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Living the Life..! Thursday May 18, 2017

I just received an email asking: 'Are you living the life you love?'

I laughed. Out loud. Of course I'm not. I am living though. I get up and fight every day. The moment my eyes open, I battle the voices in my head that tell me I can't do this. That I am not a great mother. That I am not good at my job. That I am not organised. That I am not a house-owner. That my kids will leave and I will be alone. That my friends tolerate me. That my ex-husband is relieved to be free of me. I battle those voices.

My therapist suggests I say a mantra each morning. I can't decide on the wording so she tells me hers. I like its simplicity. I ask if I can borrow it. She smiles. She smiles a lot. And laughs. And cries too. She is real.

Her mantra is: 'I am happy and healthy.'

Of course, it is not the truth. I have happy moments but I am not happy. Thankfully, I am mostly healthy. But mantras need to be positive or it sort of defeats the purpose! I add my kids in because it feels disloyal not to. My therapist says that's okay - as long as I put myself first.

So, that's what I do each morning now. I wake. I suppress the demons. I say:

'I am happy and healthy.

My kids are happy and healthy'.

It steadies my mind. I wake my warm, sleepy son (who wanders into my bed most nights). I call my daughter, go downstairs, am greeted by the bonkers puppy who tries to eat my slippers. I turn off the house alarm (on every night since the horrible robbery), switch on the radio, stick on the kettle, run back up to get dressed and call them for the eleventh time. Once breakfast is eaten and lunches made and packed, it's out the door, drive to school, wave them off, get stuck in traffic on the way home.

Clear the breakfast things and put on a wash. Start work. Twelve work emails, a big and a medium deadline looming and a meeting to prepare for. A form to be filled in about my son's football registration and fees required for my daughter's dance class. I notice the date - it's my dad's birthday, he'd be 86 if he was alive. I'll ring mum, see how she is. An email from the school - is it about the parent-teacher meeting? No... the primary school is riddled with head lice. Please de-louse your children tonight.

And it's only 9.10 in the morning.

So, no, I am not living the life I love. I am anxious, sad, frustrated and yes, angry a lot of the time. I am also kind, funny, clever and doing my bloomin' best. But I struggle. Daily.

'I am happy and healthy.

My kids are happy and healthy.'

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Catherine Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 8:04am

Dear Salt Water Mum ... we must be living in the same shoes! Thank you for making my day brighter and for making me laugh out loud on the tube. Keep believing and the mantra is good!

Eva Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 8:04am

A friend and I were discussing happiness, she felt that she couldn't be happy with the world in the state that its in, but she watched a YouTube video of Matt khan's (I haven't watched it yet) and he seemed to be saying bring it back into your life, what's going on for you. When she re-examined she was pretty content, so it's changed her perspective which is great.

For me I'm fairly good right now, your morning description is similar, but I have a small world right now in my recovery period and things are going well, my energy is slowly returning, I'm still examining all of my deaths but within the confines now (mostly) of my counsellors office, and I am able to do a but of work again in a sustainable way. My life isn't at all bad right now, so my mantra is finally one of happiness. I will always carry my sadness but I hold it better now and it can go along with.

Thanks for your blog SWM, keep on mantra'ing

mark Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 8:09am

Hi Salt Water Mum, you brought back memories of when my children were young and I too was caught up in the stresses of the day, children and working from home. It's so much more difficult with depression/anxiety but I really do miss those days!
Thank you for writing.

Sal Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 9:09am

Wow, SWM, what a powerful blog, thank you. Respect!

LP Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 9:40am

I recognise your description too! You sound alot better organised though!
If you're raising children singlehandedly, working, and running a home, you are awesome! It may not feel like it, but you are.
There are little glimses of gorgeousness scattered Into your blog, but it's good that you are seeking to make it all feel better. Great that you've found a therapist to work things through with.

It helps if you can carve out one time in the week for leisure and pleasure that is just for you, no matter what except emergencies. It may not be doable right away, but something to bear in mind. You deserve it!
For me, the last "emergency" school run is in sight! I will be relieved, it's been a 23 years of struggles, but like Mark, perhaps I'll miss these days.

I have been all those things, stressed, anxious, low. They havent gone, just not as overwhelming so much of the time.
Moodscope has helped alot. I think that Mary's recent blog, highlighting that it's how we are thinking that makes a big difference. For me first thing in the morning was the worst. It felt unbearable so had to change.

Circumstances have knocked me and had a huge impact. I've battled on and been determined to stand my ground, so that those circumstances work better for me. I've got what I wanted and needed. Things have settled and I am on a much more even keel. Not ideal by a long shot, but rather than that feeling of not coping, it just feels ok.
It's not easy this journey, but it can get better.
Hormones have made things feel alot harder. Eventually being on the right medication has helped.
I resist too much pressure and take my time to do things if I can.

I can't say that I AM happy. It's hard to see how that's possible. All I wanted for a long time was to feel peace and contentment and at least in this moment on this sunny morning, with nothing major wrong and at a calm point in my cycle (!) I can say that I feel calm, at peace and yes I guess... happy.

