Top up your cup.
Life can be full of good intentions. I remember before having children saying that I would always make time for 'us' as a couple, but then life just gets in the way. From clingy babies, clingy mummies, babies that refuse a bottle, only settle for mummy, lack of babysitters, work, finances and just general life that means that weeks turn into months and months turn into years.Annie has started to (whispers) sleep.. Well better, a run of sickness that went on for almost 6 weeks has started to lift and life seems to have started to get a little easier.
I am aware that all the pretty pictures on my Instagram can sometimes portray that everything is effortless and easy but in the last few months it couldn't have been further from the truth, we had plenty of lovely days together but a combination of a sick baby that cried from dusk to dawn, barely ate, hospital stays, a super busy time at work with a massive project that meant I was working silly shifts, relying too much on the people closest to me to get through it all and just feeling that life was a little too heavy.
As I say it's done and dusted now and all is on the up but in that time Colin was on nightshift while I was working between days and nights we were like ships in the night, literally.
Your marriage can very quickly become more of a convient set up, someone you pass the baton to and the person that pays half the bills rather than your partner and I know that's parenthood and you gotta suck it up for the first few years anyway but sometimes it's nice to stop, breath and be you, be seen for who you are and not only mama, colleague, cook, housekeeper and the person that finds the 2inch figurine in a box of 649 at 8pm at night.
I was giving more than I had to give, I was exhausted and along with yourself the people closest to you are the people that end up suffering.
The saying really is true that you can't pour from an empty cup.
When the pressure started to lift from work and Annie began to get better I made a point of trying to stop and breath myself. Colin and I had a few days off together and we spent it taking the girls walks, going for coffee, to visit Santa and just made sure the days were slower, had no agenda and were not rushed. Instead of catching up on my unimportant 'to-do' list when the girls went to bed I jumped into the bath with a cuppa tea.
Everything else was put to the back burner and quality time looking after the girls and oursleves was the focus.
It was amazing that Colin and I got the opportunity for a night away but I know that's not always practical or affordable (trust me if we hadn't been kindly invited we wouldn't have been doing anything like that in December) but if you can even steal that hour drive in the car together with a hot coffee for the road, even to just be together and sit in silence, understanding that the other person just wants to take a breather themselves is sometimes all you need.
Even though romantic jestures when you have small children is the little things like getting up with them to make the breakfast while the other person gets to lie on an extra half hour in bed or getting up to change the bed full of sick at 3am it's good to know that they are still there, by your side when all the craziness stops, when the baton doesn't need to be passed and they are the person you are happy to sit in silence with.
I may have not been able to keep all my good intentions of the things I thought we would do before kids, hey I was a perfect mother before I had kids! But the one promise I will keep is that I will still be here, even through the hard times just let me top up my cup a little first.
I know this post isn't the most upbeat, I know in the grand scheme of things we have it very blooming easy and we have our health but I get so many comments from people saying they are glad that it's not only them that struggles with the juggle and even through the pretty pictures and some lovely days I want to reassure like everyone else there are still some real challenging times.
I hope that over this busy festive season you manage to even get a hour to yourself even if it's just to read a magazine in the bath to top up your cup.