#MakingOverMotherhood

Next week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week. Bit of a mouthful but nevertheless very important!

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t know anything about mental health issues after birth. I just thought, you have the baby and that’s it! You just have to cope. Anyway, how could you ever feel sad, down, depressed, angry, lost or just nothing while looking after your gorgeous baby? Oh, how I laugh now. I definitely had my fair share of all the above every now and again (and Lord knows sleep deprivation can do scary things to you) but I was lucky to not feel like this all of the time.

Screenshot_20200426-194721_Instagram

So, when I saw that it is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week next week, I wanted to do something. A quick Google and I stumbled upon #MakingOverMotherhood. A social media challenge to raise awareness of Maternal Mental Health disorders and struggles. Everyday, for 5 days, post something that shows what motherhood is really like. The good, the bad and the ugly. It can be something light-hearted that might make someone chuckle or something serious and revealing. It’s up to you. The idea is to end the stigma of mental health issues for mothers.

IMG_20200426_194120_872

As Mothers, it’s very easy to feel like EVERYONE relies on you and therefore you don’t have time for yourself. You don’t have time to be weak because you’re so busy being strong for everyone else. You can’t be seen to be struggling because you might be seen as a bad Mum, a Mum who can’t cope, a lazy Mum, an incompetent Mum. You might not even notice you’re struggling because you don’t have time to take a step back and see that you are. Well, take that step. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do. And if you notice you are, reach out. There is no shame. I truly believe that everybody struggles with something and I guarantee, you won’t be alone and you won’t be the only Mum who thinks the way you do.

IMG_20200426_194447_245

It’s so vital to get help when you need it because (as the old saying goes) you can’t pour from an empty cup. Basically, you can’t take care of others, without taking care of yourself too. Now, I don’t mean going to get your nails done every week or making sure your hair is perfect (unless that helps you feel better). I’m saying practise self care on the regular, be selfish when you need to be, reach out for help even if you think you aren’t desperate for it. Don’t feel guilty (and trust me, I am no stranger to Mum guilt) because fundamentally, you’re doing it for your kids.  You’re taking care of you so they can have the best Mother possible. A happy Mum, a calm Mum (most of the time, I mean, whistles, right?), a Mum who isn’t constantly emotionally and physically exhausted, a Mum they deserve.

Screenshot_20200426-194602_Instagram

Now, I’m not saying every time you have an outburst and scream at your child about playing the baby shark song for 1098th time that day that you need to call the doctor. There are many ways you can reach out for help.
Obviously, during these times, it’s a little different. I can’t reach out to my Mum to watch Olivia for a few hours while I get some work done or just lay down in a dark room for a while. However:

  • Talk to your partner (if you have one). I cannot imagine how I would do this whole motherhood thing, without Steven by my side. I’m so lucky because he is such a good Dad and so supportive. So I know, if I ever need to, I can talk to him about my stress and if he’s home to help, I can ask him to give me a couple of hours. He will happily take Olivia and Cody (because sometimes, he causes me more stress than my human child) out for an hour long walk and give me the house to myself. I cannot tell you how blissful that is. Even if I just need to rant or cry or a cuddle or time he will give it to me. THAT is invaluable!
  • Reach out to family. I know not everyone is on par with their family but maybe you can meet some mummy friends and they can be your family. I am fortunate that my Mum absolutely adores my little girl and would do anything for her (or me). I honestly love having her one town away and I know that if I needed her, she would be here at the drop of a hat (she has done many times before). In the early days of my new adventure into motherhood, she took a week off work to come over everyday and help me with Olivia. Nothing major. She would watch Olivia while I had a shower (absolute heaven), bring me lunch everyday (I love her) and sit with me while we watched TV and chatted (priceless). She didn’t know it but all of these things meant the world to me. Especially when she made me cups of coffee, I could have cried!
  • Mummy friends. I couldn’t cope without my mummy friend, Lisa. It is so worthwhile to have that someone who gets it. Before lock down, we would grab a take away coffee and go for a walk with the babies every week and just talk. Talk about our struggles, our stresses and what crazy stuff the babies have got up to that week and it was so therapeutic. We would then laugh together at how messy our lives have become but how beautiful it all is too. I would come home and feel refreshed (not to mention caffeinated, which always helps) and like maybe I am a good Mum because I’m not alone in this, because someone else is thinking the exact same things as me!
  • Reach out to professionals. Reach out to your GP, midwife or Health Visitor. That’s what they’re there for! They are the superheroes equipped with all the resources and connections to get you the help you need!
  • Baby Buddy App is an NHS accredited app which offers evidence-based information and self-care tools to help parents during pregnancy and early stages of parenting. Best bit is it is absolutely FREE! Download in the app store or click here for more information.
  • If you are in need of immediate help or support call 999, go to A&E or call Samaritans 116 123 (free to call and it doesn’t show up on your phone bill)

Whatever you think you’re going through, whatever you think you’re struggling with, I can guarantee there’s a Mum out there going through the exact same thing. So do the right thing, reach out and talk. If not for you, for your kids.

