a headwreck

Do you ever have one of those weekends when the volume dial is just jammed on high?

The dog barked continuously, the mini maelstrome that is Ruby moaned all day, the middle monkey over-tired cried at everything, and the older sulked and sighed (very loudly) and my own screeching reached embarrassing levels as I tried to untangle three sets of christmas lights, stabalise a tree while the dog pulled it the other way, detangle said dog from the tinsel tornado he had become, and I generally let loose my furious festive fuming.

Do you ever have one of those weeks when your head jars with the constant jangle of ‘I’m a crap parent today’ melodied with ‘you must be a better parent today’, till your head feels like splitting in two with the bickering voices?

I’ve learned a lot about minding my own mental wealth after my bout of post-natal depression last year. And I’ve written here and been published in newspapers and magazines on various issues surronding mental health, and the pressure on young people in particular. I have three daughters and so have a keen interest in what might lie ahead for them. And like most parents, I am constantly wondering about how my parenting will affect them.

So it came as a bit of a shock to read that 50% of all mental disorders will have their onset during the school-going years. This terrifies me – what my girls will experience, and how they will cope will have a profound affect on the rest of their lives.  I will play one of the most important roles in making sure they can cope, are given the mental, emotional and practical skills to cope with family life, school life, social life, friends, academia, social pressures, etc

My girls are just in primary school, but already I deal daily with issues relating to the general gymboree of schoolyard issues. I can only imagine the challenges of the years ahead. Here are the stats in Ireland:
In an average secondary school class size of 30 students, 12 will feel depressed, 7 will not feel they can talk to anyone about how they feel, 6 will think about self-harming, and 3 will.

As I had one of my mummy mania moments over the weekend, feeling put-upon, stressed, overworked, undervalued – you know, the usual – I asked my girls what would make a happy household. I was leading to a smart reply along the lines of a happy mummy makes a happy household and helping, doing as your told, not fighting yada yada yada would make me a happy mummy. I know, crap mum moment. But instead, I was stopped in my tracks. My bright little button Poppy looked at me and said simply, as if it was the most obvious answer in the world, “Love. Love makes a happy household.”
I dropped my duldrums and hugged her hard. She’s right of course. Love is the answer. I just hope its enough…..

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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1 Response to a headwreck

  1. Oh WOW. You would not realise how timely this post is for me Alana. I am the tail end of one 'those' WEEKS. Yep, the entire week I have felt down, not appreciated, ineffective in my role as a Mama and only 'just' being able to cope with the daily grind. I hear you on the volume levels and have sounded like a broken record most days “shooshing and shushing” the boys AND myself for that matter. Too much yelling and berating etc etc… It's tiring and incredibly boring. I think this time of year only enhances the pressures we already feel… therefore, I am giving myself another chance this coming week, to put on a happy face.
    I worry so much about my boys and being able to arm them with the necessary confidence and strength they'll need to get through life, even just relatively unscathed. School for my eldest next year… and I know that is when the fun really begins.
    Merry Christmas lovely, hope you have a wonderful celebration and try to let go of all those things that really don't matter… and I'll try to do the same 🙂 xoxo


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