Man, I feel like I’ve been through the emotional wringer this week. In fact, up-and-down emotions seem to be becoming ever more common place in my life. Of course hormones occasionally play a role but to be honest I don’t think I can blame those little chaps for the majority of my mood swings. The truth of the matter is that the life juggle is tricky before you then throw two kids into the mix. And to be honest, whilst my two Littles take most things in their stride, their Mama ain’t so flexible deep-down. So when we are dealing with a lot of change and there is a lot going on, I start to default back to my normal setting and looking for routine and familiarity.
The last couple of days though I have been trying to pay closer attention to my emotions and both recognise and deal with them as best I can. Yesterday was a really tricky day. Little H has been having some real up-and-down moods too at the moment probably driven by age and her impending start at school. Throw into the mix a bit of a stomach ache and she was really emotional from the moment she got up. Dealing her was tricky enough without her almost-toddler sister doing what toddlers do best: exploring every dark and unpermitted corner; trying to open every cupboard and drawers; demanding continual snacks and having a foot-stomping strop if not provided with them or anything else she might suddenly desire. If I’m on anything other than top-form then the day can easily go down a bad path…which it did.
As lunch approached we felt like the day was a real slog. I felt guilty for letting Little H watch more telly than normal that morning; for being snappier at them both; for not just setting aside all the tidying and playing some games with them to stimulate their imaginations. So as we ate our risotto I gave myself a real talking to: I was going to expend a lot of energy getting to bedtime regardless. Instead of carrying on as we were, I threw all my efforts into doing fun things with them. We went out to play in the garden even though they needed a full sun cream and I needed to get the parasol out to provide some shade. We played Toot Toot Drivers and built towers. Then when Little Z went for her nap happily tired out, Little H and I made cakes and then she painted as much paper as we could fit on the table. By teatime everyone was in a jovial mood and already outside for a post-tea play which included Little Z trying to scoot and Little H playing some kind of ninja sword game with a giant bubble wand! (You have to love a preschooler’s imagination.)
So today I felt like I was entering the working week in a positive position. Little H had her first school visit today – the two of us went along for half an hour with the current reception class. I was quietly anxious about how Little H would find it. But she was straight in there talking to her teacher and exploring the garden and drawing tables. When we had to leave, she got in a mood with me as she wanted to stay. As I dropped her back at nursery for the rest of the day, I felt so proud of her. So happy with the experience she’d had. Yet a message later in the day from the mother of one of her nursery friends – about how they were changing their daughter’s school from the one Little H is going to – well it threw me. It for no real reason had me questioning every decision we’d made for Little H. That pride and happiness soon because anxiety, doubt and sadness. I was so grateful to Sam and a couple of friends for pulling me back out that hole; I shared my feelings with them (each of them I know lends a different perspective) and they helped me re-see the huge success of the morning. By pick-up the mood was back to one of excitement as I collected by babies and heard about what Little H’s afternoon, with her cementing my positive mindset for the rest of the day when she said that nursery wasn’t good that afternoon because “school was better”.
It’s easy to forget how quickly emotions can spiral when juggling a lot in life. And when you throw children in the mix it’s often easy to go through the day without an real moment to stop and sense-check. To do a personal reset and shake-off the moods and tensions which have built up. But one thing I have learnt from the last couple of days is that whilst it isn’t always possible to catch these mood changes before they happen, by being aware of them it is possible to turn the day around. And for me, two days which could have ended on a sour note have actually been filled with fun and happy memories!