Self care, should and mammy guilt

3 things I'm not doing so well on at the moment, and naturally enough, they all tie in nicely together. I've noticed a pattern the last couple of years (what, another one? Yes. Really) When I start to slip mentally, my ability to look after myself physically goes with it. I'm not talking major physical neglect, but there are definitely things I'm less inclined to do when I'm not feeling great that I could probably add to my already lengthy list of tells. I don't look after myself properly. There are little things, like not moisturising after the shower, slightly bigger things like completely neglecting my skin and then getting frustrated with the inevitable (med related and therefore unavoidable) outbreak that swiftly follows, slightly bigger again things like not paying heed to what I'm all adds up to a general state of not feeling physically great on top of not feeling emotionally great. None of it is consciously done though. I might notice that I'm not doing the above, but I'll brush it aside with excuses - chiefly, I'm tired, and then later, I couldn't be arsed. But they're all flags, they all point to not being as well as I could be or as I'd like to be.  They're also all flags that have been flying big time the last couple of weeks.

As usual at this stage, 'should' becomes a regular feature in my vocab, despite Therapist working hard for years to get me to eliminate it entirely. The problem with 'should' is that it very quickly becomes a stick to beat myself with and turns into guilt. All around me I see things I 'should' be doing - housework, trips with the kids, activities with the kids, catching up with people, working on Please Talk - but I'm not doing it. Should is on fire at the moment with the kids, which is where the Mammy guilt comes in. I'm not doing the holidays right - I should be bringing them on picnics, to the beach, doing fun art activities etc etc etc. I've taken this time off to spend with them and instead I'm working on the blog/reading/gardening/hiding from them cos they're making me absolutely crazy. Obviously (in the way my mind works) this makes me a horrible mother. What class of a mother doesn't want to spend every waking second of her time with her kids??

If I take a step back from all this self flagellation I can see a little more clearly. It's normal to get frustrated being at home all day with small people, but I feel like it's become almost a mantra - we've got two polar opposites regularly appearing online - the pinterest mom, and the my kids are making me crazy mom. There's no middle ground. I have (very) occasional pinterest moments. I have (slightly more frequent) they're making me crazy moments. I also have moments where I'm fit to burst with love and pride for them. But the only two I'm able to see as acceptable are the first and last. No more than I struggle with when I'm not ok, I also struggle with being not good enough as a mother, whatever that may mean. At the moment, I seem to be translating that to mean that any time at all I lose my patience, which has been a very regular occurrence the last few days, I'm not a good enough mother.

So what's happening in my house right now? I've caved, and my boy is playing with his DS. He's in his element. We're just back from the playground, and my girl is off with one of her little buddies. I'm writing. But I feel so guilty, because I'm not actively engaged with them, and when we were out, I had to keep laying down the law. On some level, I realise it wouldn't be healthy for any of us to be constantly together, and for them to constantly rely on me for entertainment. But the should/self care hating/guilty part of me can't accept that. I also realise that they need firm boundaries, but I get so frustrated and irritated listening to myself that I imagine it must be 100% worse for them..........

I haven't seen Therapist for 4, if not 5 weeks now. I'm really, really starting to feel it. My patience is worn thin, and I'm snappy as feck. All of the above, all of it, needs thrashing out with her. I have so many things firmly in a box right now, and the lid is holding, just, but it wouldn't take much to blow it off entirely. As you can probably tell from the rambling nature of this post, my focus isn't awesome. I'm better than I was last week for sure but I'm edgy. And I still don't know whether she's actually willing to continue being my Therapist..........

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