Mumma do the hump

Each day fuelling the next. It’s a magnet. A shit magnet. A mental filter that prevents us from acknowledging the positives

It’s another of those fantabulous times of year where baby bears are released from their school duties and their lovely structured routines and set instead on their multi-tasking, over tired, mega stretched parents, who in their fantasy head ‘look forward’ to beautiful quality family time but in reality find something quite different. If your household includes any form of additional need added to the mix I’m guessing it’s not all plain sailing and you too may be disheartened by the neurotypical family shots splattered all over Facebook that do not appear to have required expletives or bribes to capture a wonderful family moment!

(Disclaimer… I completely get that a) neurotypical families have their fair share of shit parenting moments and sibling issues and b) I am not, in any way, distinguishing between working parents and homemakers… full time mumma house bears (with children with special needs or otherwise)… I take my hat off to you and finally c) I love my kids and have no intention of selling them/ running away despite how the rest of this may read!)

Mummagrizzlybear has the task of entertaining brother bears who complain if one another breathes near them, who would happily spend continuous hours staring at screens (turning them into hypersensitive hulks), who wish to take the world and their son on any suggested outing (who’d wanna spend time with just a mum?) and who would much rather it if daddybear were the one home with them this glorious afternoon. Plus did I mention, they moan and fall out A LOT! Fortunately  (apparently) my work load has reduced owing to my resignation from half my contract to be available more as a carer to youngest baby bear. Something i’m still in resentful mode about, more so as there isnt any sight of carers allowance coming through to relieve the financial blow… But anyways I’m available 7.5 days out of the 9 they are home on this particular occasion.

I’ve been watching my own well-being for some weeks and unwittingly noticing the waves of emotions of other friends and relatives too. My word I connect with some like-minded women and man can we do the ‘hump!’

The face sometimes gives it away. It’s that resting Bitch face I’ve spoken of before but slapped with a wet kipper for good measure. It says ‘go on, I dare ya, push me once more’. Any other adult can see it. They get it. Some (the good) offer wine and sympathy. Then there’s the sigh. That sigh you try and inhale so the precious  baby bears don’t actually detect that you are this close to losing your shit altogether. The sigh when your offerings are rejected or the carefully planned trip turns into another scene from some horror movie or the baby bear moans the fateful ‘I’m bored’ just one more time or worst of all the babybears behaviour mortifies you in public. The face and the sigh… great indicators of the impending hump. (There’s others, the ‘is it wine o clock yet mum’, the ‘go and ask your father’ mum,  the ‘if i have to tell you one more time’ mum to name but a few…and I’d love to know your hump indicators!)

It’s the impact of the hump that got  me thinking…how do we recover? Or even avoid it? Why is it so powerful?

Likely outcome in mummagrizzlybear house can include; being shitty with the daddybear on his return from work, lack of desire to prepare anything spectacular for tea, grouchyness with babybears and feeling mighty shit about my parenting blunders of the day, massively reflecting over my life choices and errors along the way, silently ignoring the spouse once babybears are banished to their beds, hours wasted staring at a screen looking for solutions and torturing myself with happy pictures from other well rounded successful mumma’s and lastly going to bed with no real fresh perspective, a shit nights sleep and waking to start round whatever we are on today.

So I’ve concluded. The hump, although inevitable, warranted and justified, is unhelpful. Unhelpful to my well-being, my babybears  and my husband and it’s a perpetuating cycle. Each day fuelling the next. It’s a magnet. A shit magnet. A mental filter that prevents us from acknowledging the positives or even noticing them at all. There lies it’s power.

‘Disqualifying the positives’ in CBT language describribes one of the unhelpful thinking errors that we often make. It’s non-discriminative. Anyone can develop these thinking errors. Many of us live with them unknowingly. Or unaware at least that we can take control back and reshape our thinking. With effort. With time. We can work towards a more rational thinking style and learn to appreciate, notice and focus in on the positives instead of dismissing them.

