It’s been one of those mornings. Being ‘big picture’ about it, overall we are totally winning. Three healthy and on-the-whole happy children. Two reasonably happy adults in a loving marriage. A roof over our heads. Food on the table. All modern day miracles on balance BUT we still have those mornings from time to time.
So what do you do? How do we get through when it feels like between 6 am and 9 am we have run the emotional and physical equivalent of a marathon, without the satisfaction of getting an energy drink when we cross the finish line.
Oh wait, maybe that’s why I need that morning coffee after school drop off so much.
Here’s how it goes. After a night of what feels like breastfeeding every five minutes (probably more like hourly, but STILL… sheesh), wake up, scramble into clothes before the kids wake up too. Make breakfast for myself and at least two other people. Make or organise lunch for myself and at least two other people. Maybe do my hair. Maybe have breakfast myself.
The Negotiation Phase
Then it’s the negotiation phase. Negotiate the right pair of socks, “…but mummy, one is longer than the other”. Negotiate the right things in the school bag, “…it’s Friday, where is my homework book?”. At least she remembered. Remember there is after school dance class today, put the correct dance clothing in the bag. Remember the toddler needs shoes. Put them near the door. Remember the toddler, put him in the car
If you’ve never heard of it, the name for it is the ‘mental load’. It’s all the things that the person responsible for the kids in the family does, remembers to do, thinks about doing, and arranges to do (or get done). And it’s huge. I think it’s making me shorter because I carry it all the time, to bed, to work, to the shops, out for drinks. Basically, the mental load has become my life companion. It never leaves my side, kind of like an old dog. Even that feels like I’m over-romanticising it. Maybe I should name it Frank, or Joe.
The Tired Years
Jokes aside. I’m just so tired. This is that stage of my life that shall forever be known as “The Tired Years”.
I don’t have any panaceas for you. If you are carrying a load like this, I’d suggest you make friends with it, get light-hearted about it and share as much of it as possible. I know my only hope is to become a better delegator. As I raced around and around in frantic circles this morning organising everything I felt like I was in a time-lapse film. Me moving in blurred images around my husband sitting still, eating his breakfast.
The Cost of Care
Why I still think I need to protect him from this is definitely an area of personal development to focus on. Why I undervalue the cost of my care, when I know it is undervalued by mainstream culture, on the whole, I have no idea. It feels so ingrained.
Having just gone back to work I still feel like the person that should be dealing with all this. As the one that earns less, I take on the idea that I need to do more at home. Plus, it just makes sense for me to be the main carer still. However, on the days I work, this is such a big ask.
It feels from here as though I’m still adjusting to being back at work. I need to get better at asking for help – I firmly believe a huge part of positive and soulful parenting is being able to do this. And I need to allow myself to request and receive my husband’s help too. BIGGEST and most challenging of all is to apply my soulful parenting ideals to my inner self. Why is this so hard? Because it involves being vulnerable, and you know how much us humans struggle with that one… Still, I need to be kinder and gentler with myself as we all navigate this time of transition.
Thank Goodness for the Gratitude
The kicker? Despite this being so hard, and the necessary vulnerable moments in which I feel exposed, uncomfortable, ashamed of my perceived inadequacies: I know I’ll miss these mornings. I know in my heart that even though these mornings totally suck, these are the things I’ll miss the most when my kids are all grown and gone. So within all the challenge and discomfort, there is a kernel of deep and soulful gratitude. This must be the gift this experience bears. And oh what a gift it is.
Click here and let us send you a bonus PDF “Soulful Parenting: Three simple ways to raise thriving resilient kids” plus an exclusive discount for top-shelf organic skincare brand, Vanessa Megan. Alena Turley/ The Soul Mamma is a writer, educator, ethical digital creator and mum of three little darlings based in Freshwater Beach, Sydney.