“GETTT UPPPPPP!” Goes the screech from the 3 yo. “GETTT UPPP MUMMY! MUUUMMMMY!”
You feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.
You pry open your eyelids. Just. It’s still dark. Surely, it’s not morning. Well it is somewhere in the world. But this time never existed as morning, prior to having kids. Unless you had been up all night, partying.
Oh wait. You have been up most of the night. But no partying involved. Up to console the 3 yo and her bad dream. Then up to help the baby go back to sleep, after waking for the third time. For who knows what reason this time.
You have the urge to scream yourself. Maybe you do scream. You have before. But you bury it down this morning. Your voice disabled by fatigue.
You wonder how you’ll manage through another day. Without yelling. With your sanity in tact.
Someone said parenting was joyful right?
And it is. Sometimes. But there are many moments in between. Those moments when your heart aches, when those tears sit at the top of your cheeks. When your baby says “I ‘uv Vu Mummy” for the first time.
When she finally closes her eyes down at night and then she is the most angelic being that has ever existed in the history of the earth.
Then, that time, when she hit her sister, with vitriolic rage. The fire truck firmly planted down on your little baby. You have no idea where your own rage, bubbled from, that day. The urge for you to hit back. The yelling. Wondering how a child so loving, can be so capable of hurting too. Then the guilt for you yelling at your child. Reverting back to your childhood self, within the blink of an eye.
I’m hear to tell you Mumma, you’re not alone. Parenting is blissful, crazy, funny, bone achingly exhausting, challenging. The most guilt inducing, alarming, beautiful and meaningful experience you will ever have as a human being.
But. Don’t forget about you. To be the best parent you can be, you need to think of yourself. And if you don’t even know where to start in reconnecting with yourself, reach out. Find a friend. Find a mental health professional. Find a parenting group.
Here are some words from a real life Mumma, who found a new version of herself, after finding support:
“Today I was in the shower reflecting on my life and the great place I am in and literally could trace it back to that first session of the parenting group.
You asked us what we all do to fill our cups. I remember feeling overwhelmed with anxiety at the realisation that I had nothing to say.
And then once I started to talk it became real sadness.
I have spent the better part of 4 years feeling like I had lost me. I know it is something that so many Mums go through, the loss of identity. The loss of self. I felt really one dimensional.
I was given some wonderful tools to use with my girls and put a lot of stuff into perspective and least of all made me realise I am not at all alone in my struggles. What I did not expect was what happened next. So I think I said I would join a Yoga class. Well I joined an affordable gym and in May Weight Watchers. Now, I go to the gym 5 times a week (I even run and I hate runnings guts), I have lost 15kg and started a Degree in Early Childhood!! I still have a way to go in my Weight loss and fitness goals and obviously my degree.
But my cup is never empty.
I am even going to put the girls into daycare next year for 2 days, so I can do Uni part time. (That is a massive deal for me!) So you see the flow on effect from those sessions has been life changing for me and my family.
I am so much happier and a far more patient, fun and relaxed mumma to my girls! My social anxiety has all but gone and I honestly feel like I am getting my life back.
Sounds really bloody melodramatic but it is 100% true. My mental health could not be better.”
So, please don’t struggle alone. Find your tribe. Seek the support. Do it. If you don't have it. Create it. There is a reason why the saying exists “It takes a village to raise a child.” Mums in the Western world expect that they should do it alone. And I guess society expects them to do the same. It’s a lie. Parents need support. Take it. Let go of the guilt.
And if you want to know more about support options, you can contact me for individual psychology sessions or you can find your tribe of parents, at my next Keep Sane and Parent On group. Taking enquiries now 😊
Sarah Purvey is a clinical psychologist, Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner and a mother of 2 children under 5 (who also occasionally feels like tearing her hair out when she is at home with the kids ;) ) . Sarah has her own psychology practice in Rosny, Tasmania and works with adults, for a range of mental health issues. Keep Sane and Parent On is a parenting support group created by Sarah, which came out of her own parenting experiences, her clinical knowledge and the many many parents she has seen, during therapy sessions, who share the similar journeys. The group is a wonderful way for parents to share their experiences (if they wish), find support, reconnect with the parts of themselves, which aren't just being a parent and a place to learn some helpful tools to manage their mood and help cope with the challenges of parenting. Contact her now for the next group in Rosny, Hobart, Tasmania.
AND STAY TUNED FOR SARAH'S BOOK "KEEP SANE AND PARENT ON" - DUE FOR RELEASE later in 2019