I’ve been a little quiet lately. I would like to say it is because I’m working on a new exciting project, but the truth is, I simply burnt out and needed a rest. I’ve spent so long spinning too many plates, my mind and body just shut down.
Being a millennial mum is really hard work and it is even more so if you have children a little before the average mum. I’m constantly hearing that I should be at home, nurturing my children with a firm (but not too firm) hand. I should be encouraging their development at every turn with sensory play, messy play and crafts, but I should also allow them enough independent play in order to give them the chance to develop their creativity. I should only offer fresh, healthy, made from scratch food. We should do puzzles, read, sing and have regular play dates. We need to get outdoors into nature and learn about the world around us. While doing all of these things I should be nurturing my relationship, finding time to socialise with friends, taking ‘me time’ and have an established career (or at the very least be working towards one). It’s a lot to juggle and quite honestly I’ve dropped the spinning plates.
I looked up at the boys playing in the garden after lunch one day last week and I realised just how much they had grown. I felt like because I was so consumed with trying to do everything well, I seemed to have missed it all. That night I sat in their room once they were asleep and just watched them. I took in their faces, watched their chests rise and fall and I cried. Tears started tumbling down my face and I felt like the air had been sucked out of me. They suddenly looked so much bigger than they did the day before, time seemed to be going by so fast and I felt like I was losing grip of the world around me. So I switched off.
The next day I woke up and my emails were left unopened. My laptop left cold and silent on the desk. I cancelled all of our planned play dates for the week and instead I drank tea and practised yoga. I let the boys watch cartoons for longer than is advised. I didn’t do any housework and instead I played trains with my children. We didn’t take exciting day trips, but instead snuggled on the sofa, watched movies and ate pizza. I left them to their own devices in the playroom, while I took time to do nothing other than read a book. We played silly games and pretended to be astronauts. We took strolls into the village, drank hot drinks and ate cake. We sat in the garden toasting marshmallows on the fire pit. We spent time just enjoying all of the wonderful little things in life that I had forgotten were so important. The best thing about my relaxing week is that, for the first time in years I felt calm and that allowed me the head space to be present with my children. Nothing happened because I took a week to answer my emails. The world didn’t cave in because I didn’t do the laundry and my family life didn’t crumble because I sat down for a little while and read a book.
Spending a week living in a completely different and relaxed way was actually the best thing I could have done. I gave myself a chance to slow down, breathe and reboot. Taking that time for myself has meant that I can now face spinning all those plates again, only now at a much slower pace.
Being a millennial mum is really hard work. There is a monumental amount of pressure, but I won’t be letting that pressure ruin these days of motherhood. Not anymore. Not when these days of motherhood are as fleeting as they are. Not when the world didn’t come crashing down just because I stopped spinning so many plates.