Agony Aunt for Mums

Problem Corner: Lost Myself and Can’t Find My Feet

Agony Aunt for MumsThe Problem

I received an email from a Mum a week or so ago that reminded me so much of what many of us feel at times in our lives:

I feel like I’ve lost myself and really can’t do anything, be a good mum, work or even decorate our house which we moved in last year. I don’t really think I’m depressed, but just can’t find my feet. 

 

I got a little more information from her, and here are the cliff notes, which I bet many of you can relate to as well:

  • 2.5yr old daughter who is not a good sleeper and goes to nursery two days per week
  • started her own consultancy business that her husband joined, but stopped working when had daughter and now feels unneeded in the business, although does some admin for it.  Can’t think of what to start instead and doesn’t have the confidence in herself as feels she is out of date now.
  • about a stone heavier than before having baby, size 14, doesn’t drink enough enough water, doesn’t priorities exercise each week
  • does wear makeup, but doesn’t spend much on self
  • organising building work on house
  • no nearby family support, a few friends
  • closeness is lacking with husband and intimacy is limited

 

Such a classic situation don’t you think bless her heart?

 

My Answer

Don’t feel bad lovely, this is such a normal way to feel and place to be, it doesn’t mean you have done something wrong or aren’t a good mother.  For a start having children changes our priorities and values, which can be very discombobulating.  It means that things that were once important to us aren’t anymore, so we have a bit of an identity crisis. We also lose power in our relationships because we often feel like we are contributing less.  Plus we have to do a pile of stuff that is just plain boring and doesn’t light our fires.  Then we add to that whole mess by not taking care of ourselves, and so the spiral continues down and down.

I like to work within our limitations, rather than rage against them.  So the idea is to find you ways of improving how you feel whilst you are still the major caretaker of your daughter, as things naturally shift when they start school.

 

There are several issues here, and this is the priority that I would look at them in:

1) Health and Fitness

2) Beginning to research ideas for work that can blossom when your daughter goes to school

3) Spend more time with husband

4) Sort out intimacy

 

The reason I’ve put them in that order is because if you gain confidence in yourself, the relationship will improve, if not disappear altogether.  The key is to start with yourself, even if all/some of the problems seem to be ‘out there’.  The key to when we are feeling so low is to give ourselves a fighting chance by strengthening the body; it’s amazing how that can help with how we feel emotionally and mentally.

When you says you are not ‘depressed’; hmmm who knows where the thin line between being down and being depressed really is.  I would warn you that you are close to that line.  I’m going to assume that you are well enough to be able to sort it out yourself when given clear action steps to follow.  HOWEVER, if this doesn’t work, please come back to me and I’ll give you a way of motivating yourself.  If that doesn’t work then I’ll know what to do, so don’t worry; it just means we need to tackle a few confidence issues directly.

 

Action Steps

 

1) Supplements

You are that tired that I think you might need some supplements.  Pop to a health food shop with a shop assistant who knows lots about it.  Also read my posts about getting more energy and supplements.

 

My favourite immediate energy boosters are:

  • Blueberries – magic little creatures!
  • 2xcup Epsom salts in bath – buy a BIG bag from health food shop when you are there.
  • Floradix – magic in a bottle
  • Omega 3,6 & 9 – otherwise my brain doesn’t work

 

2) Hydration

Your body can’t take in all those lovely vitamins and minerals unless you drink enough liquid.  It’s like trying to run a car without oil.  So you need to reduce the coffee by 1 or 2 cups, and not drink after late afternoon and drink more water.  Check out my post about why hydration is so important.

My top tips for adding water into your day is:

  • Drink water when you and your daughter brush your teeth – that’s three extra glasses.
  • Have a bottle of water in the car for when you go on the nursery run or to the shops.
  • Have a specific time of day mid-morning where you have a glass of water.

 

3) Nutrition

It doesn’t sound like you need to lose weight, but I reckon your eating isn’t helping the situation.  There is lots more information in my section called ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks‘, but here are the most important points:

  • Eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day (one with breakfast, one for snack mid morning and mid afternoon, then one or two with dinner and/or lunch)
  • Use a good fruit juice not from concentrate (counts as 1x5aday)
  • Eat different colours of fruit and vegetables
  • Eat something for breakfast however small
  • Eat a balanced meal with Protein AND Carbs AND half a plate of vegetables/salad (or fruit for dessert)
  • Cut back on the sugar – it’s a big downer (I’d say the same for alcohol if you were drinking much)

 

4) Exercise

A certain amount of exercise will get you healthier, a bit more will get you fit.  I know that you are running around with your daughter, but that won’t give you the endorphins or fun that exercise can give you.

