Jeez, don’t ask me!!
Actually and seriously, I do have something to say on the subject of not coping, an area I have plenty of experience in.
This post is brought to you by all the people who’ve ever said to me and other mums of kids with additional needs kids/twins, triplets and more/ FIFO husbands/babies and toddlets etc etc
‘I don’t know how you cope?’
Not every day, we just don’t. But we learn to cope with the not coping, without causing serious damage to ourselves or the kids.
My speciality seems to be falling at the final fence; I manage OK until JUST before my husband comes home… and then fall apart… sometimes whilst he’s on the actual plane, doing that long 14 hour flight from Dubai into Sydney.
That happened the last time he came home. I was a weeping, gibbering wreck all the Saturday. When he got home at 11pm, we were all asleep, thank goodness.
So this is the last week of his time away, again. It’s a five-day countdown to Saturday night.
These past few months have been hard as both hubby and I have been to Scotland during his time off.
We’ve only seen each other for three and a half weeks out of the past four months. FFS.
So little time and the reasons for hubby’s trip home are sad: his dad is very ill.
There are plenty of reasons for not coping all the time.
Anyway, here are a few thoughts on coping when not coping:
1. Name Those Feelings
It’s the old know thyself scenario. As ever.
In my case I’ve got a new sensation, terrible loneliness. Which no chatters to friends or phone calls to sisters can soothe.
This is a deep loneliness for my partner and co-pilot as parent. Not much can be done about it, but at least it’s named.
2. How’s the stress showing?
In my case, I had a couple of losing my temper situations… not pleasant and quite scary.
I shouted so loud I hurt my throat and I kicked a rubbish bin in sheer temper and frustration – and broke it. Oh the shame, the embarassment.
But if I scared myself, how do the kids feel?
I’m their one and only blood relative in the southern hemisphere. I needed to NOT lose my temper… so I wept instead at the weekend when one son threw his magnificent tantrum.
Actually weeping is better, and it’s fine to cry when worn out and distraught.
3. Reduce the load
I’ve let the twin’s teachers know that if no homework is done, it’s not the end of the world. Just reducing expectation helps me a lot.
Ditto with my oldest son’s teachers. I often help him with homework as most of it is far too hard for him: not this week.
The dinners have been… errr…. quite crap… Indian takeaway, pizza, McDonalds…. pasta and tomato sauce tonight (wholemeal – small victory!).
And… whilst the kids eat a pretty processed diet for a few nights, I’m actually eating really well: healthy, fresh food plus lots of dark chocolate and green tea.
4. Ask For Help
And if you’re not good at this, practise, practise, practise. I have been asking people to help with picks and drops and with playdates for twins. People like to help.
Sometimes having many issues and lots of family dysfunction can have a silver lining; there are lots of friendly recovery meetings on all over Sydney which I can go to and they’re free. I’ll be at a few this week.
And I’d booked a psych appointment for this week after having felt such a mess last time we were at the final hurdle.
5. Plan Some Fun Stuff
I’m meeting my good mate Benison O’Reilly on Friday at the Gidget Ladies Luncheon. This annual event is a fundraiser for Gidget, the NSW body which raises awareness about perinatal anxiety and deoression. It’s always an emotional event, and will most definitely be this year. But all for a good cause, and it’ll be great to catch up with Benison.
And we can feel proud of ourselves too. We co-wrote Beyond The Baby Blues with Cathie Knox, who is CEO of the Gidget Foundation. It’ll be a pleasure to see Cathie, and it’s always inspirational to hear her speak. She and her husband, obstetrician Vijay Roach, are passionate advocates for mental health for mums and dads.
Then there’s the pub get-together for Digital Parents on Saturday. Who’d like to mind my twinnies so I can go?
See, I said I was better at asking for help!
And I’m remembering that mindfulness works, so does gratitude and there’s so much to be grateful for.
This blog is great therapy for me and my often-addled mind. But the therapy is usually in getting completely absorbed in reviewing photos, writing about lovely Sydney places and feeling satisfied when a post is posted.
But it’s good to use it for a wee emotional splurge too. Thanks for reading.
Your tips on coping when you’re not coping would be much appreciated too, and helpful to people reading. Thank you.
How are you coping today?