Facing fear

I feel so guilty… And how to get over it

01 26 2014

A little pre-warning: this isn’t the most upbeat post you’ll have read for a while.  It is somewhat lacking sparkle, so I apologise.  It is, however, me sharing a truthful, from-the-heart account of this week’s mummy juggle…

I write this a little frayed around the edges.  Remember last week I talked about the importance of planning my week?  Well, as they say, ‘the best laid plans oft got astray’.  Louis has been poorly again – I’ve now logged a 3/4-weekly pattern of ‘off weeks’ (which I’ve shared with the GP!) which start a chain of events which go as follows: the sick days themselves, the week-plus of unsettled sleep that follows, a week of ‘normal’ routine and then round we go again.  All three of us are sleep-deprived, short-tempered and fed up.  For me, it comes with another tummy-punch: GUILT.

I feel so guilty…

I feel guilty because I feel I’m missing a trick or doing something wrong which is causing Louis’ immunity to be taking a bit of a battering.

I feel guilty because I am FED UP of surviving on 5-6 hours of broken sleep each night.

I feel guilty because I’m not giving my best during the daylight hours: I’m in survival mode and taking the easy options where I can.  Baby group?  Yes, that’s ready-made entertainment!  TV?  OK, just one more episode of Thomas and Friends while mummy takes a breather!

I feel guilty because this not-so-little pregnant belly is getting nowhere near the TLC it did the first time round.  Rest, relaxation and ideal baby-growing conditions are a pipe dream.

I feel guilty because I’ve done little more with my time this week than “getting through” the routine and then slump in a heap with a book and bed.

I feel guilty because I’ve not much left to be a good wife or friend….

I feel guilty because time is ticking ahead of Baby Two’s arrival and I’ve made very little progress this week.

The irony is, as a friend or a coach, my instinct on hearing this tirade from someone else would be to go into nurturer mode.  I’d listen, I’d ask questions, I’d shed a new light.  But, when it comes to being a friend or coach to myself I’m rrrrr-rubbish!  So, during nap-time today, I decided to get up close and personal with my guilty feelings and wanted to share the steps with you in case you’ve got a dose of the guilts too:

  • Let it all out: Don’t stew on the feelings, it’s a complete waste of energy.  Instead, let them out by writing them down or getting an understanding friend to listen.  Vent and then breathe.  Take a few deep breaths, breathing out the guilty feeling and let the emotion drift away.
  • Look for the clues: What is the guilty feeling really about?  Feeling guilty is usually a distress call from another emotion, such as sadness or anger or frustration.  You might wish you’d done something differently, done more.  For me, when I’ve looked back on the week, the guilt really was showing me that I wish I’d made other choices.  While I can’t change what’s been and gone, I can see that maybe I might do things a little differently next time.
  • Give yourself a break:  So, I wish I’d acted differently BUT I have to remind myself, I’m human.  I’m not a robot.  Putting yourself (at best) second starts to wear a little thin after a while.  Remember to be forgiving of yourself – you’re doing the best you can.
  • Do you want a hug?: What would make you feel better?  How can you give yourself a hug?  Is it a hot bath?  Is it a bar of chocolate?  Is it as simple as an early night?  Or, a night out with a friend?  Find a little thing that makes you feel loved and cared for … and make sure it happens.

Have you had the mummy guilts?  How do you deal with them?  I’d love to hear from you in the Comments below – as would all the other mummies out there!

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Facing my fears, one email at a time. (Warning: personal disclosure)

02 12 2013
I have a big flaw.

One that’s paralysing my forward motion.

A flaw that is beyond ridiculous (except, maybe, for you superheroes out there).

As a baby, were you able to walk on your first attempt?  Were you able to drive a car as soon as you got behind the wheel?  No?  Me neither.  So why do I fear ‘getting it wrong’ so badly?

Ladies, my name’s Emma and I’m a perfectionist.

Yes, it has an upside – I’m a hard-worker, I put my best into wherever my focus is, it makes me pretty reliable.  But the upside isn’t worth the sheer drop of the downside. 

Downside, you have me hesitating.  Holding off taking risks.  Afraid to make a mistake.  Afraid to make a decision

In a world of uncertainty, perfectionism gives me just a glimmer of the certainty it seems I crave.  Rationally I know nothing is guaranteed.  That “fortune favours the brave”.  Well, maybe I’m just not brave enough.

We’re already into the second month of the year and my resolve to put myself ‘out there’ this year, to take risks, is already waning.

Take my upcoming group programme, Life By Design, for example.  I’ve worked hard on designing something that resonates and creates results.  I’ve trialled it with a group of inspiring women.  I’ve refined and enhanced the original.  I’ve added in a few bonuses.  Realistically there should be no risk.  It’s been tested (not on animals) – but still I hesitate.

What ifs flood my brain. 

And so, today I’m taking a stand.  I’m taking a risk.  I’m sharing with you the big three things that I want to put ‘out there’ this year … and then there’s no going back.

  1. Launch Life By Design this Springtime.
  2. Introduce video newsletters.  I love sharing with you each week but I’d love to speak to YOU directly.  (This requires facing a BIG fear of mine – public speaking).
  3. Ask for help.  I want to research and fine-tune an idea I have for a book (gulp – there, I’ve said it).  It means me asking of busy, successful people.  Huge perfectionist leap!

There.  It’s out there.  Now I risk a very public display of ‘egg on my face’ if I don’t act.  If I wait for everything to be perfect, I’ll probably be waiting forever.  You can hold me accountable.

Now it’s your turn.

Is there a flaw that you need to ‘name and shame’? What can you do today to show it who’s boss?  I’d love for you to share in the Comments below…

Source: amommaly.com on Pinterest

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