Now… if you have reached this point thinking ‘but in my life there simply are no positives’ you’ll be pleased to know you are not alone in this thinking but that this too is an example of an unhelpful thought; a negative automatic thought or NAT (for anyone wanting to research more on CBT… start with NATs). Perhaps nobody has ever helped you to focus in on the small stuff. The bits that we take for granted (or our children/partners may do). The parts of our day we could celebrate or rejoice in or feel proud about. Perhaps this concept is new to you. It might feel strange. To praise oneself? Surely that’s self indulgent? However, if you are a mumma (who does or does not do the hump!) Or a daddybear for that matter, teaching yourself this skill is important. Important to your well-being but doubly important to your babybears as you model to them just how to appreciate, recognise and be proud of accomplishments no matter how big or small, completing goals and feeling positive.

Top quick tip is to throw yourself into this… grab a piece of paper and start penning yourself a list of 3 things each day that you can feel good about…

Today I felt proud when…

Today I enjoyed…

Today I achieved…

Here’s my self esteem journal for ideas

So, you still might be thinking, ‘some days I don’t accomplish anything’ but on those days if I were to share that I’ve been known to write ‘today I accomplished getting dressed’ and ‘I had a positive experience when I managed to wash and put the dishes away in the same day’ and lastly ‘ something I did positive today for someone was NOT murder the kids’… you can see how you can start small and work up to bigger things to feel good about. I’d emphasize though that the beauty from this comes from being pleased with yourself for the small stuff. If every time you completed a chore someone thanked you and reminded you how appreciated you are, you’d start to feel pretty loved and noticed. We can do this for ourselves. Equally if we celebrate what the universe throws our way it’s far easier to feel good about the weather; it’s sunny, I’m enjoying the warmth; it’s wet, I’m watering my garden that I love to sit in when it’s hot. The traffic jam is a welcome chance to enjoy more songs on the radio or take same deep breaths and ‘me’ time; the early rising kiddies means we can fit more into a day, my babybears 765th argument today prompted me to reach out for 10 minutes of help and I’m proud that I did!…etc etc… even mumma having the hump brought about time to reflect and more importantly to stop procrastinating over what to blog about! 

Most people I share this with struggle most with allowing themselves to feel proud. I ask parents to then list the things they are proud of their children for…then hold up the mirror and help them see how they have facilitated in those triumphs and just how they too deserve to feel proud. Remember, you can start small. I’ve been proud of myself for committing to my journal/ having an early night/ finishing a course/ speaking my mind…its so varied!

Step one, start a self esteem journal,

Step two, Turning negatives into positives

Step three, pass it on, recommend it, share it, help someone else, ask your kids to do it.

Practising this, will inevitably help your self awareness grow, increase the likelihood of you being able to reframe negative unhelpful thinking and will hopefully help you ground yourself enough allowing you to recharge in preparation for another day of hurdles. 

Half terms and holidays can be mummagrizzlybear’s biggest challenge but that in itself opens up heaps to feel proud about… cos lets face it, another day has passed and 2 x babybears are still alive and I’m currently sat in the sun drinking just one small, very civilised glass of vino and not being hurled off to the nut house….just yet!

Let me know how you get on. And if you need help, tap into the #virtualvillage (see my previous post https://mummagrizzlybear.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/jumping-on-the-solidaritea-bandwagon-and-expanding-my-virtualvillage-support-network/?preview=trueof your support network…talk about it…ask for help.

Jumping on the #solidaritea bandwagon and expanding my #virtualvillage support network

Saluting those who were slated for being bloody awesome and highlighting the benefits of the virtual support network so many of us connect with

I started blogging as a therapeutic means for offloading. I follow other bloggers; some who share my passions and some who I may never have connected with if it were not for the wonderful world wide web. I have laughed and cried reading and sharing in their journeys. Before blogging, I felt lost and alone in my thoughts and overwhelmed by isolation. These feelings, it dawns on me, could be brought about by a whole manner of life experiences, not just my circumstances. So, wow, there are millions of people world wide needing a place to be heard and wanting a way to connect with people who ‘get them’ and their plight.

