anxiety, General Parenting, Mental Health, Stay-at-home-Mum Life, Uncategorized

Getting My Life In Order

I am a lover of lists. And spreadsheets. And space-saving storage solutions.

I like things organised.

Things have felt a little hectic and chaotic lately. Cleaning has been neglected. Meal plans have been non-existent. We’re running out of food towards the end of the week as a result. Our routine keeps changing.

Kids need a stable routine.

Anxious mummies need a stable routine.

When we’re all getting antsy at the same time it does not make for a good household atmosphere.

So the past few days I’ve been getting back to my lists and spreadsheets.

I’ve written a list of all the dinners we eat in such a way that if we choose one thing from each row we’ve got a full month’s meal plan with plenty of variety.

No more “what do you want for dinner?” “Don’t know, what have we got?” “No idea.”

No more shopping list fails. We’ll have enough food to get us through the week.

It’s going to take so much stress out of our lives. (Hopefully).

I’ve also been planning educational activities and games to play with the kids. And working out a toy rotation.

No more stagnating about the house.

I’ve also been (gradually) deep cleaning everything. And decluttering (again).

It’s awful how gross things have gotten around here. And how quickly the clutter builds up.

I feel like there is always something that needs to be done but there isn’t time. Maybe that’s just home ownership mashed up with parenting.

I struggle to get out when there’s things to be done in the house, so getting back to a routine where things get done will hopefully help with that too.

We went to the aquarium on Father’s Day and it wasn’t nearly as stressful as I thought it would be. Now that the twins are a little older it’s getting easier.

I think the hardest baby days are past.

#day15 #30daychallenge

Advertisements
anxiety, General Parenting, Mental Health, Stay-at-home-Mum Life

Change of Plans

No, no, no, no, nope.

Routine keeps my anxiety at bay. I don’t stress about things that need to be done if I know I can get it done later. I have naptimes and TV time blocked into the day, and even get the sporadic “all three kids are happily playing” times.

I NEED these predictable times to shower, do housework, bake banana bread (honestly the stuff’s magic), and sometimes just STOP and switch my brain off for a few minutes.

I need a lot of notice to do something that’s not part of my routine.

However, kids don’t give me that warning.

Caide didn’t warn me he was about to have a behavioural regression, making it practically impossible to get out the house.

Linden didn’t let me know he was about to start losing the plot if I left the room. Or even moved to a different spot in the same room. And therefore make it very difficult to get anything done outside of naptimes.

Theo didn’t tell me he was about to go from being the baby who will fall asleep anywhere to the baby who doesn’t even blink never mind shut his eyes. And therefore make it difficult to get anything done during naptimes.

I definitely wasn’t warned that all these things are all going to happen at the same time.

So here I am again, trying to figure out a new routine that allows the babies to nap and Caide to get enough attention that he doesn’t wind up with an ASBO at 2 years old.

Settling into a new routine when anxiety wants everything to run smoothly every day is pretty challenging.

Wish me luck x

#day10of30 #30daychallenge

anxiety, Mental Health

Accidental Mindfulness

I’ve been thinking about trying mindfulness exercises to help with my anxiety. I think I already do it.

I do this thing I call a micro-nap (when the kids let me). I get comfy, close my eyes, relax all my muscles and try to think about nothing. Preferably under a blanket.

Even 5 uninterrupted minutes in this state can rejuvenate me. 20mins is optimal. Perhaps coincidentally it’s also the optimal nap length.

I started doing it when pregnant with the twins and literally couldn’t stay awake for a full day. Not ideal when I had a toddler who doesn’t nap to look after. It would get me to the end of the day. Or at least until Phil got home.

So I’m thinking there might be something to this mindfulness thing and maybe it’s not just the latest wishy-washy fad.

We’ll see.

img_20190509_154241

#day4of30 #30daypostchallenge

Behaviour, General Parenting

Delinquent in Training

I have noticed a correlation between the number of days spent inside and the level of Caide’s naughtiness. Makes sense. Cabin fever. Boredom. Kids are like dogs – they need to be walked every day or they go nuts.

So we went out. Even though I really didn’t want to. There are people out there. But I needed to go to the post office anyway. And I’d reserved books at the library online and was getti g twitchy about having not picked them up yet.

Caide was a nightmare at the post office, including behaviour that prevented an old lady with a walker from sitting down. I was mortified.

But he loves books. He’ll be good at the library right?

Wrong.

Shouting and screaming and climbing the book displays. Rearranging the furniture. Running off. Reminding me why we stopped going to Bookbug.

