I am 38 and last March gave birth to my beautiful, healthy baby boy. I have a wonderful husband, supportive family and am enjoying maternity leave except for a problem that keeps recurring and at this stage in my life want to put a stop to……… I am an all or nothing type of personality. For example, during most of July I was the model of grittiness, getting lots done around the house, out and about in the sunshine and hosting my babies christening, feeling vital and good about myself with lots of plans. I am currently on day 3 of a major slump, doing very little except look after my baby, the house is getting neglected and I feel pretty rubbish about myself. I am distracted by technology, ipad, tv etc. This morning I woke at 7am determined to get cracking, its now almost 10am and I have zero motivation. I know i struggle without the routine of work life but don’t want to look back on this wonderful maternity leave period feeling i could have used the time much more effectively. I know this is a cycle and I will come out the other side but what I really want is to be consistently productive and motivated to avoid the highs and lows of the all or nothing approach which is just irritating me now. Any advice gratefully received…….I feel if I could overcome this issue I would realise much more of my potential. I am blessed in so many parts of my life but would just love to get this under control.
You definitely need to give yourself a break! Maternity leave is tough, tiring, emotional and incredibly challenging and you will have bad days. The first 6 months were for me the least productive of my life!!! I was so sleep deprived I found it difficult to see much beyond the most basic… And as for housework, it went completely out of the window. I really do believe that part of having a gystful approach to life is accepting that some days you are going to feel awful and lazy and that this is ok. No-one can be productive all of the time. Certainly not me. I like to think of those lazy days as vital time in which my batteries are getting recharged.
What I do now when I find myself in a slump as you have described (for longer than a day) is I go for a run which really does seem to help motivate me into action elsewhere and put me in a brighter mood. And meeting up with a girlfriend with babies the same age and having a proper whinge about how hard motherhood is – most healing. It was a huge relief to me to hear from other women that maternity leave wasn’t a bed of roses for them either, that it was challenging on so many levels and sometimes all you can do is try to get to the end of the day in one piece and try not to kill your other half when he walks in the door – that is sufficiently gysty when you have had a bad day on your own with a baby.
So my advice to you is that you are doing brilliantly. Having slumps is natural during this time as a new mother. Talk to your girlfriends in the same boat and try to have a laugh about it. Laughing and running are my number one allies in dealing with pretty much everything. They can make a bad situation good and turn a slump around.
Hope that helps…
The Grit Doctor says:
There is nothing wrong with being an ‘all or nothing’ person. Just being yourself is always more than enough.