I didn’t realise that when you give birth to a baby that a switch seems to turn on (well it did in my case). The guilt switch!!
Suddenly I was putting a huge amount of pressure on myself to be the perfect mum and partner.
Like it reflected what kind of mum I was to my daughter if I had the perfect house. Let’s be honest, I have never been the best around the house. I think I kind of expected when I became a mum that I would suddenly be good at all of that kind of stuff…that I’d suddenly be like MY mum. Maybe that automatically happens after 3 kids 😉
Anyhow, no one told me about this guilt switch. I am sure (well I am hoping) that I am not the only one who feels this pressure and anxiety. To be able to do everything, have everything under control – with the super tidy house, my daughter looking stylish, her bedroom looking funky, keeping connected with my friends etc.
Not that I have accomplished all of these things at once …but I still feel the pressure and guilt for not seeming to be able to. I feel that the guilt and anxiety is at its most when I sit down to do nothing and relax. Isn’t everyone meant to get a lunch break. I remember getting an hour when I was working.
I even feel anxious while writing this as I am blowing my cover… haha!
A little while ago I decided I needed to sit myself down.
Being a counsellor, I knew I had tools that I could use to get myself out of this cycle of guilt and anxiety. I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I needed to look at my priorities and what I could do to shift my thinking.
I realised that doing nothing, relaxing and taking time out for myself was way down on my priority list. So I set about to change this. I felt for me this was key.
Prior to this, when I did sit down I’d either have my phone in hand or turn on the TV to ‘zone out’. I realised this had to change as I knew that by doing this I wasn’t actually getting my nervous system to relax. I wasn’t reconnecting with myself and my needs. Nor was I disconnecting from the rat race of my mind that tries to trick me into believing that’s all that “I am”.
Since reshuffling my priorities and ensuring that I made time to sit, be in nature, go for a stroll (not to exercise but to just stroll) or a lay down with a meditation track, I feel I am more in balance again and I have been re-introduced to Laura – hey old friend.
My anxiety due to the pressure I was putting myself under has lessened and I am actually more productive, because I feel clearer. The tasks in front of me no longer feel like a mountain….yay! All by doing, “NOTHING” .
Why am I sharing this? I suppose I am assuming (and hoping a tiny bit) that I am not the only one. I want to be honest as I think it’s important to share our feelings so we can support each other. Not only in the crazy world of motherhood but in this life that our society has created. A society that is constantly stimulated and loses the priority of connecting with our inner self and just ‘being’.
Here are some tips that may help you to implement this in your own life –
Aim for just 10 minutes per day
Sit or Lie (inside or outside in nature)
Turn off your TV, Phone, Music etc and connect with your breath by simply observing it.
What is your breath doing? Is it shallow and fast or deep and slow? As you observe it, imagine your breath slowly filling up a balloon down in your belly (only to the point of comfort no further). Now just sit there and let your thoughts flow in and out of your head – as if they are on a cloud or stream. If you find your self getting carried away with your thoughts just gently bring your concentration back to your breath. I also like to imagine that I am seeing things through my chest…as if my heart is now my mind and eyes. This helps me to “step down” from my head and BE in my body.
While walking outside really notice the different leaves, the beauty and the energy emanating from nature all around. Feel the breeze and just stroll, not to get anywhere, not for a tight bum and amazing calves…just to simply BE.
This all might sound really easy, but it’s actually one of the hardest things we can do. Practice makes perfect and every little bit counts.
The biggest thing is not to see this as another pressure! Reward yourself for the time you DO get to take, rather then beat yourself up for the times you forget or don’t get a chance.
Let’s start enjoying “NOTHING” more often!
Start BEING instead of doing and be proud of it!!! Heck even TELL your friends about it – lose the shame and support each other through this overwhelming but oh so rewarding thing we call motherhood and life 🙂
I’d love to hear your own experiences and if this helps you , comment below and share with your friends xx
Ps. This article was written while playing dolls, motorbikes, computers and being fed sago by my 1 year old daughter. I thought I used to multitask at work ha! So please excuse any mistakes or any extra letters my beautiful daughter may have added…here’s cheers to not being perfect!
By Laura Williams – Counsellor & Massage Therapist |