I just wanted to leave. But if we never go out in public, how will he ever learn how to behave in public? So I persevered.

It was hellish.

The walk home was also awful. We live literally round the corner from the library but it took us 25mins. He was refusing to walk, bum shuffling, “Put jumper back on!”, “Too hot, take jumper off!”. The final straw was when he ran into the road to jump in a puddle, right after I told him not to (yes, I’m going to get reins, despite always hating the very idea of them. Safety first).

I know all of these things are fairly normal behaviour for a 2 year old but I can’t help but feel his behaviour is worse than average. That I’ve done something wrong.

He’s a total delinquent.

#day3of30 #30daypostchallenge

Life Events

There’s a Moose Loose About This Hoose!

I could cry.

I was just innocently sitting scrolling through endless Father’s Day gift ideas when I see movement out of the corner of my eye.

My first thought was that it was a spider. We get pretty big ones sometimes. But this was the biggest spider I’d ever seen. I stare, horrified. I come to realise that it’s not a spider.

It’s a fucking rat!

After denial came anger (because I’m apparently going through the five stages of grief). Anger that I spend my whole goddamn life cleaning this house and we still end up with rats. We just got rid of ants. After just getting rid of fruit flies who’d laid their larvae in our hoover.

So next comes bargaining. I wish I’d gone to bed at a reasonable time, then I wouldn’t have seen it, and it wouldn’t exist. If I start going to bed at a reasonable time the rat will be no more right? I’ll wake up and find this was just a bad dream.

Depression and acceptance. Nope, there is definitely a rat and I need to do something about it. I want to go and get an adult. But I am the adult.

So I go and wake Phil.

But my movement startles it and it bolts behind Caide’s reading corner unit.

I feel like Phil doesn’t believe me. He thinks I’ve cracked. I’m seeing things. Maybe I am. I mean, why would there be a rat? Our house is clean. Nothings chewed. There’s no droppings anywhere. There is no evidence of rodents. Except the one I saw while bleary eyed at 1am.

We can’t find it. We move the unit but it’s not there. There’s no gaps in the skirting. There’s nowhere it could’ve gone.

Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.

Phil reassures me that it’s more scared of me than I am of it and it’s not going to climb into the babies’ cots and bite them, and goes back to bed.

I am too freaked out to sleep. I go back to my laptop. After a while the bloody thing comes out again. My first thought is that it’s actually quite small. Might just be a mouse.

It hides again. I’m pretty sure it’s behind the facing on the bottom of our bookshelves. I get Phil again because he is the only person on this planet that can keep me calm and I’m about to have a full-blown panic attack.

As grumpy as he is about being woken again 3 hours before his alarm is going off for work, he removes the facing. “Oh there is one!” (Despite this exclamation, he still claims that he believed me all along…) And out it scarpers, into the hallway and out of sight.

We have no idea what room it went into.

We still don’t.

I want to move house.

#day2of30 #30daypostchallenge

anxiety, depression, Mental Health, ppd

To My Son, I Am Sorry

I’m sorry I didn’t love you when I first looked into your eyes
I’m sorry I found it hard to smile, and mostly only cried

I’m sorry you went so hungry on the first day of your life
I’m sorry I didn’t ask for help from anyone around

I’m sorry I took you home because I wanted to be alone
I’m sorry you had to cry so hard on the first night in your home

I’m sorry I didn’t breathe you in and hold you oh so close
I’m sorry I never sang to you or kissed your tiny toes

I’m sorry for turning on the breastpump and watching TV all day
I’m sorry I didn’t just sit on the floor with you and play

I’m sorry I spent so much time Googling how to be perfect
I’m sorry I never was, and I was always in such a panic

I’m sorry I ranted and raved at you as your cried in your crib
I’m sorry I ever accused you of being the worst thing that I did

I’m sorry we didn’t leave the house for months because there are people out there
I’m sorry you don’t have any baby friends because your Mummy is just too scared

I’m sorry anxiety makes me irritable, it’s truly not your fault
I’m sorry I have to remind myself that you’re still just oh so small

I’m sorry I often ignore you, and sit on the sofa idle
I’m sorry I tell you to piss off when you only want a cuddle

I’m sorry it takes so long for me to get up out of bed
I’m sorry that you so often have to sit and amuse yourself

I’m sorry I’m just not strong enough to ever get any better
I’m sorry I am not the Mummy that your sweet little soul deserves

anxiety, General Parenting, Mental Health, Milestones

Is My Anxiety Holding My Child Back?

My son had his 14-month developmental milestones check-up this week.

Full marks for gross motor, fine motor and problem solving skills.

