At the school door yesterday, another mum came over and said she drives past me every morning and thinks "she has her sh*t together". I was really shocked and massively flattered. When I asked why, she said it was because I walk to school with 2 kids and they are on bikes.
The reality is that my youngest has had meltdowns about walking far since he broke his leg at Easter. If we do not take bikes, he has a wobbler and I end up attempting to carry him up the hill after a massive scene. If I drive to school, he also has a wobbler because he has to walk from the car. So this is actually the option where no one cries, including me!
This really got me thinking about our perception of both ourselves and other mums. I honestly thought other mums would look at me and think:
*Never does her hair
*grumpy with kids
Maybe most do haha, but that mum did not!
As parents, we often compare ourselves to others and I certainly feel like I am failing half the time. I think Facebook and instagram are half the issue. Everyone has perfect day trips and fun seasonal activities at home. What the photos do not show is the fight between siblings or the meltdown because they were not allowed to buy a toy in the giftshop.
Let's keep it real! We all have bad days, we don't get it right all the time but we are trying our best!
So I thought I would tell you the story of how I ended up on this glittery sparkly path. Life has changed dramatically over the last 2 years and I was reflecting about all the crazy changes we have had as a family.
so this time 2 years ago, I got shingles.....ON MY 40TH BIRTHDAY. For real, I had to cancel my party and everything and spent 3 weeks in bed in agony off my face on Tramadol and sleeping pills haha. Anyway, lets go back a step....
I was really struggling. Struggling to be a career woman, super mum and a decent wife. I was living in NZ away from family trying to work full time as a Training Facilitator/ consultant, but with 2 small children, one of which was a year old and had never slept through the night. Far from it in fact. I was going to work on a couple of broken hours sleep, downing redbull at 7am and then running a workshop for 50 people. I was going home exhausted, then trying to parent. Most evenings we had to scrub projectile vomit off the cot, the floor, my clothes and the walls. I absolutely dreaded it being night time again. Then I would dread going to work where I felt like nobody understood.
You see my 2nd baby had silent reflux and allergies (although both took us a long time to work out). He was miserable, clingy and screamed all night most nights.
I can not even begin to describe what long term severe sleep deprivation does to you. A MASSIVE shout out to those who have lived it. If you are currently living it, drink wine and know that one day it will be only a memory. We were lucky to get 1 hour unbroken sleep some nights. I can not imagine how I worked at all!! I have to mention my amazing mummy friends who really did so much to keep us sane.
Anyway, so on my 40th birthday I woke up with a wierd rash and a temperature and yes I had shingles! If that isn't a sign that you need to make some changes, I don't know what is!
4 months later, I had resigned, we had moved back to Wales and I had set the business up. I figured if nobody ever booked me, I could get a "proper" job again. I have been so humbled by how well it is going and all the people who recommend me or compliment me on my work. I LOVE my job, the art, the flexibility to also do the school run and the lack of stress.
I am happy to say that my now 3 year old sleeps a solid 11 hours a night and I am actually feeling like a human again. If you know someone who is having a hard time with a sick child or non sleeping one, please do something kind....make them a meal, take them wine, offer to take baby for a walk, even just text them. That kindness can make a huge impact and stop someone shattering into pieces. My very dear friend Jane took us on buggy walks at 8.30am most days. She let me rant, made me smile and sometimes joined me in zombieland if she had also had a rough night. She was my rock. I will never forget any of the kind gestures from my friends (Anne, the meal voucher for an indian takeaway still makes me emotional )
So let's be kind to other mums: sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture after all.
Here is a tutorial I did for my quick on the job butterfly.