Hi there! Welcome to the blog for the Happy Mums Club. Don’t worry if you came here looking for joy boosters – you don’t have to be permanently happy to join in, but hopefully you will be feeling a bit more upbeat once you’ve hung around for a while.
I’m Emma, founder of the HMC. I’ve been a mum since 2012 and have two children (who are four and one). Mothering can be the best, funniest, happiest, most life-affirming role you’ll ever take on, BUT (spoiler alert for all the preggos out there) it’s hands-down the hardest thing, too.
Yup, parenting is a tough gig. Bodily fluids need constant mopping up, there are tears and tantrums and bedtime never comes soon enough – and I haven’t even started on the kids yet. LOLZ. As soon as that baby arrives, the mum guilt sets in. You feel terrible about absolutely everything and wonder how you can be getting it so wrong while all the other mums have their shit together and are nailing it. (They’re not, in case you haven’t realised that yet.)
For me, this emotional rollercoaster was even more extreme. My first child (T) was brain-damaged at birth due to a lack of oxygen and he has been left severely disabled with cerebral palsy. Not many lols there – but bear with me. That sounds pretty bleak, right? And, to be fair, it wasn’t a lot of fun for the first year: constant crying (T), constant anxiety (me), constant medical appointments, hideous letters detailing all the things your kid can’t do (won’t ever do). But as the weeks turned into months turned into years, our family unit has grown and adjusted and reached a pretty decent point. T is a happy, funny, fun-loving boy, who leads a happy, loving, fun-filled life. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns and shitting glitter, but parenting is definitely easier, calmer and more joyful than it was a few years ago. Partly because I am choosing to be happy.
Spot the important word there – choosing – because happiness is often a choice. (I’m not going to say always because that just makes mums with any kind of depression feel like crap. No judgement here. Some things are out of your control, and while a positive mental attitude can help take the edge off, it’s not going to cure mental illness alone).
The guilt and the worry and the martyring yourself to your child can be such an innate part of mothering and I soon found that it’s even easier to hide behind it all as a special needs mum. I had plenty of excuses for putting myself last. You are constantly drowning in questions, phone calls and appointments with therapists, hospitals, experts. It’s hard to get me-time when few people are skilled enough to look after your nonverbal, non-mobile child. It’s hard to feel upbeat when you have had almost five years of broken nights (children with brain injuries often have appalling sleep patterns). It’s hard to be motivated to eat well or switch off your mind. All this is true, but I found myself wondering is this what life must be? It is just what happens? You have children and lose yourself to the mothering role? I don’t know about you, but I decided I didn’t want to live a miserable life, feeling tired and hard-done-by, watching others have all the fun.
Once I started thinking positively, life became much easier. I can’t change my situation but I *can* change the way I think about it and deal with it. I can choose to be present, choose to be mindful, choose to snatch a moment for myself here and there – the world will not end if I go to a yoga class or get my hair done – choose to eat well (or eat cake), to go outside more, to bank the happy moments to be drawn upon in times of despair.
You can choose this too. And the Happy Mums Club is here to help.
A little positivity can go a long way. I reckon if you can cherish just one moment every day, you’ll soon feel the benefits. You may even start cherishing a few (although I refuse to make anyone #cherisheverymoment). Check back here and follow the Facebook, Twitter and Insta feeds to find ideas on simple self-care and ways to create happy, healthy habits so you can enjoy this mothering malarky – even on the roughest days 💜