These last few years have seen me become the poster child for, ‘What happens when you don’t look after yourself’. I’m no martyr; it’s not an intentional thing I do. I simply put it down to ‘Mum Life‘. Everyone else in the family gets organised and cared for first, and mum brings up the rear. You see, just yesterday I was sitting across the desk from my doctor, telling him about what’s been going down, and how I’ve been feeling, and he says,
“Yep, I see this all the time. You are suffering from ‘Mum Syndrome'”.
So, it’s not just something I made up. A real-life medical-type professional gave me the term. If only more people recognised it as such, and treated it like a real thing.
Listen to Mia Freedman interviewing author Holly Wainwright, about her new book ‘The Mummy Bloggers’, and why we need to reclaim that term. Post continues after audio.
There are only a few basic elements to living a healthy life:
1. Adequate, restful sleep
2. Good nutrition
3. Effective exercise
4. ‘Me’ time, or stress less time.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can almost put a big fat X next to each one of those on a daily basis. I think most of us can. It’s not something we do intentionally, it just comes with the #mumlife territory sometimes.
I think for most of my kids’ early days, I just reverted to survival mode. Caffeine, adrenaline, sheer determination and necessity. Sleep was almost non-existent between the baby waking for night feeds, and the toddler suffering from sleep apnea and night terrors. I got by just eating whatever I could to fill me up, in between coffee breaks to keep me awake. I forced myself to exercise, more because I couldn’t be at home on my own in the tired haze all day. I needed to get out, so I killed two birds with one stone. ‘Me’ time was virtually non-existent. I legitimately consider a toilet break, or a shower at night on my own as ‘Me’ time… but between sleep issues, breastfeeding, and hubby’s work schedule, I couldn’t stray far from home, ever.
As time wore on, at least one of my children started sleeping, which meant I wasn’t being woken on average 6 times a night. It’s like someone flicked a switch inside my brain and suddenly I realised, it’s like I’d spent the entire 12 months prior (at least) walking around with permanent beer goggles on.