Ever since Lawson was born, I’ve had an issue with low level anxiety. Because it’s so low level, you hardly notice it’s there. But on the odd occasion, it’ll come out in strange places such as jaw ache from too much teeth grinding, a random snap at my husband in the car, or sometimes, a complete meltdown over some crumbs on the floor.
No one prepared me for this. No one really ever told me that once you’re a mother, you don’t really ever feel relaxed.
But here’s the thing, I’m not entirely sure this is how it’s supposed to be. I feel like I shouldn’t have this underlying stress being carried around with me all the time. And a few days ago, whilst I was spooning a Peppa Pig yoghurt into the hungry mouth of my one year old, I had what can only be described as an epiphany.
I started to dig deeper. What IS the reason for this constant tension I’m feeling? Why do I always feel like my mind is racing, I can’t relax, I’m not enough? WAIT. I’m not enough?
That phrase stopped me in my tracks a bit, because my alarm bells were ringing. Does anyone else have a kind of inbuilt lie detector in their brain that is (sometimes) able to call bullshit on things that aren’t true? I wish mine was more regularly exercised, because I bet there’s a whole lot more going on up there that isn’t truth. But this one, it picked up.
The feeling of ‘I’m not enough’ is the root of my anxiety.
But here’s the thing. I AM ENOUGH. I was made for Lawson, to be there for him in the only way that I can be, to teach him how to be a good human the only way that I can, to be his everything the only way that I can. He needs ME as his mum. Not anyone else, just me. Because I was made for him, and he was made for me.
I started to speak these truths in my head over and over in the hope that the anxiety and stress would kindly do one, but it didn’t. It doesn’t tend to work like that, does it? This is an issue with a lot of mums I think; the guilt, the pressure, the feelings of inadequacy are SO inbuilt in us, that an epiphany (or this blog post) alone isn’t going to cut it.
So here’s what I’ve started doing. Every time I have felt myself become tense or stressed, I have started to notice. It normally triggers 1) when my ‘routine’ isn’t going to plan, or 2) when Lawson is crying and I don’t know why, or I can’t help him. I know these triggers now. I notice them. And I’m able to put some strategies in place to stop myself getting to the point where I’m shaking, or have a headache, or get jaw ache from grinding my teeth too much! I am able to remind myself, in these times, that I am enough. If Lawson is crying in his high chair because he wants his food NOW (rolls eyes), he’s fine. He’s OK. I don’t need to faff and flap around the kitchen trying to rush some lunch together for him so I can get to him quicker. It’s OK for me to SLOW DOWN.
And this applies to you too. It’s OK to slow down. It’s OK to remind yourself that you are the perfect woman for the job of raising your child(ren). In fact, it’s more than OK, it’s NECESSARY.
I wanted to share this as it’s something I am working through each and every day at the moment, and I wanted to encourage any other mums out there who may be feeling the same way. YOU ARE ENOUGH.