Mum life is hard, no doubt about it. Life in general is hard, whether you’re a Mum or not.
There will be aspects of life that will always be hard, no matter what we do with our lives, whether we choose to have kids, whether we choose not to. Whether we work in an office from 9 to 5, 5 days a week, or whether we choose to piece together a full-time income in a flexible way that suits our dream lifestyle, there are always difficulties and challenges that we will face.
But there are also many things we can change, if we aren’t happy with our day-to-day life. Things that can help ours and our kids’ attitudes, emotions, and lives.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. To get a different outcome, we must make changes. We must do something different to get different results. Change can be scary, but change can be exciting and rewarding and thrilling and fulfilling.
One of my favourite quotes is ‘If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.’ – Jim Rohn.
Yes, it can be scary and hard to make a big decision like moving house, or city, or state, or even just changing your job. But aren’t you worth taking that chance? Aren’t you worth trying to have better days?
What if you were one job change away from your very best life? What if the next place you live inspires your dream creative business and is what helps you break free from the 9-5 grind?
Personally, I will do anything to avoid living another year like the last 2. They have been rough. And yes, part of that is completely out of my control, but some of it is within my control. And given the current state of the world, we have taken the chance and made a big change to get a different result this year.
We have taken our boys, (8 & 6) out of school and are exploring home education. I am very careful not to call it home school, because the version of home schooling that we experienced over the last two years, remote learning, did not work for us. The teachers we had did their very best, but it just didn’t work for our family. We were given a days’ worth of work for the kids at 8am, and they were expected to be on two different zoom calls at 9am starting said work. Not knowing what work we would be getting until the final hour was an added stress on the family, considering we had a very active 1–3-year-old, and a pregnant Mum and then a newborn over the last two years.
Another cause of stress was the unknown of how long we would be at school for, and with half days’ notice we would be thrown back into remote learning, or the sudden close contacts and subsequent isolation.
The summer break we have just emerged from has been one of great contemplation for our family. We have considered what our options are, living through another inconsistent, stress filled year like the last two. With no guarantees that kids will get a full week of school in before they were either sent into remote learning or be named a close contact and need to isolate. There does seem to be talk that there will be fewer school shutdowns this year, but I have very little faith in that and am just not up for another year of wondering and anxiety about it.
We have also considered what school will be like for our oldest who would be made to wear a mask for most of the day, and we just don’t want to put him and his mental health in that situation.
Yes, choosing home education is harder than sending them to school. But after doing lots of research on home education and natural learning styles, I am actually quite excited about this year and what it could mean for our family. And if we focus on having fun and making this year enjoyable, it can’t be any worse than the last two years have been, right?!
This change could mean more holidays, calmer mornings, enjoying reading together or finding things the kids are actually interested in.
This could mean more flexibility on the days when we just have no energy, and even more flexibility on the days when the kids get really stuck into something and are loving what they are doing and want to learn more about it.
This could mean more adventuring and exploring our neighbourhood and local area, rather than just seeing it as we drive in and out on our way to other places.
There is such a #mumlifeishard narrative and culture these days. And in general I don’t think it is helpful. Yes it does help to know that you aren’t alone, but there a difference between seeking support and playing the victim and not taking charge or control of your life because you are stuck in the ‘my life is just hard’ narrative.
Kids are hard (yes, they are, I’m not going to try and say that they aren’t).
I am also 100% supportive of the need to get away from your kids and enjoy some you time (heck it’s long overdue for me).
But I think it’s important we also spread the narrative that we need to make an effort to enjoy our kids. Now this is not me saying that Mums don’t make an effort with their kids. I know how hard all parents work.
What I am saying is we need to focus on enjoying them. I am guilty of this, but I am making a conscious effort to no longer play the victim in the life I built for myself. I am making a conscious effort to take control of what I can control, and to enjoy this life I have always wanted.
In a connected world, a lot of us are more disconnected than ever from the little people under our noses (speaking from experience here) and instead of pushing against their attitudes, behaviours, and rules rules rules, maybe we need to connect with them more.
Sit with them, play with them, be present with them more.
What if part of my up and down struggles over the last 6 years (since my first experience with Post Natal Anxiety and Depression) has been that I haven’t been connecting with them enough. What if part of my struggles has been the idea that I need goals separate to my kids, when maybe the goals that are right for me are undeniably intertwined and linked with them.
Maybe being more connected with my kids and being more in sync with them will help me feel more fulfilled, calmer, and more at peace in the world.
Who knows, one thing I know for sure is that I don’t know. But let’s see if this life change and 2022 can help me work out if that is part of what I have been searching for. If nothing else, we will have a fun year trying something new!