It is has been a tough couple of months for me. The end of April was a particularly tough time for my family and I, and things since have continued to almost feel like an uphill battle for one reason or another. For the first time since I started The Butterfly Room 4 years ago, I took almost three weeks off work. And not because one of my children was poorly, or annual leave for a holiday, or for childcare reasons. I took three weeks off for me.
I spent a lot of time with family, helping each other through the difficult time. I spent time with close friends, and lots of time with my children. I took them to school, and I picked them up – a novelty for me as with my working hours, on three days out of the five I drop my children to school and then do not see them until the next day. My family and I spent time together, developing new memories and healing wounds. At the end of the three weeks, I felt myself again. I felt rested and with clarity.
The first few days I was off work – I felt very unsure of myself. I was incredibly supported by my clients who were incredibly sweet and understanding but being away from my laptop, or from my therapy room, with the work phone switched off made me restless. When the children were at school and I was at home I wasn’t too sure what to do with myself. But then I began to enjoy the peace, the silence, and with that, enjoying playing with children in the garden, watching my brother help Noah ride a bike, or taking Joshua to his football tournaments. Being able to put my kids to bed, and then watch feel good TV, eating comfort food and sleeping late. It made me stronger, and it helped me reflect on what truly is important to my children and my family; ME.
As parents, we are always putting our children first. We are always fighting for their needs, fighting to access the right support and we are doing this on little sleep and zero thanks. And doing this, is exhausting. If we are not looking after ourselves, we cannot keep fighting. We cannot fight for our children, we cannot face the challenges that our children present at home. Too many times a day, I see parents bringing their children to The Butterfly Room and they are emotional, worn out and run down. Whilst I am with their children, I see them, in the waiting room. Laptops, phone calls, paperwork continuing that fight. And I often ask …who is helping you?
There are many services that can provide support for adults. You can self refer to the wellbeing team online using this link; http://www.hpft.nhs.uk/services/community-services/wellbeing-service/referrals/self-referral/
Local charities SPACE and ADD-VANCE provide a wealth of advice and support for families and of course, here at The Butterfly Room, we offer therapy for parents. Don’t feel bad for taking time to yourself – you need it. To be YOU. Go to that dinner, meet that friend for coffee, go and have your nails done. Don’t continue to fight a battle without someone fighting your corner. Call me, and I can help signpost you, and if I can’t, we will fight that battle with you. Laura