Until we have kids… & then *KABOOM!* The loopy BURSTS THROUGH with its crazy eyes & maniacal grin, and we’re like “um, excuse me, but… WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!”
This latent loopy is why many of us find the transition into motherhood tough. Here’s how it evolved & how to tame it.
The evolution of loopy
We live in a world brimming with incredible experiences. Higher education is widely available, so we study. The world is infinitely accessible, so we travel. Gender equality is widespread, so we forge careers. Our lives are rich & full. And the upshot of this overwhelming opportunity is that we’re having children later.
Having packed in more experiences than our mothers’ generation, the divide between our ‘pre-kids’ & ‘with kids’ lives is infinitely wider. We’ve had on average five more years studying, traveling & working – five more years of ‘me’ time. This can make the shift into motherhood & life at home with a newborn all the more challenging. We naturally miss much of what we had.
It’s around this time that the loopy emerges. The following factors exacerbate its proliferation.
1. We expect a lot
Our expectations of motherhood haven’t been updated to reflect our complex world. We aspire to be a fusion of the best mothers we knew as children, & our failure to ‘do it all’ can leave us feeling down. Spending our spare time scrolling through endless pictures, posts & pins from those magnificent multi-taskers who manage to bake, sew, craft, recycle, upcycle, trim down & shape up doesn’t help matters, particularly if we internalise them as ‘things I must do to be a good mum’. Hello loopy.
2. We’re jugglers
Many of us are keen to get back to work after having kids, as having had longer to build our careers, we’re missing a big part of what makes us ‘us’. Some mums are forced back to work for financial reasons. Other mums feel that they’re a better parent with time away from their kids (in part due to existing loopy), & working is the only way they can afford day care. So for various reasons we juggle. Juggling stretches our emotional resources, which fuels the loopy.
3. We’re know-it-all’s
Extraordinary technology has left us with few mysteries. We know an enormous amount about our children before they’re even born. Just weeks after conception a Doppler will let you hear their heartbeat, an ultrasound will show you their brain & an app will compare them to a piece of fruit. Follow this up with a quick Google search & you’ll know all there is to know about your unborn babe.
Despite the obvious benefits to our growing offspring, the downside of this wondrous technology is that with more information comes more worry. Where our mothers trusted & accepted the course of nature, we’re swimming in a sea of norms, scales & percentages & its hard not to worry what each check, test & scan might bring. Information overload? Cue, loopy.
4. We’re over-thinkers
Starting from our first few days home alone with our babes, we’re faced with more time to think than ever before in our lives. We constantly find ourselves pondering, worrying or searching for answers, consumed by this hefty new responsibility: the survival of an ENTIRE human being. Why is he crying? What should I do? What does that mean? Why can’t I fix this? Why aren’t I coping? Ahhhh! L-O-O-P-Y.
It’s simple, we’re spent
With so much loopy going around, it’s easy to see why many mums experience a new kind of exhaustion – that of a mind in overdrive. Mental exhaustion is hard to identify. Motherly life is all consuming. We expect to feel dog-tired, so the tension caused by our overactive minds is attributed to lack of sleep. We assume it will dissipate on its own in time, but while the return of a full nights’ sleep does make things a whole lot rosier, the 24/7 nature of motherhood means that a sense of exhaustion can remain.
It takes more than sleep to de-loopify
If you’re getting a decent amount of sleep and you’re still sensing the loopy, you may find that mindfulness helps you rest your mind.
Mindfulness practice is about bringing your attention back to the present moment and not getting carried away by your thoughts. It has proven hugely beneficial for a wide variety of experiences, from anxiety and depression to chronic pain, insomnia & weight loss. Businesses are implementing mindfulness programmes to combat stress and enhance productivity. Schools are incorporating mindfulness practice into their curriculum to improve students’ wellbeing & focus. Why not use the same techniques to banish the loopy & bring a sense of calm & ease to your daily life as a mum?
If any of this resonates with you, you may benefit from beginning your own mindfulness practice. If you’d like a guide to follow, please check out my book Cultivating Calm: Mindfulness for Mums.
- It’s simple. You’ll learn practical tools that are easy to learn and implement.
- It’s quick. All you need is 30 minutes to read the book, then 6 minutes a day to practice.
- It’s empowering. Understanding your mind will make you feel calmer, stronger & wiser.
- You can do it in your PJs. (‘Nuff said.)