Parenting,  Personal Growth

The struggle is real (but so is the love)

Hey beautiful mamas!

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment, both with the blog and personally.  I’ve got both kids’ birthdays, as well as mine and Future Hubby’s in the next six weeks, a wedding to plan, Christmas and other family milestone birthdays to start preparing for (because if I don’t start getting some things sorted now there will no doubt be a fair few mental breakdowns between now and the end of the year), so I thought I’d just take a minute to break away from the chaos and give a bit of a life update… and share some of the things that have helped me keep my PND and anxiety in check (most of the time) during these crazy few weeks!

Littlest Man is about to turn one, and then Eldest Little Man is turning 10 a couple weeks after, so we’re in party planning mode at the moment.  I got a bit overexcited with Littlest Man’s party, wanting to do a full on Pinterest-worthy theme and decor shebang.  I wanted to book a venue, hand make loads of elaborate decorations and themed canapés… Then I realised how much even just thinking about pulling all that off with a young bubba was stressing me out.  I was planning all these things which would have a) required a lot more child free time than I currently have, b) not been remembered by Littlest Man in the slighest and c) cost a bomb which is not great for our single income budget.  So I decided to scale it way, way back, in favour of a much more chilled out gathering, for all our sakes.  Sometimes you need to just stop and ask yourself if you’re filling your plate up a bit much.  Note: I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone who throws incredibly sophisticated first birthday parties – I think you’re amazing! I just decided that for me personally, this time the pressure was sucking the fun out.  Plus, Eldest Little Man will remember his birthday, and as it’s also a significant milestone I figured I’d be well served to save a lot of my energy for that one!

We’ve booked a venue and date for the wedding, which is exciting… But also slightly overwhelming, because it’s now real and I have a real, actual timeline to work with!  Luckily I have the very cool Little White Book to help me through the planning process, which is great because send-help-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing.  I’ll write a full review soon and link it back here, but for now let me just tell you: both Future Hubby and I have had a look through and it is awesome.  Future Hubby maintains that there isn’t that much to plan or stress about with the wedding (which is an odd thing for him to say, like do you even know me at all??) and even he thought it looked really good and super helpful.  So four thumbs up from over here on that.  (Note: If I’ve convinced you already that you need this in your wedding planning life, you can buy one here).

So with all these balls I’m juggling, I’m in a situation that would normally have me in a bit of a state of disarray.  Luckily with my therapy sessions and a lot of self help techniques I’m managing to stay on top of the anxiety, which is a welcome relief, I can tell you!  
Here are some day to day, practical things I do that are helping:

Talk it out

I must sound like a broken record now, but communication is key.  Talking about my feelings is always a bit… I dunno, cliché? But it really does help let others know what’s going on, plus it quite often helps me gain a bit of perspective.  The problem in my head is quite often not as big as the problem that’s verbalised.  I’m always super touched at how much people want to help when I reach out, and sometimes that in itself is all I need.

Write things down

When I get busy, I get stressed.  And when I get stressed, I can’t sleep.  And when I can’t sleep, I forget things, a lot.  And when I forget a lot of things, I end up having to scramble at the last minute, which adds to the busy-ness and stress   It’s a horrible, vicious cycle.  So I’ve found that writing things down gives my poor brain a bit of a rest and alleviates the stress a bit.

Take regular breathers and check in
Every couple of days I try to do a bit of a life status check and gauge my general wellbeing (partly so that I have something to report back to my counsellor).  It’s a good way to keep an eye on any mood trends and nip downward spirals in the bud.  If I were motivated I’d start a mood tracker bullet journal, but I feel like at the moment I’d probably keep to it for a week then lose it down the side of my bed somewhere… So I just mentally keep track 🙂 I also sometimes take this time to reread my old blog posts to remind me to take my own advice – at least the good bits 😉

Stop hermiting

I’ve been making sure I get out lots, even just to pop into a friend’s for a quick coffee.  Low key but often has become my new social calendar motto!  I try to take Littlest Man out often as well for new experiences; I think now that he’s so mobile he gets a bit bored at home, which leads to grumpiness and clinging, neither of which fly that well in our house..  A regular change of scenery always does wonders for both of us.

Try to think what advice or support I’d give to a friend if the roles were reversed

We all tend to love dishing out advice (sometimes even good advice if we’re lucky) but we often have trouble practising what we preach… Like how I tell my kids to eat their veges whilst trying to hide the fact that I’m picking out all the bits of mushroom on my plate and smuggle them across the border to Future Hubby’s plate (and yes I’m a big fat hippocrate… If you want to tell me you’ve always 100% stuck to every rule you’ve laid out as a parent, I’ll wager you’re telling mushroom-free pork pies).  The point is, as I’ve said in this previous post, I tend to be a lot kinder and more forgiving to others than I am to myself.  But now that I’ve realised that, I’m working on being a bit nicer to myself.

And following on from that…
Lower the bar just a tad

Obviously we all want to be the most kick ass parents we can be for our little sprogs, but being a kick ass parent isn’t always as complicated as we think.  It’s important to have achievable expectations of ourselves; to always strive for better, but also be content with how we are, just as we are.  Being an awesome parent means doing our best to meet our children’s needs, to love and care for and nurture them.  To spend time with them, to teach them but also learn from them.  All the rest is great, but really it’s just excess.  So I try to remind myself that I’m doing a bloody awesome job as it is.  And on that note, I try to remember that it’s not helpful or necessary to compare my parenting with others – what you see on social media is never the full story (even when mums put long ass captions like I tend to do… Sorry guys!)

So I’m pleased to report more sunshine these days, with much less chance of fog. 

Summer is coming, people!

With love,

Bunny x

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