I‘ve just stumbled upon my very first original draft of a blog post, written late one night about six months before my ‘official’ first blog post, and then forgotten about entirely. I feel like I should share it now, in all its vulnerable authentic glory (although I have corrected a couple of grammatical errors that just didn’t make sense), so you can see a glimpse into the mind of a mother who should have been asleep hours before, but who was staying up late starting a blog in an attempt to feel like herself again.
Here it is:
HERE WE GO A BLOGGING
I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a blog for a little while now, maybe 6 months or so, but I keep putting myself off and talking myself out of it, telling myself I just don’t have the time, that I’ve got two small children at home with me full-time and don’t need to make more work and stress for myself and so on… It’s always ‘Not now, maybe later…’.
But then I happened to come across an article entitled ‘You Can Write Your Way Out of an Emotional Funk. Here’s How’. I thought “This sounds interesting”, and just about managed to read it before I was called away by another toddler tantrum. This article really made me think about my general emotional wellbeing and mental health, and the importance of writing/talking to other people. Before reading it I wouldn’t have thought of myself as being in an emotional funk, but I guess there’s hardly any way I couldn’t be. You see, I am the proud mother of two very small humans, ages three and one-and-a-half. Ever since having children it’s like my emotional filter has been cracked right open, and I find myself laughing, crying, getting frustrated with life and overflowing with love and joy all in the same day. Sometimes all in the same morning! So here I am, not necessarily trying to write my way out of an emotional funk, but to write my way through it, embracing all the craziness along the way. Maybe this is the right time to start writing a blog after all…
So without further ado, let’s crack on with the introduction…
My name is Sarah, and I live in Gloucestershire, England, with my husband and my two young children. I’m American by nationality, and British by nature. I’m a creative person with a love of textiles and natural materials, and I love throwing myself into projects and getting my hands dirty. I have a love of the outdoors and a great sense of adventure, but I also love being at home, growing vegetables in my garden and knitting and embroidering by the fire (I’m 26 by the way, not 100, in case some of you were wondering). I’m excellently enthusiastic about starting new projects, but less so about finishing them (let’s see how this whole blog thing pans out, shall we?). I am easily overwhelmed by clutter, but really good at creating it. I love Marmite. I hate scary movies. My favourite film is Amelie. My favourite song is (probably) Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits.
I haven’t talked about myself this much in a long time, and it feels a little strange. Kind of like a first date or something… Maybe I’m reintroducing myself to myself here, is that weird? Am I totally nuts? This all feels rather self-indulgent, going on about me, me, me…
The thing is, over the past 3 years I have really let myself go. What I mean by that is that I have let my SELF go. While surviving on broken sleep and a diet of toast crust and a LOT of coffee may make me feel a bit hard core, the real challenge is that when your whole world suddenly starts revolving around a tiny and very needy human (shortly followed by a second tiny and very needy human in my case) you can end up turning into a caregiving machine, forgetting what it’s like to feel like an actual person sometimes. Every now and then I catch sight of myself in the mirror and think “Who the hell are you?” followed by “How long have the bags under my eyes been there?”.
This whole parenting journey has been such a rollercoaster, such an unpredictable and exciting ride, with so many ups and downs. Some days I’m whooshing along and I feel like Mary Poppins, other days I feel like a Dragon Lady and then feel so bad I wish the ride would stop so I can get off because actually I’m a bit scared and I really want my mummy. Talk about emotional funk!
Anyway, welcome to my blog! Hopefully you’ll enjoy bouncing around from one thing to the next with me, as I share with you my love of many things and try to make time to be me a little more often.
So, there you have it…this is me.
Finding this blog post has brought up a number of things for me, not least of them realising how long I struggled through the early years of parenting before I figured out I needed to look after myself. I threw myself into mothering with such enthusiasm and committment, and I gave it everything I had. I was determined to do the best job I could, and thought the only way to do that was by putting my children above everything else, all of the time. I put my own needs at the bottom of the list, and hoped I might eventually find time to look after myself if I ever finished everything else on my list first. I never got to the bottom of my list, I felt like I wasn’t achieving enough most of the time, and consequently hardly ever got round to looking after myself until I was completely burnt out. It seems like the most obvious thing in the world when you’re rested and have had time to think (which I do sometimes get to do these days), but so hard to recognise when you’re sleep deprived and trying to do all of the things all of the time. It’s impossible to give from an empty tank, and you cannot possibly look after other people without first looking after yourself. I wish I had found that out a lot sooner.
Finding this forgotten post also sparked my enthusiasm to follow through with other abandoned or forgotten projects, and I recently spent some time FINISHING something that is now in a frame and (almost) on the wall. For years I have been saving little scraps of paper, pictures from magazines, inspiring quotes from the little paper tags on Yogi Tea teabags (not kidding!), interesting stamps, etc, to eventually turn into a large collage. Inspired by the idea I saw somewhere of an ‘identity collage’, it is essentially a little collection of things that I like, put together purely for the joy of looking at them and making me smile. It even made me happy setting aside time to sit down and make it! If only I could travel back in time and hang it on the wall for three-years-ago me to see, I’m sure it would have helped.
Here’s to looking after yourself and giving yourself the love and care you deserve, whether you spend much of your time looking after others or not.