I stayed home sick the other day. But the truth is that I was not ‘ill’, I was not down with a virus or sick, in that sense of the word. But I was exhausted. Tired to the bone. Annihilated. Fatigued beyond measure…errr, ya! Ok, I know you get the picture.
There I was, sitting outside my son’s nursery, just across the road from my office, all ready to go into work. But it just seemed so overwhelming. I felt like I was drowning and that I was about to collapse! And I knew there just was no way I could put in a full day at work. I dropped him off and came back.
Was it any one thing that triggered it? I don’t think so. It was some things at work, some things at home, lack of sleep. Individually, none of it was a big deal, but it added up. And all together, it was just too much.
There was one day last week when my stress levels hit the roof though – I thought there was a dip in my milk supply, and then, my pump gave up on me. Even though I sorted it out in a few hours, possibly those few hours meant I took a big hit!
I desperately needed a break. I came home. I had a good cry. I slept for five hours uninterrupted. I had a long bath, and enjoyed a nice meal by myself. And I felt like my batteries were fully recharged.
As moms, new ones at that, we tend to go full throttle, without giving ourselves time to catch a breath. Even our down time isn’t really ours. Whether we are watching TV, sitting on the toilet or even trying to sleep, there is always too many things going on.
I have the best support system in the world – my husband, and I love my job, and I love constantly being up to something, I am extremely proud of how I seem to juggle work and parenting, and find time to write and travel and be oh so cool! So this was the last thing I expected. So I turned to the know-it-all, the ultimate knowledge source – Google!
And I found out that this state that I was in was fairly common, especially among the working moms. It even had a name – Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. According to the workingmother.com, this happens because in spite of it all, we refuse to slow down, causing increased levels of stress (which we don’t realize because it is what we now consider normal), which in turn affects overall well-being, without you even realizing it.
It doesn’t help that we are all in a constant state of high-alert, and vigilant, keeping an eye and ear out for bubba even while we are sleeping, and constantly multi-tasking, even at night (I get up to pump, pretty much during every single feed), and have put ourselves last in the list of priorities.
What I have learnt from this debacle: I may think I am superwoman – six months EBF, even through full time work, travelling and what not; jet setting – seeing three different countries; doing well at work.. It seemed like I was acing this whole working mom gig. But I am just a mere human. I failed to see that I was burning out in the process. Just like everyone else, I too need to slow down. I needed sleep. Uninterrupted restful sleep. Without the laptop and phone. Without Angry Birds. Without thinking about ten thousand things.
Please watch out for the signs. Come on, I have it fairly easy. No housework or cooking – I have house help. And my husband does more than his share in taking care of my wee one. So, if I felt this way; I can’t even imagine how a lot of you moms feel.
And if you feel like it is all catching up, please step back before you run out of steam. Get a babysitter or send bubba to the nursery, and send the husband to work, and just let some time be solely about getting rest, and by rest, I mainly do mean sleep for a few hours. SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP.
Just Do It
Or at the very least, do something that makes you feel good about yourself. As you. Not as mom, not as wifey, but just you!
- Go have a fancy meal!
- Wear that pretty dress and high heels (and then after half an hour hate yourself for deciding to wear heels, ofcourse!)!
- Even if it is to the doctor’s or to the supermarket, dab on that red lipstick and mascara! Don’ t worry about being overdressed! Sometimes, this might be the only outing you get for a while.
- Go out with the girls or the boys! Let the man look after your wee one.
- Go shopping! Buy something you would never ever have considered buying! Mix it up, change your style! Splurge!
- Get a haircut! All the hair is falling off anyway, so here is your chance to try on that new hair-do!
- Get a mani-pedi!
- Have that tub of ice cream, and crepes on the side!
- Watch something funny! Put on your fave TV series, and laugh your heart out!
- And sometimes, let it be, and just have a good cry! Let it flow!
And do not feel guilty for having a good time without the husband and the baby! Even supermoms deserve that break, mama! And remember, a happy relaxed mama means a happy relaxed baby, and family too! You are important, don’t you forget that!