Whether you know exactly how you want to come across or whether you know exactly who you want your audience to be or whether you intend to be funny, ironic, emotional, honest or any other creation of yourself and whether you are a realist or a fantasist and whether or not you are technomologically minded (yep that’s a word now); your blog, is your blog. Yes it is potentially ‘out there’ for all to see, but it is yours and nobody, so far as I know, has the right to tell you what the bloody hell to do with it. Man, if this is the only space in your life where this fact is true, than even more credence to you. Sure, we open ourselves up to comments and critique; but that in my book is a conversation starter and i’m all for communication!

I’ll keep this short. I refuse to name the media source that is getting so much publicity for slating the ‘slummy mummys’ blogs but I was overjoyed this morning to clock the revolution. I love a good healthy battle! #solidaitea … now I’m not pretending that I am ‘up’ on how to use hash tags nor how to link other people/blogs to this post… but… I am doing my bit, my way, to salute those that were knocked for doing what I consider to be an amazing job! Go you lot. What a great come back! (If I were in the least bit aware of how to copy the link to the facebook post I am referring to…it would be inserted here… anyone who does read this and wants to teach me…please do get in touch! Lol)

https://www.facebook.com/hurrahforgin/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

did that link work?!

As it happens, the slating of a fish finger tea amongst other things was the topic of my morning conversation with my 9 year old. Who…for the record…doesn’t even like fish fingers and as a rule, tends to have packed lunches for school… but guess what tomorrow is… it’s only a ruddy special school dinner day … this time the scam to get as many kids as possible to have school dinners on the day I assume the government takes some sort of stats and figures about how many children they feed hot school meals to, is beautifully entitled CORNISH FISHING INDUSTRY CELEBRATION LUNCH… otherwise known as fish fingers and chips! And of course my non fish finger eating poppet ‘needs’ to be in on this. I mean, who’d want to miss out on that!?

So fellow bloggers who rallied together to bring about that sense of #solidaritea, if our education settings can do it and call it a celebration nonetheless, perhaps certain media sources should spend less time attempting to bully and shame hardworking, life supports like yourselves and instead look at the real world that we live in!

Only yesterday, a day that allowed me to be a little braver than usual #PDAday, (a topic that I am passionate about because of my babybears disability), I connected with thousands of people quite unexpectedly. I’m new to this and it was overwhelming in a positive way to see that other people just like me, benefit from reading each others stories and just like me, have felt isolated and lost.

Long ago, I was told by a parenting whizz of a relative, that, a child could not be raised by its parents alone…it would take a whole village to raise a child.  When your community is small (in our case because of exclusion/disability/judgements) then you need to reach out to a #virtualvillage for support. And when you do… it is AMAZING. Many of us are doing this already, it is that day and age where we connect with people who we may not have seen for months or years, we join social media groups online and communicate with people we have never met, we have access to a wealth of information online without ever having to ‘study’ as such and so we build our village, our network, our community. Sure it’s even better if you have the face to face kind too but even when we do, sometimes, unless they truly understand your plight/predicament it can be hard to connect properly and share honestly with them, and that is if you are successfully making enough time to be able to do so around whatever roles you are managing. So i’m all for expanding the #virtualvillage.

I met people yesterday who shared that they’d been so alone… we can all make a difference here. A ‘like’, a ‘comment’, a ‘tag’, a ‘share’.. it is so easy (ha…she says!) but in doing so, we let that other person know that they connected with us. We close the gap on isolation. We can welcome each other into our #virtualvillage .

Please do not be alone. Come and find me on facebook. I’m doing my best to work out how I keep that linked with my blog! https://www.facebook.com/mummagrizzlybear/

I’m certain, that there is a more official way to share these links but this is the only way I have sussed out… Some of my virtualvillage includes:

https://www.facebook.com/thepdasociety/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/groups/pdauk/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/hurrahforgin/

https://www.facebook.com/theunmumsymum/

https://www.facebook.com/hashtaglifewithboys/

There are hundreds of people, pages and groups that contribute to my support network. However I am slow but learning and seriously must get on with the pile of paperwork I need to give my attention for my sons EHCP! Normal life must resume.