Being a mum, or an adult, means there’s normally a lot going on. For me, I’ve always liked the analogy that you are spinning lots of different plates. Now when I imagine this analogy in my head each plate is a different size. Some are big as they take up a lot of your attention and energy – for example kids (if you have them), your job or maybe a house move. Other plates might be small like housework, keeping fit or seeing friends. The plates could be different sizes for different people. For some, fitness might be the biggest plate and maybe some give little time to small things like food shopping! And plates might change size time and time again. When kids come along, for mums the friendship plate might dwindle for a few months until mum can get some time to be herself again. Plates might also be made of different materials. China plates, given as a wedding gift might be difficult to fix, whereas plastic plates are unlikely to break and can be spun again when needed. Paper plates are disposed off and recycled later into something new.
With all these plates spinning in tandem with each other it is inevitable that sometimes some will start to drop. When this happens I call it the Mother’s Lurgy. What is the Mother’s Lurgy you ask? Let me describe what it is like for me.
My life has always been quite busy and never more so than now with three small children and a part time job. I’m naturally a messy person but I like to be very organised with other aspects of my life. My house might look a mess but my diary is carefully mapped out and I know where I need everyone to be and when. Normally this planning and organising keeps us ticking along nicely and my constant list writing keeps me right on jobs that need doing.
However, sometimes when life seems to get even busier than normal, even the most organised person can feel overwhelmed. A busy week at work with parents evenings or a week with the kids being ill can throw me off balance and end in many plates being dropped. For example, the first week back to work (and nursery for kids) after the October holidays was a stressful one. I worked an extra day, so three instead of 2. That simple change to our routine made me feel like things were becoming overwhelming. I knew that there were forms to fill out for school, emails to send for work, our holiday coming up which needed lots of planning and busy weekends of birthday parties/ car MOT’s and personal trainers. I know things are becoming overwhelming when I start forgetting simple things and that can then snowball out from there.
This overwhelming feeling has cropped up a lot more since the twins arrived and having three children definitely is juggling act. There’s always someone needing you in some capacity and as I am the kind of person who likes to do things well, I don’t like to feel stretched thin. The good thing about experiencing the Mother’s lurgy more often now, is that I am much better at recognising when I am getting bogged down. I am learning to take a step back, look at what is causing me to feel overwhelmed and try to get myself back into balance. I am a very logical person so I write lists. I tick off the things I can easily, which helps immediately as it reduces the things I am feeling overwhelmed about. Then I try to focus on me, some self care. A bath, a run, a glass of wine! Something that is just for me and allows me to think about what is going well and reflect on what needs to change to make things more manageable. Recognising when I am frazzled and dealing with it immediately has definitely reduced the times I have started to feel like I can’t cope. I suppose it’s like when you get a headache and take pain killers straight away – the pain never gets too bad.
I think that each time a plate drops I feel a different way. Sometimes the plate drops but doesn’t smash. I’m able to get back on track with some simple self care and a bit of organising. However sometimes the plate drops and smashes. For me, this is when I need to lean on others for support. This is when I feel I’m completely overwhelmed and not keeping on top of things. It feels harder to get back on track these times and takes longer but we always get there. I’m a social person so for me, talking to someone is always a good start!
I guess this is just another challenge that we need to face as adults and learn how best to work through the rough times in a way that suits our personality and personal situation. I’m always interested in other people and how they deal with situations that I also experience. How do people, especially mums who are being pulled every which way, make sure they don’t get lost in the constant admin, kids, work, house, life? What self care works for people who experience the Mother’s lurgy and does it ensure things never get too bad? I would love to hear peoples thoughts on this and remember to tag me in any Instagram posts using the hashtag #motherslurgy