Why mums shouldn’t feel bad about putting themselves firstApril 11, 2016
I’ve had an eye-opening week on the health front. After feeling rubbish (tired, like ‘I could sleep right here’ tired, nauseous, weak and achy) for a while, I finally got myself to the doctor’s, promptly cried while explaining my symptoms, and was ordered for blood tests. I know what you’re thinking… I did a pregnancy test first!
Turns out I had glandular fever WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT. Simply because I was too busy running around like a maniac, working on my ‘day job’, taking on new worky challenges, saying yes to more freelance than I should, and not sleeping because Phoebe wasn’t sleeping. In short I was burnt out. Actually, forget the past tense, I’m still burnt out. I’m shattered, and need a nap.
I’m a firm believer that babies should – as far as possible – fit into your life, and not the other way around. The airplane analogy pops up again and again; when the plane is going down, fit your own oxygen mask before helping others. And I couldn’t agree more. You can’t give your best if you’re not your best.
Speaking personally, I haven’t been able to carry Phoebe much recently because I’ve been really weak, I’ve been more irritable because I’m stressed about work, I’ve been weepy because I’m tired. Basically, not exactly delightful company, and not my usual self at all.
So now what? Saying no to things that don’t float my boat, and saying yes to early nights, good food and accepting (and asking for) help. I need a few weeks of taking it easy or risk getting post viral fatigue, which is a bitch to shift and I’ll be no good to anyone.
Michelle Obama has said, “A lot of times we slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. One of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.” Yes, Michelle, yes.
It’s not being selfish, it’s making sure I can be the best, most patient, loving and productive wife/mum/bosslady possible, so that might mean I won’t reply to every non-essential email straight away for a while, or am staying in a bit more than usual, or turn down work that I might have previously begged for. And that’s okay – and I won’t feel guilty. At least, I’ll try.
Kids learn happiness from watching their parents, and if I’m knackered and foul, no-one benefits. We need to make sure we’re happy so we can help create a positive, vibrant life for our families – and if mum isn’t happy, no-one is happy. And no-one likes a martyr, anyway.