#Mumlife with Charlotte Coren

By Charlotte Coren

As a mother to several tiny drunk adults, maintaining my sanity is a full-time job. Between the tantrums, the never-ending mess, the in-house fighting and flat out disrespect I often feel like I’m on the verge of breaking point.

My mental health was something I used to take for granted. Life before marriage and kids was pretty chill. My time, body and money were mine alone. This is clearly not the case now and in many ways I am so much happier for it. With that said, after surviving another middle eastern summer with 4 kids under 5, I am ready to start reclaiming some of it back. 

It is a particularly auspicious time of year in the Jewish calendar right now. One where we are encouraged to take stock and responsibility for our speech, thoughts, and actions over the past year.  Before you drown in a sea of guilt, listen carefully to the part that comes next - this is the most crucial bit. We are told to take all that junk, all those mistakes, all the hurtful words and actions, all the crazy and just to let it go. Accept it, regret it, promise to try not repeat them, and then release and move on. We are encouraged to envision the best version of ourselves and our goals and pray that the power contained in these days will help us manifest these.

Sounds great right? But how do we actually manifest that newness in a persistently powerful way? Old habits die hard, and I am forever making mistakes. Falling into old patterns. The house is a disaster again, my stomach churns. The noise escalates, my chest restricts. Little hands hit, little feet kick and my heart starts pounding. I get called ‘stupid’ for what feels like the 100th time, and I am, quite frankly, ready to throw someone out of the window.

I wish I was joking. 

Most people don’t believe me when I talk to them about my temper. They shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them I shout too much or pull too hard. You should see their faces when I ashamedly admit to having smacked those cute little bottoms. It’s not pretty and I’m not proud, but I do want to be honest. In the spirit of #selfloveseptember and the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Month (October) I will share with you how I try to manage my crazy, in case you have crazy too.

Apologising and then forgiving myself is a constant and essential practice. Accepting my reality is another. My journey into parenthood has taught me many things. The main one; I am not in control of what happens. A hard pill to swallow when I’m trying to organize my little troupe, yet the truth is this; the only thing I can control is me. My reaction. My emotional response. As we all know that is far easier said than done.

Breathing may sound obvious. It’s something we can’t help but do. The question is, am I breathing deeply enough? Slowly enough? I notice that I am actually barely breathing. Sometimes, just stopping and taking a big deep gulp of air helps bring some much-needed perspective, calm and relief.

I am also learning when to say ‘No.’ Or 'Yes.' Or to backtrack from one to the other. To give up and give in and let that be totally ok. To create healthy boundaries with those both inside and outside my home. I have had to explore and accept my limits. To give myself space and permission to recover when I reach or pass them. This is essential to maintaining my sanity and my energy- my most precious commodities in times like these.

Last but in no way least, there is love. It comes hand in hand with gratitude. Two things that will, without fail, connect me to my higher self. To my soul. When the noise and negativity arrives, I try to replace it with thoughts of appreciation. I try to remember that love is a choice. An act of giving. Of forgiving. From that place, I can allow myself to seek and facilitate connection. From that place, I can draw on the strength that I often forget I have. Power to say 'No.' To say 'Yes.' To forgive. To laugh and to start again. To keep moving- forward, backward or round in circles. Sometimes, even returning to where I started. 

As we journey into this new lunar year, may we all be empowered to forgive and to love ourselves and others. Unconditionally. To connect with our higher self, our higher consciousness. The part in our minds that knows right from wrong, peace and true freedom. That piece of our heart that seeks connection and feels compassion. May we all be able to breathe deeply through our crazy and know with all our minds and with all our hearts that wherever we are is exactly where we need to be- welcoming the chance to make new choices, create new connections and enjoy new beginnings.