I wouldn’t change my role as a Mum to my gorgeous Beans for all the money in the world, my Beans mean everything to me and I shall always be grateful that I have been lucky enough to have such amazing children BUT that doesn’t mean that every day is easy. It doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle, get angry and have days where I feel like I’ve reached breaking point. I think that comes with the territory for us Mums/main carers.
I have reached breaking point quite a few times just lately, the Summer holidays were full-on, fun and stressful in equal measures, trying to keep on top of the household chores, work and entertaining the children was tough. Aside from the usual day-to-day stuff there has been added stress which has taken it’s toll on all of us. My Mum notices when I’m struggling and always does what she can to help. I think as Mums we do notice these things, you can see on the faces of parents in the playground when they are having a bad day. The usual bubbly, laughing banter has gone and instead you see a parent staring into space, quiet as is their mind is on other things. So what can you do when you spot a Mum who is burnt out? I have a few tips . . .
Make a them a Cup of Tea
Or take them out for one if you’re rubbish at making tea. I’m never so sure that it’s the actual ‘cup of tea’ that makes everything better or just the act of someone doing something nice for you. Then sitting down with someone and talking seems to make the problems you are facing more manageable. Sometimes you just need the opportunity to talk and get things off your chest. When handling things alone, they can seem mammoth and frightening but once you start to talk, very often you solve your problems or make them less of a problem quite easily.
Offer them some ‘me’ time
Back in March this year I was having a particularly stressful time and my good friend Karin spotted this. She came over one afternoon and told me to go out for a few hours, to not return until at least 3.30pm at the earliest (giving me a minimum of 4 hours to myself). She gave me instructions to ‘just go and have some time to yourself’. Now this was an odd one as it was unexpected time, I hadn’t planned on doing anything so at first I didn’t really know where to go or what to do. I was a little bit like a child in a sweet shop, I wanted everything and anything all at once; do I go for a coffee and savour the time to enjoy a coffee alone, do I go shopping ‘just for me’, do I go for a walk in the sunshine?!?!? In the end I did a little bit of each and it was perfect, it was just the tonic I needed. I returned home a different Mum, ready to face my Beans once more. Karin of course was about ready to go home after looking after 5 very energetic children but she also had a glow about her because she felt good for making me feel better.
Brighten their day with flowers
Again this is something which Mum and Karin will often do for me and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Flowers fill the house with their sweet aroma and their burst of colour brightens up the room, lifting the spirits and sit as a constant reminder that someone cares, that you are not alone. Choosing the right flowers can really lift a persons spirit with their scent alone, conjuring up memories or calming their soul.
Create their very own sanctuary
Partners, are you paying attention? This one is for YOU! Run her a bath, find delicately scented candles to enhance her mood. I found this list online for scents and moods. Once you have found the right scent you need to make it look pretty. You can’t just plonk a candle down and be done with it, find eye-catching candle accessories, plants, flowers, plates, even adding a few strings of beads will add oppulence to a display and earn you brownie points too. Pop some soothing sounds on a stereo, leave her a book/magazine and pour a glass of her favourite drink then shut the door and leave her to unwind. For added brownie points you could even pop the towels in the tumble dryer so they’re soft, warm and fluffy ready for when she steps out of the bath.
Book a Pamper Treatment or even a weekend in a Spa
Ok so I get that this one might not be available for everyone’s budget, in which case see the previous tip for a more purse-friendly approach. I used to go for regular massages a few years ago and I loved them. They were my little treat but I haven’t had a massage treatment for years and I miss them. There is something very energising about taking that time to have all the attention focused on you whilst you drift off to your happy place. Massage isn’t for everyone though, so perhaps think along the lines of a new hair cut, manicure or pedicure, perhaps an eyelash tint. I last visited a Health Spa 3-4 years ago and hope one day to go for a whole weekend of pampering and relaxation but it’s far from cheap so I might have to wait a while.
Think about what makes the ‘Mum’ in your life happy and do something about it. It doesn’t always have to be a big gesture, it really is the thought that counts and can make the world of difference to someone who isn’t feeling on top form. Don’t bury your head in the sand and hope that she’ll stop moaning. Just because she has gone quiet, doesn’t mean she isn’t bubbling under the surface!!