I will be the first to admit, I am a massive stress head. I stress over things I shouldn't stress about. I stress before there's things to stress about. I guess it comes part and parcel with anxiety, I like things to go as planned and if they don't, my anxiety levels rise. I can't help it, it's just who I am, I'd like to think that over the years I have calmed down a bit or I have at least tried to. Pete is the complete opposite of me, he is so laid back it is unbelievable, I don't understand how he can be that way, not to mention this adds to my stress levels. Poor lad, good job he's so laid back really. Anyway, the point of this post is to talk about 'mama stress.' Possibly the worst kind of stress to ever exist! Mama stress doesn't seem to be something we talk about, but we really should!
I have a toddler, a very independant two year old that likes to do as he pleases. On top of his toddler ways, he is a very clever little boy who is always looking for something new to do. This results in him often becoming bored or frustrated and we all know this can be disastrous. Before Henry came along, this was manageable. I would become stressed when George would misbehave and I was trying to get things done. I would get stressed if we were running late for something, which inevitably happens when you have little ones.
I became pregnant, hormones took control, my stress levels would rise over the smallest things. It could be that George wouldn't choose a book, or pick something up that he had thrown. Luckily, I have laid back Pete, is always happy to take over in a situation like this. Crisis averted. Mama stress levels down.
Then Henry came along, queue mega stress levels 24/7. When I had one child, I maintained a tidy(ish) house (I'm not the tidiest of people at the best of times) but it was liveable. Now I have two babies and oh my goodness. My stress levels have magnified by 100. We almost never leave the house on time, I have laundry up to my eye balls, the dishwasher is constantly whirring, there are toys scattered everywhere, and I hate it. I hate that this is out of my control, no matter what I do, things are never easy. Not that I expected it to,b but as soon as I think I'm on top of everything, I blink and I'm five days behind.
Today I got my period, the first period I've had since before Henry was born, so it's been nearly twelve months. Just when I thought my hormones were in the process of settling down after the arrival of my squishy newborn, they're back. Oh and they're back with a vengeance. I'm sore, I'm grouchy and I'm torn between wanting to eat everything in sight or kill somebody. Pete went to work late afternoon, I was on my own with both boys, bear in mind, Pete had taken George swimming in the morning, I'd had some time to myself and I'd even had a bath. Well as soon as he went to work, both boys kicked off (I'm sure kids can sense when you're on your own - bastards!) and I could have cried. In fact, I snapped at George, my poor two year old, who wasn't misbehaving, he was just being two. I was instantly hit with a wave of mum guilt, it wasn't my boy's fault that I was miserable today. He doesn't understand about hormones and all the rest. I changed his nappy, I picked him up off his changing mat, gave him a cuddle and a big massive kiss and said "I'm sorry for being grumpy, babe." And you know what he said to me? "I'm sorry for being grumpy too. I'm sorry for waking Henry up." I nearly melted there on the spot. I didn't feel better, I felt even more guilty that I had been such a bitch. We sat on the beanbag, we cuddled and we watched a movie. I know he won't remember it. I know we have more fun times than miserable times but I do't want him to grow up and think I am a moody mummy.
We can get so caught up in the stress of the moment, things that don't need to be stressed over, especially when it comes to our little ones. There are times when I let George run about in the garden, get muddy, get wet and don't bat an eyelid, that's childhood. So why am I so bothered if he accidentally makes a mess when he's eating (sometimes he does it on purpose, but not always)?
I have been trying to control my mama stress - some days are easier than others but the thing I always remember is they are just babies. Babies that need their mummy and I love being their mummy. Some days I could cry because I just want one day to myself, a day where I don't want to answer to the name mummy and I will complain about it (mostly to Pete) but the truth is, I wouldn't want it any other way. I have probably said to Pete about a hundred times "no more kids - I hate them" today alone. Do I mean it? Well I'm not ready to get my tubes tied just yet ;)
How do you deal with mama stress?