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?’
And I haven’t always known how to explain this feeling. But honestly I feel like I have forgotten to take time to have fun. I have forgotten that Mums can and should have fun too.
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 falling pregnant 14 months after our first child, I experienced crippling sciatica for the last 4 months of my 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 after bubs #2 was born but I was then smashed with both a difficult baby whose sleep was terrible, and a toddler whose tantrums were next level, who once eye gouged his younger brother to get him off the boob so he could have a cuddle.
Then after seeing my GP 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 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. 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 all followed by an anxious and terrifying stay in ICU, then 2 weeks on the cardiac ward having a defib put in to keep a track of his heart.
A long 6 months of no driving or working because we had no idea what having a defib would mean for an electrical linesman.
On the 7th August, we got the news that Jeremy was cleared to drive again and on the way home from that apt, I had a funny feeling that I had no recollection of when my last period was. Off to buy a pregnancy test and surprise… we were pregnant!!
It was a hell of a shock given 2 weeks earlier, we had a talk that we wanted to get through 2017, get past Ethans 2nd bday and then once we had reached 2018 we would think about having our third baby. Paige obviously wanted to be born and couldn’t wait! As soon as we found out we were pregnant I started panicking that I wasn’t ready and couldn’t handle 3 kids when I was already struggling with the 2 kids we had.
I was incredibly scared to go back down the rabbit hole of depression and anxiety again. 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 bang 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 with 5 doctors and nurses putting tubes and plugs all over him, still wearing his football boots from training.
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.
One thing I have realised that I have been missing, is having fun. Being silly with not only my kids, but my friends. Telling jokes, dancing with my kids, tickling and wrestling with the boys. I’ve been so caught up in the business of life and to-do’s and wanting to grow my own business and blog from home, that I have been forgetting to stop and just have fun. And laugh. I miss laughing.
I have been forgetting that Mums can and NEED to have 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 flat out just stop and enjoy the kids.
Yes the last few years have been hard and there has needed to be a lot of serious adulating 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 smashing 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.
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 all over again the next day.
Time to enjoy my kids… not just survive them.
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!
Kate Made It
Hi! I’m Kate, a stay at home Mum, crochet addict and designer, craft lover, Perinatal Anxiety and Depression survivor, PANDA Community Champion.
Self-care is not selfish. You deserve it and you need it.