A number of times in the last year I have said to friends and family that I don’t think I’m fun. It’s always responded to with ‘of course you are, don’t be silly, what on earth do you mean?’
But seriously. For a long time. I haven’t been fun.
And I haven’t always known how to explain this feeling. But honestly I feel like I have forgotten to take time and put in the effort to have fun. I have forgotten that Mums can and should have fun too.
When did this feeling begin?
The last few years have been so serious and hectic for us as a family. (As it is for most families with young children).
Firstly, I fell pregnant 14 months after our first child. I experienced crippling sciatica for the last 4 months of that pregnancy and struggled to walk. Usually the days would end in my crying and stumbling my way to bed at 7pm while hubby did everything.
The sciatica disappeared as soon as Ethan was born but I was smashed again. We had a difficult baby whose sleep was terrible, and a toddler whose tantrums were next level. Owen once eye gouged his brother to get him off the boob to have a cuddle.
I sought help from my GP and I was diagnosed with perinatal anxiety and depression. In hindsight I probably should have accepted medication, but a long 12 months of counselling with a psychologist and I gradually came out of the fog of PNDA.
Then when Jeremy and I had gotten ourselves back in charge of our lives, our health, both physical and mental, life halted again.
The biggest scare of my life
My 31 year old healthy husband had a cardiac arrest while at footy training. His heart was stopped for 28 minutes, took 9 defib shocks to get his heart going again. Which was followed by an anxious and terrifying stay in ICU, then 2 weeks on the cardiac ward having a defib put in to keep an eye on his heart.
We then had a long 6 months of no driving or working because we had no idea what having a defib would mean for an electrical linesman.
A good surprise this time!
On the 7th August, we were told that Jeremy was cleared to drive again! On the way home from that apt, I realised that I had no recollection of when my last period was. Off to buy a pregnancy test and surprise… we were pregnant!!
Two weeks earlier, we had a talk that we wanted to get through 2017, get past Ethans 2nd bday and wait until 2018 to talk about having another baby. So you can imagine our surprise! Paige obviously wanted to be born and couldn’t wait! As soon as we found out we were pregnant I panicked that I wasn’t ready and couldn’t handle 3 kids when I was already struggling with the 2 kids we had.
Enter Paige our amazing baby
The idea of going back down the rabbit hole of depression and anxiety again terrified me. So I backed off from everything and focused on making sure I wasn’t pushing myself to stress, and kept calm and relaxed both for myself and the baby. Thankfully Paige is an amazing baby, she is calm, smiley and always happy. And she is a good sleeper… so thank you universe!
There was our silver lining. Life was getting back to normal, we were adjusting to life with 3 kids, and the boys got a cold, and Paige caught it too. Paige ended up in hospital for 6 days with Bronchilitis. That was the hardest thing I have had to watch since seeing Jeremy laying in the ER unconscious.
Seeing my 5 week old baby girl laying there so lethargic, with a nasal gastric tube and oxygen tube in her nose, just struggling to breathe was heartbreaking.
A few weeks before this happened I had gone for a referral for counselling with a psychologist as I could feel myself falling back into anxiety and not feeling myself again. Thank god I did, I was able to see a psychologist soon after we got home from the hospital. That was 4 months ago.
I have been seeing my psychologist regularly to help me process all the traumatic and difficult events of the last few years and it is helping me immensely.
Mum NEEDS to have fun too!
One thing I have realised that I have been missing, is having fun. Being silly with not only my kids, but my friends. Mums should be having fun too! Telling jokes, dancing with my kids, tickling and wrestling with the boys. I was so caught up in the business of life and to-do’s and growing my own business and blog from home, that I forgot to stop and just have fun. And laugh. I miss laughing.
I have been forgetting that Mums should be having fun too. That it’s ok to leave your house a mess sometimes and walk to the lake to feed the ducks, or to play with the kids in the backyard or do crazy obstacle races around the house before bedtime, or to do colouring in pages and play with lego, or to just stop and enjoy the kids.
Yes the last few years have been hard and there has needed to be a lot of serious adulting to help us actually survive and keep a roof over our heads. But now that we are virtually out the other side, we need to get the fun back to balance out the serious adulting.
My personality, sense of humour and identity have taken a serious hit in the last few years. Becoming a Mum will do that to you. Then add anxiety and depression and a couple of traumatic events into the mix and some days I barely know who I am anymore.
Making time to be an adult human in my own right definitely helps. This is where my crochet business and blog have really helped me.
If you think you might be struggling with Post Natal Depression and/or Anxiety, or know someone who might be, please do visit PANDA and go through their resources. They have a wealth of resources online and they have a wonderfully supportive helpline of people ready to chat when you are feeling at your lowest. Call now on 1300 726 306 .
Time to enjoy my kids… not just survive them.
My next wish when it comes to finding my fun again is to find my friendships again. I have friends who I know will always be there for me as I will always be there for them. But I feel like I have let those friendships slide in the last few years. And yes I had to because time and my sanity were very real limiting factors. But as this season of life slowly shifts and we move into our next season, I need my friends again!
It’s time to bring back cocktails and gossip with girlfriends. And I mean gossip, not kid talk. Time to joke and flirt with my husband again (I miss flirting!). No more just surviving and collapsing into bed each night just to start over again the next day.
So I hope you are remembering to have fun too fellow Mama. It is so important to our well-being and our mental health. Cheers to having some fun!