I had no idea that today was World Mental Health Awareness Day until I was browsing through social media as I usually do…but it struck me as very apt, that today of all days, I felt the need to visit one of my favourite places, I felt the need to reconnect with my childhood, I felt the need to nurture my own mental health.
I spent my childhood down the beach, we were lucky enough to have a beach hut, so my family and I would spend our holidays building sandcastles, eating beach barbecues and swimming in the sea. Whenever I go to visit and walk along the beach, it inevitably reminds me of those days, care free, young, enjoying each day as it came.
Now, as an adult, and as a fairly new parent, we sadly can’t be quite as care free. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed, washing to be done, emails to send…the list could go on.
We also have the need to provide our children with nourishing experiences.
We need to give them our time to play with them, read books, sing songs, or just kick a ball around. As a parent, we have an expectation that each day must be filled with wonderful moments to enjoy as a family. For me, that expectation becomes all too consuming at times.
Whilst walking on the beach today, I overheard a woman saying;
‘Wow it’s so warm today, I wasn’t expecting it. I asked for it, but I wasn’t expecting it.’
I loved this comment and had a secret smile to myself. I love the thought that she asked for it to be a beautiful day, so that she could enjoy her walk along the promenade in the glorious sunshine. She wasn’t expecting it, because let’s face it, it’s October and she lives in England, but she was pleasantly surprised.
I often think that as new parents, the expectations we place upon ourselves, and that society often places on us, leads us to disappointment.
We cannot ensure the house is spotless, cook healthy, nutritious meals, water the houseplants (something which always gets neglected in my house!), give our children our undivided attention, make the right decisions for our children, stay positive and happy, keep up a decent social life etc. etc. every single day. If we did all of this, everyday, we either wouldn’t sleep, or we’d have to be working at 100mph. Either way, we would become burnt out.
I also heard on the radio a little while back, that it’s recommended we spend two hours a day just on ourselves, to sit, walk, relax, just be….TWO HOURS A DAY!! As a parent, you’d be lucky to get two hours a month by yourself! Going to the toilet doesn’t even happen in privacy anymore!
It seems to me that the lady I overheard on the beach had a great outlook for the weather, that we could use for ourselves too.
We could wake up each morning and ask the best of ourselves that day.
We can be positive about it, but don’t expect it. If at the end of the day, you haven’t achieved the outcome you wanted, be kind to yourself, and remember that tomorrow’s another day 🤍
So today, on Mental Health Awareness Day, I am going to forgive myself for the mounds of washing that I haven’t put away, I’m going to forgive myself that there’s dust piling up in every corner of the house, and I’m going to forgive myself that the plants have been asking for water for weeks, and I’ve only just managed to water them today. At least my little one and I went out for some fresh air today. At least we were lucky enough to enjoy that beautiful sunshine, lucky enough to hear the waves crashing on the shore, and lucky enough to spend the day together. That’s enough for today.
Wrote by Becky Thomas - Embrace classes, BabyBeats teacher and Mindful Movers teacher