Burn Out, Guilt and Eating the Damn Ice Cream

I’m a bit tired of reading about how to fix ‘Mummy Burn Out’ lately.

And I’ll tell you why.

It’s because I’m burnt out.

And although I appreciate the well-meaning suggestions of those writers, there’s simply not enough ice cream or cups of tea in a quiet room to sort that out right now. And there’s not enough time or help getting around to have a bath or go out by myself. So although I get it- I need to look after myself with some ‘me time’ to continue to function- I’m just not sure that’s realistic. In fact, any spare second I get- I’m either doing dishes, laundry or writing this blog. And sometimes I’m doing all three things with a baby on a hip or a toddler counting the sultanas she’s spread out on the table behind me, while I feel grateful that I didn’t give her a yoghurt squeezie.

The thing is- I ran out of placenta capsules 3 weeks ago and despite co-sleeping with my tiny, the broken sleep is really starting to catch up with me now. Today I’m feeling especially tired actually. On top of that I also feel like there are decisions to be made all over the place with my sleep deprived brain. What am I going to do about work? What’s the plans for next week/ month/ year/ decade? Maybe I should go back to uni…

Whoops- just fell asleep with my eyes open a bit there.

I think because I’m usually a planner, and usually someone who likes to be doing something ALL THE TIME and really using my brain- my mind is just searching for things to occupy itself. But it’s also so completely wrecked that I’m just not ready to make any sort of proper big decisions. I’m barely able to put my pants on the right way around. So if you see me in the supermarket staring at the back of two tins of beans or something- you’ll know my poor addled brain is trying to make this action a decent enough problem for me to solve.

I’ve said in earlier posts that the guilt is real these days too. When it was just one baby- I skirted around this a bit. I watched Kristina Kuzmiuc videos and I was forgiving of myself. Well not anymore. I think the thing people leave out about Mum guilt is that you are hard on yourself for things you would never criticise in someone else. Every day starts with a dose of guilt that I didn’t get up early enough for a run, with a side of- let my husband get out of bed before me to get the toddler up. I know she’s less moody in the mornings if I get her up. But did I drag myself out of bed for that? Nope. Next up is my guilt over the state of my kitchen- the fact that there are dishes everywhere. And while we’re worrying about that- when am I ever going to put the clean laundry away? Maybe never… I’m a terrible housewife and soon I will need to just buy new baskets for the washing that is clean, folded and never put away. Guilt, guilt, guilt. On the other hand- somewhere later in the day I get my guilt on that I’m too worked up about housework and haven’t paid enough attention to the girls. Haven’t sung enough songs, read enough stories, pushed enough swings or given enough horsey rides. Have I sent them the message that playing with them interrupts the much more ‘important’ crap I need to do? Then I see a meme or two detailing in some way all the things parents miss when obsessing about household tasks and I feel like crap. Then a sprinkling of guilt that I’m spending too much time or energy on just one child, or not fostering their relationship effectively. Then guilt about the fact that I love the quiet of nap time. Or how I dread bath times at the moment and usually end up in the shower with both kids and rarely get around to washing anyone’s face properly. And that’s not even skimming the surface or mentioning the guilt I feel about just wanting my poor sick, neglected husband to take his rattly cough out of the house so we don’t all get it/ the baby stays asleep.

The moral of the story is that tiredness, guilt and decision-making have me totally fried. Like an egg, my friends.

Chances are if you’re a parent to two tiny people (or more) and are reading this, you may be feeling a bit on the similar side.

While self-care is important in both the long and the short term, to me at the moment it just feels a little bit like opening a teeny tiny cocktail parasol in a monsoon.

BUT (there is a but)…. I think what we brain dead guilt-ridden types need to cling to in a roundabout sort of way is that it’s all going to be ok. The children will be great people who we love and cherish regardless. And the big decisions will get made when they can be and it’ll all come out in the wash. And of course, the husband will almost certainly get better and lose the cough before anyone smothers anyone else.

For me in particular, as someone who has worked with a lot of different sorts of families over the last decade- I get some sense of peace by looking at the kids I’ve known over that time to reassure myself that my own kiddies will be just fine and that shit will work itself out. Maybe that sounds a bit gloomy or a bit self-centred. But what I mean by it is- there’ve been kids from the best parents in the world, there have been kids from the worst parents in the world. There’ve been broken homes, happy homes, special-needs, neglect, trauma, overworked parents, second-languages, big and small families, big and small hearts sitting in the background of these children. What they have in common is- they’re all wonderful little people. There’s something good in all of them. So while I may not be the perfect parent and I’m sure I’ll be passing on a complex or two to my girls- I’m just trying not to let myself feel too crappy about that. Especially since I could be doing a far shittier job or even just the same job under much more difficult circumstances and still come out with nice kids.

Because the end game is- raising humans.

Nobody’s perfect. Especially as adults. But it’s my belief that MOST people are GOOD people in essence. Of course there are some turds out there, and I’m sure they have their reasons for being that way. But most human people mean well I think.

So with that as the big picture- I’m trying my very best to just look at the good things I achieve in a day a little bit harder and a little bit more often. I doubt going for a long walk or eating nothing but health food is going to rid me of my guilt and exhaustion. Actually I’m pretty confident that those feelings are here for the long haul. But maybe paying attention to those positives and remembering that one day I will have raised some truly glorious adult humans will at least remind me that it’s all worth it. Not to mention realising that they are both my favourite and the best, most amazing people I know already.

And now- as both my children are asleep (for now) and I’m not convinced that what I’ve just written is entirely in English- I’m off for a BIIIIIG coffee and maybe some ice cream or something. It may not stop the burn out, it may not stop me feeling guilty, and it may not help with the fact that I still really need to stick my kids in the bath later on. But it also can’t bloody hurt.


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