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  • Niamh

Finding My Joy

Over the last 22 months of motherhood, I could count on two hands the number of days I’ve let myself really feel the pure joy of being a mum.

The days I feel it are what I call ‘Carlsberg Days.’ Those days when things seem to come to me that bit easier. I don’t feel as stressed. There’s no tantrums or if there are, they are dealt with calmly by me. There’s laughter, there’s smiles, there’s fun and games, there’s me feeling like maybe, just maybe I’ve got this after all.

But I have to admit those days are few and far between.

Instead, most of the time I’m focused on trying to keep things (and me!) on an even keel.

Thinking about potential problems that may or may not happen, obsessing over small issues and turning them into end of the world dramas. Singling out the bad things I’ve done instead of the good.

To be honest, I’ve spent far much time wound up in a tight ball of anxiety, afraid to let things out in case it somehow disrupts my routine. As if worrying all the time is better than letting my guard down, relaxing and being happy, because that’s always when I’m broadsided and things go wrong.

It sounds stupid to someone who doesn’t suffer from anxiety, but this is my modus operandi.

Worry, worry, worry so I’m ready when something goes wrong, rather than enjoying things when they are going well.

While part of my struggle is also down to my experience with Post-Natal Depression, what I’m realising, is that keeping my eyes on problems and pitfalls has made me lose sight of the here and now; of my life as it’s happening in front of me. Consequently, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much

The thing is, we all have ebbs and flows in our lives. We all have times where some aspect of our life is in the shitter. Sometimes family life is going well, but maybe work is not or vice versa. But being a worrier magnifies the bad times to the detriment of any joy you might find in the good.

I’ve made great strides in overcoming my ‘worry-ful’ nature, but I’ve still got a long way to go. A lot of the time, I feel like I’m not ‘in’ the moment. Instead I’m outside of it worrying... too afraid to get in there and feel it.

Well no more.

Ever since I heard the news that Emma Mhic Mathuna had died, it’s as though a switch has flipped in my head. I’ve already blogged about my admiration for this amazing woman and her lasting legacy on the country.

So thanks to her, I’m going to try to focus on finding joy in my life everyday.

I’m going to put down the phone more and play with the baby, run around the garden and let myself go. Belly laugh with him, be silly and don’t be so wound up all the time. Enjoy the real moments, because they are so fleeting. Forget that the washing that needs to be hung out, the surfaces have to be cleaned, the deadlines waiting on my laptop, the milk that’s just been spilled. Ignore the million and one tasks in my head that need to be completed, the unrelenting thoughts about worries far off in the future which I cannot control at this moment.

All of it is going to stop… or at least if I can’t stop it, I’m going to turn down the volume on them.

For someone like me, it’s going to be hard.

Damn hard if I’m honest, but every time I feel myself go down that path of worry, that familair path of anxiety, I’m going to say, two words.

Remember Emma.

Remember how young she was, remember how much she loved her kids, remember how witty and strong she was. Remember her fire. Remember how her life was taken away from her much too soon. Remember how much she’d do anything to be in your shoes right now.

So thank you Emma and I’m not just talking about what you did for the women of this country, but what you’ve done for me. You story, your character, your strength; it has lit a fire in my eyes and I’m going to try to bring some of your hutzpah into my life and find my joy... for you, for me, for my son.

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