Fill Your Cup

I was going to write a funny blog post today about not being a normal human since having kids, but since Mr 3 spent the morning shouting at me because his porridge is cold (because it had been sat in front of him for 20 minutes before he took a mouthful) and Miss 6 and Mr 1 kept fighting over her new birthday toys. So today I want to talk about something more important, and that is filling our cups.

The past two weeks have been HARD. Two weeks of sickness in our house, the kids and myself. It’s been another level of hard. So much vomit and snot. If it comes out of an orifice you bet I’ve had to clean it up. The littles have struggled and the grown ups have struggled. Routine has gone out of the window. It’s been relentless. Kids being sick generally is tough, but kids being sick when you’re sick is even worse, and kids being sick on their birthday so you can’t celebrate is just one more thing to push everyone over the edge. Even bedtime doesn’t give any reprise. As soon as one child gets over their 6th coughing fit of the night, the baby wakes up and refuses to sleep in his own bed, preferring to kick me in the head all night long. I’m not normally one to need ‘alone time’ but I haven’t been away from a child in two weeks, (not even to pee) The germ filled walls of my house (and my husband) have finally pushed me to take some time away and go to my happy place (hello Starbucks and Hobbycraft) I’ve been snappy, irritable and overly tired because I have had no time to breathe for the past two weeks. This begs the question why do we, as parents, feel the need to run on empty 95% of the time?

Since becoming a Mum, I’ve figured out that I can sustain myself by keeping my cup just half full, and the two things I need to do this are the gym and sleep, and neither of these things have happened in the past 14 days. As I write it, I know that’s not ok. Why do fully functional, rational adults think that it is ok? We shouldn’t see it as acceptable for the past 6 years to be able to be constantly running on half empty. We need to be able to spend time doing things to make sure that cup is always completely full, overflowing even.

On the rare occasion I do get a spare minute, I think it’s better to use that time to clean or have my husband do jobs around the house. If I want to go for a coffee with a friend, I can always take the baby with me and hope he naps right? I joke with my husband that I don’t like to have time away on my own as I don’t like to be alone with my own thoughts. This sounds like something sinister, I assure you it’s not. By this, I mean my inner monologue constantly over thinks everything. Did I shout too much today? Did I leave my straighteners on? So if I’m on my own, am I really filling my cup if I spend the whole time worrying about things like this? To some people these small worries might seem insignificant and silly, but to me they are big and prevent me from being able to relax and fill that oh so important cup.

But sometimes, being forced to do something like spend time on your own can actually be a good thing. I spent all morning (in-between the shouts of Mr 3) coming up with excuses as to why I couldn’t go out on my own. I was grumpy and tired and just didn’t feel like it. Even when I got to the coffee shop, and started to write, I was still feeling cross and still trying to come up with reasons as to why I needed to leave and go home to tidy. But, the longer I sat there writing, I could feel my frustration at this mornings events melting away, my tiredness was replaced by much needed caffeine and actually, being alone with my own thoughts turned out to be good as I’ve managed to use my inner monologue to write this entire blog post. (Side note, I recently read some people don’t have an inner monologue, – mind blown!) My husband can go on 5 hour bike rides by himself and is happy to spend that time alone. I ask him what he thinks about, and mostly it’s nothing. He’s happy just to be alone with his thoughts.

As mums, I think we tend to self sabotage to avoid having time to ourselves, because there’s always something that needs to be done, or someone that needs us to do something for them. But actually, how much are we really going to be able to get done if we don’t take the time to fill our cups? We should go on 5 hour metaphorical bike ride with nothing to think about.

So, from today, I promise to you, my kids, my husband, and most importantly to myself, to not accept anything less than a full cup. I want to model to my kids that self care is something we need to survive. I ask my friends and family to hold be accountable. If I’m able to make the time and I start to make excuses, push me out the door. If this is something you struggle with, I want you to promise to yourself that you insist on taking that time for self care too. Ask your loved ones to push you to do it. Even 5 minutes a day to sit in a quiet room to recharge, meditate, scroll through instagram, do whatever you need to do to fill that cup. It’s time to love ourselves the way we love our children.

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