Am I living the life I love? Well no, there are many things that could be better.
Is it possible to love my life? Definitely. I wouldnt change places with anyone else.

Thank you for a blog that I'm sure many can identify with SWM.
Wishes for more moments of happiness and loving life for you and all. LPxx

The Gardener Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 10:48am

SWM, like Mark, I am right back to those chaotic mornings. My 'school runs' were pre-seat belts. My other 'rota' mums hated getting up, so I always did mornings, as I did not want my afternoons disturbed. I had 5 different children to deliver to 4 schools in two towns, often they were perched on the latest carry cot. I could then get back into the nearest town, PARK outside the bread-shop and be in the office at 9 a.m. Grocer, fruiterer, butcher and fishmonger delivered. Those WERE the days. I am healthy, though acutely unhappy after 24 hours pure hell - during which Mr G shouted so loud I was worried about my ear-drum. When I go and fetch my 'child' from 'school' (Mr G from respite) I dread it. He is disruptive and critical of how they run it - this is particularly awful as we are English - welcomed with open arms and no hint of resentfulness that we get exactly the same treatment as the French. I think I may get particular kindness as they know our family are at a distance. The incredible girls (two at a time) who try to stimulate 6 Alzheimer patients with various projects say to me that if Mr G is as awful with me as he is with them then they don't know how I stand it. At the moment, with extreme difficulty. I am lucky, I know - because I have a solution, eventual, to my unhappiness - money - which, in this case should buy happiness in that Mr G can go into the care of professionals. But the waiting game, for a customer for the house, is tough.

Salt Water Mum Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 11:17am

Thank you Catherine, Eva, Mark, Sal, LP and TG,

Lovely responses - I am chuffed.

Can I quote you to my children LP ?!!!!! - 'If you're raising children singlehandedly, working, and running a home, you are awesome! It may not feel like it, but you are...'
That meant a lot to me as I am struggling a bit at the moment so thank you.

A few of you mention how my routine brings back memories for you and how you miss them. Funny, cos I miss the days when my kids were smallies and full of cuddles and cuteness. I am finding coping alone with teens/preteens is tougher on my mental health. Much more responsibility and attitude but much fewer hugs... but maybe I too will miss these days... each stage brings its own challenges ... ( thinking of you too when I say that TG)


LP Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 12:00am

Hi SWM, Of course, I'd be honoured if you quoted me! :) Teens arent easy. They're not old or experienced enough to appreciate all that we do, so it feels like were being taken for granted at best! They often dont open up and communicate very much and need alot of sleep, which is not helped by being on social media late at night! Friendship groupings make a big difference in their lives too. It's natural for it to be a bit of a struggle. Age 13 was hard for my son, not sure if it was his hormones, his parent's marriage on the rocks, or the unfortunate combination of the two, but it was a phase and didnt last. It's great that you're on here SWM a trouble shared as they say and you're not alone. LP Xx

Lexi Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 2:15pm

Hi SWM. Actually I thought your morning sounded quite lovely. I don't know what being happy means, but I am grateful every day. For my health, and the health of the ones I love. I am grateful for a roof over our heads and food on the table and that there is at least one person I know I can call when I am down. For me, happiness comes in little moments, like right now, when there is a refreshing breeze (it's been almost 90 in Chicago! ) coming through the windows and I hear the wind chimes sending out a welcoming gong as I sit at my table doing work. I also have a mantra I do every morning. I don't know the source of it, but my therapist taught it to me: "May I be at peace. May my heart remain open. May I awaken to the light of my own true nature. May I be healed. May I be a source of healing for others." And next I switch the "I" to "You" and think of my daughter: May you be at peace. May your heart remain open...etc. May you be at peace, SWM!

Barbara Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 5:13am

Love that mantra.

The Gardener Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 2:18pm

Just to share - school mornings. Our d-in-law was doing a lecture tour, and we were summoned to house-keep in Perth, australia. Only stress factor, elder grand-son was in choir - best school uniform - BUT, we had to watch the weather forecast the night before and choose uniform accordingly. I would feed O/H, son, his sons, packed lunches for ditto - then Mr G would deliver the lot, office and two different schools. I, in a pretty kimono, would get myself breakfast of all the delicious fruits, then into the sun with wattle birds, lorikeets, pied robins and kookaburras. Bliss. I think the beach followed, more bliss.

Barbara Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 5:11am

Lovely. Like Leah, I'm an Aussie. (Hello Leah, my friend. Sorry no contact, just re-emerging. I think I.o.u one? Xx)

The Gardener Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 2:20pm

The little bit of 'sun' entered a grey day, weather and feelings, because I've just done my tax on line.

Barbara Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 5:09am

Well done, Mrs. Way ahead of time, surely.

Brum Mum Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 3:14pm

Salt Water Mum, I read your blog whilst total chaos surrounded me this morning and just reread it now when I have a moment of peace. Thank you. You know my my daughter stropped out (pre-exam) nerves, the dog escaped as I rushed to drive her to school and my son sulked, as dog rescued,I insisted on walking to school. Get back, check emails and so it goes on. Not to mention, the tweenager hormones, my own dodgy, middle-aged ones and work is oretty full on, to put it mildly. I have also mown the lawn as stress relief. I have shared care of my children and that's tough enough so hats off to you. We do however need down time to recover from the onslaught, whether that's a few snatched minutes reading Moodscope, a couple of pages of a novel or a cup of tea and sneaky dark chocolate bar. Go well, my friend....

