I’m pretty sure that there are going to be a few readers thinking “told you so!” or “I was thinking this would happen” when they read this post. This post is about is something that was inevitable but in the same way that you can’t convince a person who hasn’t experienced the hell/joy of childbirth that they will get over it you also cannot properly communicate with a mother-of-one how different it is to be a mother-of-two. (Side note: If there are any expectant mothers-of-one reading this please, please understand that while I’m about to write about how utterly shattered and time-poor I am I have brought a lot of this on myself and my experience of two children is not necessarily going to be yours). I’m also not trying to blow my own trumpet by writing about how much I do or did. This is, I think, a cathartic way for me to convince myself that it’s ok to stop now for a little while.
At the end of this week (I’m writing this post on the last week of April) I’m going to be taking a break from my online courses for (at least) the summer months for a few reasons but the main one being that I am so f’ing exhausted. I’m not being the mother I thought I would be and even though I do realise that the mother I thought I would be before I actually became a mother doesn’t exist I’d still like to give myself a chance to be a bit more like her. Less snappy, more patient and hopefully a lot more fun. Since having Jodie I am wound so tight because there is always SO MUCH TO DO and when something goes wrong, even if it’s something small, it feels much bigger.
Frankie was born in July 2014 and from that time until this I have been just about every “type” of mother there is. I’m most definitely not using PC terms throughout this post so please don’t be offended by the ones I have used. I’ve been a self-employed “working mother” who went back to work when my first baby was six weeks old and my second was three weeks old. With Frankie it didn’t feel hard at all. He was such a good baby and I loved early motherhood. Year one of motherhood is a good year for me. Year two? Not so much. I had to go back because financially I hadn’t put myself in a position not to. With Jodie it was different. I felt every bit of having to work so soon after having her. Financially, by living a little more frugally, I could have not worked (it would have entailed reeling in the coffee and cake trips a bit and not buying clothes that i’ll never get to wear cos let’s face it where the hell am I going these days but it could and now it will be done) but I had built up this business that I absolutely loved and I had created a community of women who really wanted my help. Loving your children to bits but loving what you do is, I’m sure, something that many women can relate to. My business has been very good to me, particularly in the last six months, but I do feel like I’ve earned every cent I’ve made. There has quite literally been blood, sweat and tears.
Multitasking with a two-week-old Jodie
(You can tell by my face in this picture that I know this is madness)
I’ve also been a studying mother since Frankie was nine weeks old when I went back to college to finish my degree. For the first year of his life I would put him to bed and then hit the books until late into the night. Again it didn’t feel terribly hard in year one. He was an easy-going baby during the day and slept all night so I had the energy to do it. The shit hit the fan in year two though when he started walking, pulling all and sundry down around him and was waking at night with his teeth.
Each of these things have been part-time so I’ve also been a stay-at-home mother too. I have fantastic childcare 4 mornings a week and have a lot of help from my husband and family so I’m really lucky but there was no office and there were no office hours. My business has meant that I’ve had to be switched on all of the time (sending messages while I was in labour and answering queries while simultaneously breast feeding). And of course there’s Snapchat. I’ve shared a lot on Snapchat over the last year and for the most part I didn’t mind doing that. I’ve loved how sharing the early days of motherhood with Jodie helped other mothers who were also struggling. But it does take from my time with the kids (as well as involve me having to wash my face at the very least which can feel like an epic task some days!) and that doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve never liked the idea of Frankie seeing me talking to my phone and by the time his bedtime comes around I’m often too shattered to make sense. Social media in general is both a blessing and a curse. I love the part where I get to interact with other women and mothers online but I hate how false life has become because of it. It’s not reality or my reality at the very least. I want to be present in my life.
Not so sure I can keep going any more
Or do I? You see part of me has been avoiding being “just a mother”. Please don’t take that to mean that I don’t have massive respect for every mother who is “just a mother”. I think they are the mothers I have the most respect for because not having a job outside of the home (or upstairs in the home in my case) and having to be with them all of the time is so bloody hard and I think I’ve been afraid of the boredom that comes with that. Not the nothing-to-do type of boredom. Dear Jesus no. There is always, always SO MUCH TO DO (which I may have mentioned before) even without the work and the study. No it’s the this-is-mind-numbing boredom of the day-to-day job of being a mother that scares me.
I’m also exploring why it’s so hard for me to be still. I most definitely have what I like to call busy-ism. I’ve christened this the Summer of Stillness and the mission is to have no work or study to-do list. To wake up in the morning and think “what will we do today?” rather than “what do I have to get done today?”. I also have things I’d like to write about in this stillness. Notes can be found dotted throughout my house with thoughts and ideas that pop into my head at the most random times (washing up and wiping bums being the two main times). I should add here that I know I’m extremely lucky to be able to take this time and to make these decisions and my heart breaks for every mother that has to either go back to work or stay at home when she’d rather be doing the other or a bit of both.
One of many thoughts I’ve had to write down before tiredness kills it
I’m starting a Masters in Primary Education through Hibernia College in September. It’s going to be full-on I’m told. I’m not sure if there’s going to be room in our life for my business. I want there to be but for there to be any hope of that I need to step back and see if I can put a better structure on things because as it stands there just isn’t enough space in our life for any more. My little man is going to be three by the time the summer is over. How is that possible? And I feel like I’ve barely stopped to be with Jodie since she was born. I’m not going to get this time back. As is the case when you have small children both myself and my husband have had to sacrifice things that we love to keep our little ship afloat but I don’t want us to lose ourselves in all of this busyness either.
Our Inca Trail honeymoon in May 2013 seems like such a long time ago
So as of next Monday (May 1st) I will be closing membership to my online courses. I will remain fully dedicated to those who are currently on the course or who sign up this coming week (during which I’m giving a €20 discount using the code FWBSUM). And it’s not that I will be completely gone from social media either. It’s just that I’ll be doing it on my terms. I’m thinking a lot less Snapchat and hopefully a bit more blogging (though not necessarily about exercise and healthy food). I need to not be answerable to anyone outside of my family for a while and get some breathing space.
I have great expectations of fun times on the beach this summer – let’s see how that goes!
While obviously this has been a post about me and my hectic life if you are reading this and you’re also a person who is prone to overloading themselves with to-do’s and busyness maybe you might also consider if there are ways that you can make a little bit more room in your life and give yourself a break.
Thank you so much to everyone who has come on my courses or shown support to me since I set up Fit with Bríd two years ago and I hope you all have a lovely summer.