Below average for social skills.

Borderline for communication skills.

Then she asked if I had ever made it to any of the baby & toddler groups in the area.

“No,” I reply, and my heart sinks with shame.

Three months ago I bumped into her at the health centre and she asked how things were going etc and I said I’d been thinking about joining a baby & toddler group or starting a class because neither of us are getting much socialisation. So she gave me a list of the groups in the area.

I went home and read the list. Googled the locations of the groups. Put them on my calendar.

But social anxiety said no.

I never went to any of them.

My son has no cousins and none of my friends have children. He is alone.

“Do you use any childcare at all?”

“No.”

“Do you have any friends nearby?”

“Yes, I have a friend in *neighbouring town*.”

“Does she have children?”

“No.”

“Does he have any cousins?”

“No. The closest he has are my youngest cousins who are 6 and 4 but they live an hour away.”

“Will he be going to nursery?”

“Yes,” I lied. I firmly plan to homeschool. But by this point I felt awful. Like it’s my fault that he isn’t talking yet, and she knows it too*.

She assured me that he is not considered speech delayed yet and is still within the normal limits for communication. And I know he is. I know he’ll talk in time.

But this is just another example of how anxiety can take over.

And I Was Already An Anxious Mess

I caused a bit of miscommunication by not telling the lady at the front desk I was there. Because when I first brought him to the drop-in clinic – held in the same room – I told her I was there but I didn’t need to and I felt like an ass. So I just walked right on past and took a seat outside the room.

My appointment time came and went so I knocked on the door (after much deliberation about whether or not I should).

No answer. She must still be with a previous appointment. I sit back down.

15 more minutes pass.

15 tense minutes where I’m anxious about everyone else in the waiting room and what they’re thinking of me and I know they’re watching us because the only thing that is moving or making a sound is my tiny adorable human.

Please stop trying to play with the fire extinguisher son. I know you like red things but it’s important that you don’t break that. Yes, there’s another one on that wall. Please, just sit with Mummy.

He pulls a notice off the pinboard behind my head. I scramble about in a low-key anxiety attack trying to find all the pins that dropped.

I sit back down. I wonder if I should ask at the front desk or if that would sound pushy. She’s probably just held up somewhere. I don’t want to be that Mum.

A physiotherapist passes and asks if I’m waiting for a physiotherapy appointment. I notice that one of the notices behind my head asks to please keep these seats free for physiotherapy patients.

I panic and knock again.

No answer.

I sit back down. I consider just legging it.

Another health visitor passes and asks if I am waiting on the assessment.

“Did you tell the front desk you’re here?”

“No.” I felt like an ass.

She went and told them for me because anxiety makes it impossible to adult properly, and my health visitor arrives.

I honestly feel like I do something awkward every single time I see her. I also never answer the phone when she calls because I get umpteen sales calls a day so have stopped answering numbers I don’t know.

I wonder how close she is to calling social services on me for being weird and distant and awkward. I probably come across as vague and evasive.

I’d be suspicious of me too.

The meeting begins and the focus is mostly on Caide and whether or not he can stack blocks on top of each other and put Cheerios in a little urine sample bottle.

But Then It’s Question Time

Most questions were generic questions that were easy to answer. One took me totally by surprise.

“Are you on any medication?”

I hesitate. Why on Earth is she asking that? I better be honest. I don’t want to get caught hiding anything. That won’t look good.

“Fluoxetine.”

“You’re still taking fluoxetine.”

Still? I have never told her I’m taking it. Maybe a slip of the tongue.

“Is it still 40mg?”

Do they share my medical records with the health visitor? Are they allowed to do that? That sounds like the Named Person Scheme that the Supreme Court ruled against. How does she know this?!

“Yes.”

Then the above questions about Caide’s socialisation.

In my already anxious state, the questions were exaggerated to mean something they probably were never intended to.

That I am a terrible mother for isolating my son from his peers.

I’m avoiding these groups for my own benefit but it is proving detrimental to my son.  I don’t want him to be the socially awkward hopeless case his parents are. I want him to thrive.

But my anxiety is already failing him.

I Know This Isn’t True

But logic < anxiety. It takes over the thinking part of the brain and inserts irrational thoughts that don’t feel irrational at the time. It ties up your thoughts into neat little negative-thinking loops that are almost impossible to break.

But I know it isn’t true.

But what if it is?

———-

*I would like to mention that she did not ask all these questions in a row like that. It was not an interrogation. She is a lovely lady and I am not bashing her at all. I’m telling the version of the story that happened in my head, the way anxiety saw it.