MENTAL MUTHA MEETS GIOVANNA FLETCHER
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS GIOVANNA FLETCHER
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
My head can’t currently distinguish between the two… so make of that what you will.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
I’d like to hide to be honest. But the reality is that I keep going until Tom stops me and tells me I’m doing too much. I feel overwhelmed a lot. That’s a word that’s very present in my life. There’s just so much to do and it feels like I’m never reaching the bottom of my to-do list, even if I dedicate all of my time to getting that list done.
The best thing for me to do is step away and have family time. Family time comes with its own stress, of course, but you get the laughter and cuddles alongside it which makes everything a million times better.
One thing I’ve learnt recently though, is that if I have a big deadline looming or too much on my plate I have an inability to switch off. This makes me feel like I’m on edge quite a lot. I’d hate to think that my boys can sense that. As a result I’ve started to cut back and do less – which is tough when you’re freelance and feel you have to make the most of opportunities given to you. The big questions I now ask myself is ‘Will I regret doing this in five years time? Will I look back and wish I’d spent that time with my children instead?’ It’s not been easy, but those questions help provide some clarity. Usually.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
The truth is I’m a bit of a workaholic, something I’m currently addressing with the questions above, but it means I don’t get to see my mates as much as I’d love to. That said, there are a couple of girlfriends who are constantly touching base on the subject. One in particular always makes a point of asking, ‘And how are you Gi?’ The way she asks makes it a loaded question. Sometimes I’m fine and tell her such, sometimes I confess that I’m struggling, and other times I just start crying – catching us both off-guard.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kids?
Mine are still very young, but we talk a lot about emotions – to the point where Buzz, after a busy day of nursery will turn around to me with a forlorn face and announce ‘I’m just a bit emotional today’. I want him to see that there’s absolutely no shame in that, and in sharing how you truly feel. I hope he grows up knowing he can always talk about how he’s feeling with us.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
My kids. Stepping away and witnessing them enjoying life puts everything into perspective. They are my little heroes.
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
People help, so does cleaning… as does burying my head in a fantastic book. Last week I read one. A whole book. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I allowed myself that time. It felt amazing! It’s also pretty inspiring as a writer to remember why I loved books in the first place.
Is it hard to talk about your mental health? (Doesn't mean on Instagram necessarily, but do you feel the stigma is lifting and do you feel safe to speak your mind, even if it is possibly 'mental'?)
I’m a pretty honest person, yet that’s something that’s only come with motherhood. Writing Happy Mum, Happy Baby was the first time I’d really addressed a lot of the things that were going through my head as a new mum. The response was incredible. I never realised there were so many people out there who felt just like I did. I wish I’d have spoken out as soon as those doubts, fears and worries came into play. They felt overwhelming and mammoth, but knowing I wasn’t alone would’ve helped massively.
Where’s your head at? (Right here in this moment, today)
Today I’m feeling strong – but that is because I’ve managed to clear my diary and reassess where I’m at in life. The calmness tells me I’m making the right choices at this particular moment in time.
Soft Play or Rehab?
Soft play… although I’m always worried I’ll be the mum stuck in the rolly mangles.
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
I would usually go for the wine option, but as I’m pregnant I’ll go for a cracker… with some chilli cheese on!
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Nut job. I tend to put it down to my Italian/Essex mix – but I think I’ve always been a bit of a nutter.
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
I don’t think I tend to self sabotage, but I don’t do enough self care to stop the self sabotage from happening… ooooh!
Journal or jog?
Journal. I wish I could jog but I just don’t have it in me… I love the idea of it though!
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
I’ve started asking for help… because life isn’t about being a sodding martyr!
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If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.