This week’s blog comes from the CEO’s Chair. As we approach Mother’s Day here in the US, our CEO Claire Revell talks very honestly about working mums and the feeling of anxiety. Over to you Claire…
Firstly, whether you’re a Mum or a Step-Mum, whether you work part-time or full-time, I have the utmost respect for you. It’s not always easy! I’ve learnt over the past 12 months that we are often too hard on ourselves.
I’m 35 and our first wedding anniversary is just around the corner. I’m a Step-Mum to two teenage boys who I’m blessed to have a great relationship with. I’m the CEO of a growing business that is continuing to flourish. I truly love my job and I have a wonderful group of friends. Life is great… but it’s not always as it seems.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, which can be a positive thing. It can motivate us to accomplish tasks, meet deadlines, and warn us when we may be in a dangerous situation. It’s fight or flight. It is crucial to remember however that feeling anxious does not equate to a diagnosis of anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder involves intense and excessive anxiety, along with other debilitating symptoms.
I haven’t ever been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, but I did go through a period of time suffering with anxiety, which affected my driving. I lost my confidence and didn’t want to drive certain roads, I didn’t drive late at night or in the bad weather. I could never understand why or where it came from. I wasn’t feeling stressed, yes, I worked many hours, but I didn’t feel stressed. I’m a confident, outgoing person and I was happy with my life. There were no real problems that I was dealing with, I didn’t understand why I felt anxious. So why was I feeling this way? Where was this coming from?
For many of us, the feeling of anxiety is an ever-present uninvited guest; whether its’s something you suffer from or it’s present in a group of friends or among family members. There is a lot of debate that surrounds the question of: Is anxiety on the rise, or are we simply more inclined to speak about it these days? In many studies, it’s been noted that millennials are the most anxious generation.
Growing up I had a number of inspirational women surrounding me, with a work ethic I had the upmost respect for. My Mum was a nurse and worked long days and night shifts. My grandparents worked hard and till very late in their years, until they started to care for grandchildren. My Great Grandma lived a similar life and lived to 104! She was an incredible lady. To my knowledge, there wasn’t anyone in my family who suffered with anxiety. When I asked them about this subject, they said that on occasion life was difficult but it wasn’t referred to as “stress” or “anxiety” back then and they would “just get on with it”.
As many of us do, I work on average about 70 hours a week. I like to be in the house when the boys leave for the school bus and I try to be back in the house when they get home from school and most of the time we have a family dinner before I return to work. I try to keep on top of everything at home, I keep thinking I should get a cleaner/housekeeper but then I think “No it’s Ok, I’ll find the time!” I have an incredibly supportive husband, and I’m fortunate that he’s a great cook! So why is it that when I sit down in the evening, typically very late, or start late one morning, that I feel guilty and start feeling anxious? Why is it when I pour a glass of prosecco in the evening I think, o weekday drinking, not sure I should do this?! I always know there is something else that needs doing and I feel like I should be doing that instead of relaxing. Where does the guilt and anxiety come from?
After making the decision to seek professional advice, I started to understand that I was putting too much pressure on myself. I started to realize that I had accomplished a huge amount of the goals I had set for myself over the years. I was winning in life, no one close to me was judging me, and I shouldn’t judge myself.
So, whether you’re a Mum, a Step-Mum, a Granny, an Auntie, a Sister, a Daughter, STOP beating yourself up. We should all encourage and support each other. Focus on the positive things in life and reflect on things you have achieved rather than what you haven’t.
So what if you haven’t vacuumed today and the kids’ beds aren’t made?! So what if you go out with friends for a glass of wine tonight instead of filing all those emails or going to the gym?!
You’ve accomplished something else today so reward yourself for that and don’t feel bad. You deserve it! Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself.
To quote Michelle Obama from her book “Becoming”… which is the best book ever!
Happy Mother’s Day and have a wonderful weekend.