Two weeks ago today, I was stood at Manchester airport departures waiting to board a flight for a weekend in Barcelona with friends. Yep, you read that correctly. I was going away with FRIENDS. No husband, no kids, just me, in the Spanish sun. Seriously, yay me!!
But I didn’t make it. I ended up being carted off to hospital with severe chest pain.
I won’t go into the details but the doctors’ conclusion was that I was exhausted. My body just told me to stop. So I did. I took a week off work (I have a supportive boss), stayed at home, napped, read, watched tennis and napped some more.
I needed it. I’d been busy with work, travel (for work), financial stuff, helping my mother move house and various other things that were probably just weighing down my mind. It’s the last group that probably did it.
When I think back, for the week or two prior, I’d been forgetting things, forgetting times, forgetting plans. My meticulously organised diary of reminders and lists was slipping.
But it took the fear of a heart attack to stop me. Ok I didn’t ‘stop parenting’ completely. I still did bedtime stories and helped with homework, but my mammoth mental mummy to do list was drastically reduced.
Thankfully I had the hubster to pick up the drop offs and pick ups, kit washing and various other tasks for me – I appreciate a lot of people don’t. But the whole scenario really reminded me about the importance of rest, the need to look after myself and the benefit of taking help from others.
Is it a motherly trait to take everything on and decline any offers of help? I don’t know, but we need to try and let things go. The so-called mental load that mothers carry is very real.
Whilst I in my sick bed, I worried about the washing not being done on the day I usually do it, or the nutritional value of the boys’ meals. But guess what… they were clothed and fed EVERY DAY. Shock. Horror. It might not have been according to my routine but it happened.
Now I’m back to better health I’m really trying to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We are splitting more jobs and I’m actively asking hubster to take ownership of things. I’m getting back to my WI activities and trying to exercise more. I’m even tempted to try running again! My health is too important to be damaged because of swimming kits and packed lunches.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, we do need to slow down, genuinely share the load and let nature take its course. Don’t just wait for offers of help, try and ask for it every now and then.