Salt Water Mum Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 4:59pm

What a Lovely, calm mantra Lexi,

Well done TG on getting your paperwork done - what a blissful scene you paint with words and you enjoying it all in your pretty kimono,

And Brum Mum, I hear you - especially the teen strops, my hormones and the sneaky dark chocolate !!


Dragonfly Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 10:20pm

What a lovely, happy, quite normal tableau of family life, and I absolutely agree with all those who remark how amazing you are. I do miss those days when my children were younger but they were overshadowed by my depression and many other issues. I do still struggle with dark times but feel I've been give a 2nd chance with all my little grandbabies. I didn't quite imagine I'd be doing school pick-ups again though!Lovely comments here too x

Mary Wednesday Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 10:25pm

I too remember those days and am so, but so thankful they are a memory only. Even with two hormonal female teenagers and unending taxi-work for them, I only miss their earlier stages in a good kind of way. As for happiness, I have everything and I am still not happy (there are moments of joy, however). I have medication that has lifted the depression, but still find the thought of suicide comforting. Maybe I should have a mantra: "You've got through 54 years; you're over halfway now. You can do the rest; get on with it." And yes - Lindt dark chocolate with raspberry.

Salt Water Mum Thu, May 18th 2017 @ 11:59pm

Thank you Dragonfly for your kind comments. I don't feel amazing - I often struggle with anxiety and sadness - but it's a lovely thing to hear. Sweet to hear you are enjoying your grandbabies...

Moments of joy, Mary - yes, I hold them dear too and they keep us going. Hmmm I'm more a dark chocolate with salt woman... there's a metaphor in there somewhere... !!

Good night to all,


LP Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 12:02am

Night night SWM. LP xx

Barbara Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 5:04am

Maybe u should be called SaltWithM and m's?!

David Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 1:35am

That’s really powerful, SWM.

So, you "battle the voices" in your head that tell you you’re "not a great mother... not good at my job... not organised", and so on. Considering the pressures you’re under, and especially if you suffer from low periods, you seem to be doing remarkably well!

Where do all those negative thoughts come from? Why do you bash yourself with them so much?

Suppose you say to yourself: I can ‘do this’ (as I’ve been doing for month after month); I’m a good mother; I’m good at my job; I’m organised; my friends are truly fond of me.

I’m sure that all that is true, true most of the time.

Changing outward circumstances is not easy, or may not be possible. But we can change our thoughts, little by little.

You write with great power. I’m sure you have the power to change your thoughts. To be kinder to yourself. You deserve it. x

Barbara Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 5:01am

Interesting thoughts. Thank you.

Barbara Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 4:59am

Fantastic, SWM! Well done you. Xx

Salt Water Mum Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 7:30am

Good morning,

I peeked in at my blog again while getting the lunches here!!

Barbara, that's so funny - SaltWithM and m's - thank you for the giggle.

Thank you again LP and David, I got a bit emotional reading yours, thank you.

Back to the school lunches!

have a good day,


Tutti Frutti Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 9:24am

Hi SWM Sorry I didn't manage to comment yesterday. All a bit busy but I appreciated your blog. You sound quite like my friends and me (although I only have one child and two parents in my house so it must be much tougher for you than it is for me). Somehow I find the perfect seeming mothers a bit inaccessible and daunting and don't tend to end up being so friendly with them - even those who seem to be lovely otherwise. Anyway remember your inner awesomeness and hang on in there. Love and hugs TF xoxo

David Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 11:14pm

Interesting, Tutti Frutti, that you "find the perfect seeming mothers a bit inaccessible and daunting". Maybe the stress should be on the "seeming". We're inundated with images of fake 'perfection' (TV, movies, glossy magazines). The more prosperous we are, the more people seem to put huge effort into presenting the 'perfect' facade. From life as a vale of sorrow, life is now meant to be about looking stunning, living in a 'dream home', with cute designer children, while rising rapidly to the top in one's fabulous career, and so on. Rich and successful … but why do studies indicate that CEOs suffer depression at over twice the rate of the general public (about 20%)? That rich kids are more depressed and anxious than kids from middle- or low-income families? And why is depression more common in wealthy countries than in poor ones? Whatever the reasons, we'll always find someone who *seems* to have it better, at a particular point in time. But we don't really know how they truly are, and how they feel about their own life. Endless comparison and envy will destroy our spirit. A genie tells a man that he can have whatever he wants – except that his neighbour will get twice as much of the same thing. The man wishes for a house, his neighbour gets two. He wishes for a car, the neighbour gets two. And so on. Finally, the man gets so enraged that he wishes to be blind in one eye so his neighbour will become blind in both eyes.

Salt Water Mum Fri, May 19th 2017 @ 4:09pm

Thank you Tutti Frutti ... 'inner awesomeness' - I just love that !


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