For a pick-me-up read my Mum-tivation post!

Lock Down Help!
Lock Down Daily Routine For Toddlers
At Home Activities For Toddlers
Best Bedside Books
My Netflix List
Movies Made For Comfort

To see more pictures like this one the regular, follow me!
Instagram: @charlotterose293


 

Advertisements

Keyboard Warrior or Keyboard Worrier?

This week was the first time I rage quit Facebook. I actually got so angry at people on Facebook that I closed the whole app and wanted to completely abandon it. Now, people on Facebook can be annoying and small-minded and, yes, I’ve rolled my eyes and left the app but never felt rage from it. It takes a lot for me to get angry at people. I either can see it from their point of view or dismiss them for being stupid not letting it bother me but this week was completely different.

I saw people getting angry with strangers for taking their toddlers out for walks, for trying to enjoy the sunshine while staying safe and trying to do small things to keep their heads in this chaotic time. Accusing each other of being ‘stupid’, ‘selfish’ and ‘killing 100s of people’ just by stepping out their front door.

Yes, I agree with the government that we should only be going out for essential reasons. Exercise and mental health are essentials. Just being outside for 30 minutes a day has been proven to massively improve mental health. As long as you’re smart about it, it’s okay. Wash your hands, distance yourself from others and try not to touch things if you can help it and stay home completely if you have symptoms or in a high risk category.

lego toy in clear glass container
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

God bless NHS workers but, how are we helping them if we tell people information that isn’t correct or we don’t know? I’ve seen people spreading information like “Corona Virus is airborne” and “breathing in air from your hair dryer protects you” which is all wrong! I’ve seen people defend these claims like their life depends on it.

During these times, people’s businesses, families and lives are being torn apart. People are struggling financially, losing family or isolating from family, some people are stuck inside alone. However this virus is affecting people, one thing that will definitely affect all of us is our mental health. As someone who has suffered with anxiety and depression for 7 years, I am fortunate in that I can detect signs of my mental health getting worse and I have learnt methods to cope with this but some people can’t.

Now, we’re being told that we should only contact our GP if absolutely necessary. Due to the stigma of mental health people will think “I’m not ill-ill. I don’t have symptoms of Corona Virus or anything serious. The doctors are probably too busy”. If you feel this way, please, please, PLEASE, reach out anyway. You won’t be the only one. You’re mental health is just as important as your physical health.

With all this in mind, I urge you to consider what you’re putting online. Are you being a keyboard warrior or a keyboard worrier? During this time we should really be pulling together and lifting each other up. This is one of the most devastating events of this generation and it is affecting everyone. I’m also urging you to only listen to advice from health professionals and rely on the NHS website, WHO (World Health Organisation) website and Government website for the latest information. NOT Social Media.

Use it for good. Post things you think will lift people’s mood or things that you think might be helpful to people during this time. Passive aggressive statuses saying things like “People are such morons!!! *angry face*” aren’t helping anyone. I understand people use social media as an outlet to complain and vent but I cannot tell you the amount of people I have muted because of content like that. I don’t need to be exposed to negativity like that. I may love them, I may consider them a dear friend of mine but my mental health comes first. I know seeing that post is going to make me feel down and then seeing another one and then seeing people complain about bulk buying and calling each other idiots and I’m going to feel worse and worse and worse.
This is the last thing we all need.

So #BeKind and (to quote High School Musical) we’re all in this together.
This is a rubbish situation so don’t make it worse, make it brighter!

Lock Down Daily Routine For Toddlers

Here in the UK, we have been told that, as of this week, we are on lock down. This means we are to stay in our homes as much as possible and only leave for essential reasons. The introvert in me wants to celebrate but the mother in me dreads this time. How do people cope with their kids at home all day, every day. I can’t be the only one that is filled with the anxiety of the thought. Maybe this is the time we’ll be sympathetic to people who commit family massacres. Well, have no fear! I’m here too share our daily routine to make things a little more bearable during these hard times.

