I just received an email asking: 'Are you living the life you love?'
I laughed. Out loud. Of course I'm not. I am living though. I get up and fight every day. The moment my eyes open, I battle the voices in my head that tell me I can't do this. That I am not a great mother. That I am not good at my job. That I am not organised. That I am not a house-owner. That my kids will leave and I will be alone. That my friends tolerate me. That my ex-husband is relieved to be free of me. I battle those voices.
My therapist suggests I say a mantra each morning. I can't decide on the wording so she tells me hers. I like its simplicity. I ask if I can borrow it. She smiles. She smiles a lot. And laughs. And cries too. She is real.
Her mantra is: 'I am happy and healthy.'
Of course, it is not the truth. I have happy moments but I am not happy. Thankfully, I am mostly healthy. But mantras need to be positive or it sort of defeats the purpose! I add my kids in because it feels disloyal not to. My therapist says that's okay - as long as I put myself first.
So, that's what I do each morning now. I wake. I suppress the demons. I say:
'I am happy and healthy.
My kids are happy and healthy'.
It steadies my mind. I wake my warm, sleepy son (who wanders into my bed most nights). I call my daughter, go downstairs, am greeted by the bonkers puppy who tries to eat my slippers. I turn off the house alarm (on every night since the horrible robbery), switch on the radio, stick on the kettle, run back up to get dressed and call them for the eleventh time. Once breakfast is eaten and lunches made and packed, it's out the door, drive to school, wave them off, get stuck in traffic on the way home.
Clear the breakfast things and put on a wash. Start work. Twelve work emails, a big and a medium deadline looming and a meeting to prepare for. A form to be filled in about my son's football registration and fees required for my daughter's dance class. I notice the date - it's my dad's birthday, he'd be 86 if he was alive. I'll ring mum, see how she is. An email from the school - is it about the parent-teacher meeting? No... the primary school is riddled with head lice. Please de-louse your children tonight.
And it's only 9.10 in the morning.
So, no, I am not living the life I love. I am anxious, sad, frustrated and yes, angry a lot of the time. I am also kind, funny, clever and doing my bloomin' best. But I struggle. Daily.
'I am happy and healthy.
My kids are happy and healthy.'
Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.
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