What is your answer when someone asks ‘How are you?’
Tired, exhausted, sleep deprived and you start talking about your babies and toddlers as they are your ‘whys’.
I was the same of course. My mind couldn’t function beyond my child’s needs, my little happiness, the little piece of me, relying on me for survival. Nothing else mattered in life and nothing else was in my centre than my little boy. Feeding, tummy time, rolling, talking, walking, nappy changing, weening, up at night every hour (all nights and days without sleep when he was sick), play time, social time, play groups, finding out why he is not sleeping through nights, why his skin is dry and itchy, having frightful times with his allergies, travelling, settling in the nursery…to name just a few.
When our kids are 2 years old they are invited for a meeting with health visitor to review their development. And so were we.
We talked about our son as he was playing on the floor with his dad. Everything went well and we talked through all the development milestones and got some advice and recommendations on nursery settling as that was the only issue we were having at that time. When my husband and my son started leaving the room, I got up to get dressed too, but the health visitor stopped me and said ‘Wait a minute mummy. This is not a review just about your son, it is about you too. How are you doing? How are you feeling? Are there any changes which concern you? A lack of motivation to do anything?’
The shock on my face when I realised two things! Firstly, someone is interested in me? In my own feelings? Of course people always asked me how I was but not in the way that provoked me to actually think about myself. It was always about my boy or the family as whole. I lost myself and my identity partly because of that. Someone was seriously interested in how I was really feeling and was ready to listen to me? And secondly, I have realised that I haven’t stopped and thought about my own feelings for 2 years. There were so many that I didn’t know how to describe them and I was feeling overwhelmed by them all. I didn’t really know how I was feeling.
Did you tell your health visitor the truth or did you say the same as I did? ‘I am fine. Everything is ok.’ And I walked out completely dazed which got me started thinking about myself as an individual again. But by that point I had no clue what to do with myself and that’s where my journey began. I started with getting to know my own body and taking my power back over my eating habits, my movements and my mind. Because once you know who and where you are, you can start thinking about what you really want and where you want to go having the confidence and motivation to get there.
I know it works every single time and I became passionate about showing other mums that they can do the same, with or without my help, depending on their preferences 🙂
So ask your friends, whether they are mums or not, ask them how they feel, instead of how they are, and listen. Give them time to think about it because they might realise that they don’t really know how they feel. Or they might be hesitating to share their true feelings with you because they might feel embarrassed about them. Whatever they choose, whether they share their true feelings or not, your question will make them think about it and you might make the whole lot of difference in their life.