I always find routines (especially with children) make the day go faster, more fun and far more peaceful. Children thrive in a routine as they know what to expect to happen when (and let’s be honest, we could all use that in the uncertainty that we’re all living in now). It also ensure you can fit everything you want to into the day and be productive. I always find that being productive really helps my anxiety as my mind is distracted and it’s something small I can control during a situation that is totally out of my control.

So, here is our daily routine. My daughter is nearly 18 months old (just for reference). I hope this is helpful to you mummas right now, feel free to tweak the schedule any which way you like.

My Morning Timeline (1)

If you don’t have a dog, you can use this time for a walk around your neighbourhood or outside play in your garden. Either way, I think it’s really important our little ones get some fresh air.

Also, you may think that is a lot of time for ‘Free Play’ but we break up this time with: singing songs, reading stories, imaginative play and I let my daughter do her own thing while I watch her and drink my morning coffee.

I hope this was helpful to you! For ideas for “Planned Activity” you can read my blog post At Home Activities For Toddlers. You could also check out Easy Easter Brownies as something else to do with your slightly older children.

Stay safe and watch this space for more content during this tough time. Stay strong mummas, click this link if you need some Mum-tivation!

Thank you for reading!


Follow me on:
Instagram: @charlotterose293
Twitter: @Cook293

You Can’t Bubble Bath and Candle Your Way To Self Love

After the devistating news of Caroline Flack hit the media this week, my social media has been bombarded with #BeKind and Self love content. I would like to clarify I 100% support the #BeKind movement however a lot of content advising people about self love is unhelpful.
As I scroll through my feeds, I see beautifully illustrated posters informing people how to achieve self love like: have a bubble bath, light your favourite candle, make a cup of tea, meditate, drink water and get some sleep. While this is all very good advice for SELF CARE, this will not help you achieve SELF LOVE.

self love 4

Self love is accepting yourself for who you are. No exceptions. It’s the art of being kind to yourself. I say an art because it’s more of a skill than you think. Everyone has that voice in their head telling them “You’re not good enough” or “Why are you so pathetic?” or even “You don’t deserve to be happy” and some voices might be louder than others. Self love is recognising that voice and turning your thoughts around. It’s harder than you think because we have such a nasty habbit of being cruel to ourselves. We would never say these things to someone in real life (I hope) or if we heard someone saying this to somebody else we would think it was incredibly cruel, so why do we talk to ourselves in this way?

self love 3

As someone who struggles with these voices (some days are louder than others), I am trying my hardest to turn them around. I’ve noticed they come more frequently since becoming a mother. I think this is because being a good Mum is so incredibly important to me. I constantly think, as long as I’m a good Mum, nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if I’m struggling, it doesn’t matter if I haven’t had 10 seconds to myself and it doesn’t matter if people judge me for being a stay-at-home Mum (and boy do they!). This means, as soon as Olivia has an ‘off’ day or is grumpy, I instantly hear those voices. “You’re a rubbish Mum”, “You can’t do anything right”, “You’re her Mum and you can’t even make her happy”. This is when I have to stop my train of thought, notice I’m being harsh on myself and turn it around. “You’re not a rubbish Mum, she’s clean and healthy. You’re doing fine”, “There are kids much worse off than she is”, “She’s just having a grumpy moment, it’s nothing you’ve done”.

It’s hard to reverse bad habits as anyone who has tried to quit smoking, cut out sugar or stop biting your nails, knows. It’s even harder to reverse bad mental habits. Especially when you don’t even notice them happening.

selflove2

A lot of these voices can be prompted from Social Media. Seeing perfectly sculpted and airbrushed models and comparing your body or seeing that person’s ‘perfect’ life and comparing yours, can make you feel fat and ugly or like your life is a mess or not good enough. One woman you should follow to break up your ‘perfect’ feed and inject it with realness and self love is Chessie King! She promotes a lot of body confidence, healthy habbits, self love and anti-bullying. She is such an inspiration on how to keep smiling through this messy life and enjoy it! She is planning her wedding at the moment so I’m loving watching her process on how to enjoy wedding planning rather than getting stressed. Not to mention she recently became a Doula too. She’s just incredible.
So definitely follow @chessiekingg on Instagram!

chessie
Chessie King @chessiekingg on Instagram

 

So please remember to #BeKind to others but also remember it’s equally important to #BeKind to yourself!

Images taken from Pinterest.