Do you ever have one of those weekends when the volume dial is just jammed on high?
The dog barked continuously, the mini maelstrome that is Ruby moaned all day, the middle monkey over-tired cried at everything, and the older sulked and sighed (very loudly) and my own screeching reached embarrassing levels as I tried to untangle three sets of christmas lights, stabalise a tree while the dog pulled it the other way, detangle said dog from the tinsel tornado he had become, and I generally let loose my furious festive fuming.
Do you ever have one of those weeks when your head jars with the constant jangle of 'I'm a crap parent today' melodied with 'you must be a better parent today', till your head feels like splitting in two with the bickering voices?
I've learned a lot about minding my own mental wealth after my bout of post-natal depression last year. And I've written here and been published in newspapers and magazines on various issues surronding mental health, and the pressure on young people in particular. I have three daughters and so have a keen interest in what might lie ahead for them. And like most parents, I am constantly wondering about how my parenting will affect them.
So it came as a bit of a shock to read that 50% of all mental disorders will have their onset during the school-going years. This terrifies me - what my girls will experience, and how they will cope will have a profound affect on the rest of their lives. I will play one of the most important roles in making sure they can cope, are given the mental, emotional and practical skills to cope with family life, school life, social life, friends, academia, social pressures, etc
My girls are just in primary school, but already I deal daily with issues relating to the general gymboree of schoolyard issues. I can only imagine the challenges of the years ahead. Here are the stats in Ireland:
In an average secondary school class size of 30 students, 12 will feel depressed, 7 will not feel they can talk to anyone about how they feel, 6 will think about self-harming, and 3 will.
As I had one of my mummy mania moments over the weekend, feeling put-upon, stressed, overworked, undervalued - you know, the usual - I asked my girls what would make a happy household. I was leading to a smart reply along the lines of a happy mummy makes a happy household and helping, doing as your told, not fighting yada yada yada would make me a happy mummy. I know, crap mum moment. But instead, I was stopped in my tracks. My bright little button Poppy looked at me and said simply, as if it was the most obvious answer in the world, "Love. Love makes a happy household."
I dropped my duldrums and hugged her hard. She's right of course. Love is the answer. I just hope its enough.....