  • On the days when she is at nursery your FIRST priority is to go to the gym or somewhere and do a fun class like dance/zumba or something that will calm your worries like yoga.  No cleaning or admin for the company until this is done!
  • EVERY day go outside for a 15 minute walk – even with your daughter

 

5) Ideas To Blossom

You aren’t ready to ‘find something to do’ yet.  So let’s get realistic and let’s get you researching ideas as your confidence improves.

  • Get yourself a notebook and write in it every idea you’ve ever had on what you could do.  DO NOT discount any ideas, even if you think you are unqualified now or you think they are pipe dreams.  Then keep adding ideas.
  • For each idea write the Pro’s and Con’s down.  There should be the SAME number of Pro’s as Con’s.  If not, you need to think a bit more about that idea to find more.
  • Also write what qualifications, skills or experience you have that might help and the additional training or experience needed that you don’t have.
  • Get into the habit of counting 3 blessings every night, even on a bad day there might have been a lovely rainbow, or good cup of coffee or hug from your daughter.  You can write them down if you like.
  • Get some of the rubbish out of your head and onto paper 1-5 times per week by writing all your worries and stresses down.  3 pages minimum.  Do it at least once per week.
  • I’m really not keen on you doing the ‘admin’ for your company, considering you started it initially and a virtual assistant is £20ph.  I see the logic in your doing it, but I don’t think that it’s good for your psychology.  We’ll chat more about this next time!

 

Then

Come back and let me know how you are doing regularly (you can comment on this blog anonymously).  Once you are feeling stronger in yourself, we are going to look at subtly shifting the power in your relationship with a clever trick that I know and getting you more sparkly.  Then we can look at your relationship itself – I have a few blog posts scheduled that you are going to like, so make sure that you have subscribed to my blog by email as well!

You might want in a week or two to buy my book ‘Six Steps To A Sparkling You And Enjoying Being A Mum‘.  I’m in the middle of writing version 2 (with just a few minor changes and tweaks) which will also be out in paperback.  Once that comes out I’m raising the price from 89p!  (Remember you can read a kindle book without a kindle).

What do you think?

I’d love to know what you think, whether you are the originator of the question or not?

Have you felt like this too?  Can you let her know that it’s normal and only temporary, especially if she starts to take care of herself more as I suggested?

Or do you disagree and think she should go straight for sorting out her work and relationship?

Got a problem of your own?  Submit it to my problem corner.

4 comments

  1. Oh, that’s me! And my friend. And the other one. And her…….
    You are completely right, of course Lisa, but I like your other approach as well as this advice – just change one thing today. Stick with it until it’s a habit, then change one more. So if you only stock up on blueberries and drink more water that is more than you did yesterday.
    And a final bit of advice – this is normal, and it does get so much better, very soon. 3 year olds are much more predictable than 2, and 4 year olds more so. They are still a challenge, but not in the same energy-sapping way that they were. Hang on in there. 🙂

    1. Thanks Actually Mummy, it’s great to have someone else back me up so that she believes me and doesn’t just think I’m trying to be nice!

      I agree about age – although the problems don’t get easier, there is more independence when they start school. You can literally tell which mums at school still have young kids and which ones don’t!

  2. I can relate to every part of that, i compleatly agree on sorting health first as the extra energy and lifted mood really helps with the other things. I visited a nutritionalist when suffering with pnd and this turned everything round for me. Trouble is once i felt better the bad habits kicked back in and i know i need those supplements again now to turn things back round. The other thing i would recommend is blogging as a good way to bounce ideas and find your feet again.
    Cat x

    1. Thanks Catherine – I’m a huge fan of nutrition, but it really helps for someone to share their story like you. I know what you mean – I slip too. But it gets easier to pick yourself up each time (she says, tucking into a packet of crisps!).
      Totally agree with the blogging, especially if she decides to start a small business as well at some point.

I love hearing what people think about my posts!