MUMS need to look after themselves, even if that means spending longer in the bathroom to have some space away from their families, says author and life coach, Angela Bullock.
She says that mothers are experiencing an increase in stress, anxiety and frustration due to the social isolation impacts of the COVID19 crisis and has fast tracked the release of her self-help book, “Messy Mum’s Playbook”, to support mums who are struggling to do it all.
“A lot of us are juggling working as well as being teachers for our kids that we have never trained to do,” says Angela who has three children aged 16, 13 and 12.
According to Angela, there’s no shame in being a “messy mum”.
“Being a ‘messy mum’ is the reality for everybody. I say we need to own it and be proud,” she says.
Angela warns not to assume that women who might look like they have their lives together aren’t a messy mum on the inside.
“On the inside, we are a red-hot mess! Everything is everywhere in our heads and we end up on the bottom of the priority list, when we need to be at the top.”
“It’s okay for mums to be messy and not feel ‘normal’. It’s okay to have dreams and important to chase them, to still have goals and a purpose,” she says.
Angela says that now, more than ever, kids are looking to their mothers for leadership.
“They are looking at us and seeing how their mum is dealing with this time,” she says.
“(The book) is about helping you to become calm, confident and empowered so you can be a better leader in the home and go on to achieve the goals that matter to you.”
Angela says it’s important to be real: “I want mums to own what is going on for them. If they hide their feelings, they are not comfortable. It’s okay to cry and let the kids know that.”
Angela says emotions take 90 seconds to pass and recommends that we give our emotions space and validate what we are feeling at the time because holding them in will only see them escalate explode at the worst times.
“So have a cry, then wash your face and put on your favourite undies and ask ‘what can I do now?’ We don’t need to have our shit together,” she says.
Having recently faced the stress of having her eldest daughter in quarantine after being stuck in South Korea on an international student exchange, only to have her youngest child hospitalised and diagnosed with type one diabetes the week after her arrival home, Angela says that she has been using every one of the tools in her book to keep calm and lead her family through this tough time.
“It’s the uncertainty of the crisis; that is a massive thing for mums. I recommend that we do something that we are certain of the outcome everyday to create certainty, habits and feel a little more empowered,” she says.
“Be kind to yourself, look after yourself and be the leader. If that means having a pajama day and doing no homeschooling for a day, that’s fine. Don’t put pressure on yourself and reach out when you need help.”
Angela’s top five tips for mums to cope during isolation
- Take longer in the bathroom to gain peace from the noise, because nobody’s going to bother you if they think you’re on the toilet.
- Create more joy in your day. You can find pockets of joy in your day by making time to get out of your PJs and dressing up, wearing your best earrings, shaving your legs, jumping on the trampoline (if your pelvic floor can cope) or stirring the spaghetti bolognese while dancing to your favourite song.
- At the end of every day, write down your feelings – the good, the bad and the ugly. This helps you validate your emotions.
- Create a gratitude practice by writing down five things you’re grateful for each day – things you’ve been seeing, feeling, watching or having in the past 24 hours. This helps you look for more things to achieve joy and connectedness in your day.
- Move your body every day. It’s not about body image, but about releasing feel-good hormones that are totally free.
“Messy Mum’s Playbook”, via Amazon and Booktopia. More information at fireflylifecoaching.com.au