xx Karen

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Great advice Leah something I struggle with but the value of "just being there is surprisingly energizing when I try it

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