MENTAL MUTHA MEETS NATALIE DAWKINS
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS NATALIE DAWKINS
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
I’m a Mum that’s navigating new challenges of parenting with old anxious brain chat and panic attacks. On a bad day my butt gets kicked and I go backwards, on a good day I kick some butt and move forwards, some days a bit of both, but who doesn’t love a cocktail?! The main thing is my kids butt mostly just gets sniffed...
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
Really breathe, have a good hard cry or shout and talk it out with someone I trust. And probably stuff my face with some chocolate/take it out jumping on a trampoline before figuring out my game plan.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
Yes but not always explicitly- everyone struggles parenting and I find it hard to explain how it tips into my existing anxiety without worrying like it seems like I’m playing top trumps, but I wish I did it more freely without this worry (ironic really!).
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
I have a two year old so it’s limited at the moment, but I’m trying to lay the ground and set kind boundaries. I want to encourage her emotions to be expressed without judgement and really listen to what she’s experiencing rather than talking at her or trying to fix things right away (hard when the emotion is expressed in a repeated 20 min scream fest). Just being available to listen and help if possible. Its also important to me she knows while we do set expectations we can take her best and worst and won’t be scared off ourselves if her feelings are big - our aim is to meet her with calmness and love, the reality is we sometimes melt down and cry along too. Taking huge breaths and accepting comfort and recharging when it goes wrong - for all of us actually not just for her.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
My husband, my mum, my closest friends and a few fabulous Mum friends. My CBT therapist is also amazing, as are my instagram feeds for perspectives of other mums out there - helps with the isolation and seeing the humour and solidarity. If all else fails Beyoncé
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
Making sure I’ve taken actual time for myself, if possible set a regular time. Laughing is amazing medicine as is chocolate and a huge bath. Spending time in good company also helps loads - time focused on connecting or being silly with my family and friends resets me.
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'?)
Sort of, I hear more about it generally. People seem to be acknowledging and accepting of it and try and I encourage myself and others to be - it’s easy with people in my life I trust but with people I’m unsure of it feels risky and like it will be written off as moaning, being over sensitive or being hard work. That defensive critical ‘everyone’s got problems’ mentality that sometimes comes from others not realising there is more to it, and there is room for everyone to understand and own their mental health.
Where’s your head at?
Making real me time, taking it with as little guilt as possible (not easy!). Breathing through worries and staying in the moment, seeking out confidence and calm when a small shit storm or huge poonami approaches! (Metaphorically but I suppose it works literally too!!)
Soft Play or Rehab?
Soft play likely to send me to rehab! Not usually as bad as I think though..
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker?
Bit of both goes along way?!
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Prob nut job, but if we are honest who isn’t?
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
Always aiming for the care now, may come after the sabotage at times, still learning to put that into better practise...
Journal or jog?
Cardio on a trampoline or a walk in fresh air - followed by writing down it chatting it through if it needs more process
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
Help, but learning that a little bit of hermit ain’t so bad either to build up personal resilience and focus the help you need to seek ou.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.