Written by Kara Vaina - Owner of My Mindful Year.
You’ve been there? I feel ya. Cos that was me a few years ago. At the time, my 12 month old son wasn’t talking (at all and still only has limited words), would have a complete meltdown every 2.4 seconds and I had no idea how to parent him because I felt like he hated me. It was the times he would scream blue murder day in and day out, he’d scream from point A to point B in the car, he’d punch me, kick me, bite me and even transformed into Hulk, throwing a step ladder at me. Like what the hell, how does a 12 month old have the strength to do that?
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Motherhood was a hard journey for me. Six miscarriages and resorting to IVF after finding out I carry the miscarriage chromosome saw challenging times. Who even knew there was such a thing as a Miscarriage Chromosome….yup I got it. But, I had a 7 year old son so I’d done the parenting thing before and quite well if I do say so myself. Hudson, is a well-mannered, placid, caring and affectionate boy who was easy to parent. So, when my second little man came along I thought I had this gig nailed. Little did I know I was in for the ride of my life. A ride I wasn’t prepared for.
Most people would see me as a confident, happy and positive person but in the world of social media it was easy to maintain this façade. However I was locking myself in my wardrobe crying most days. I’d scream back at my son when he was screaming, when he was aggressive and hurting me because I didn’t know what else to do. I remember crying to my husband saying “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what I want you to do to help me and I don’t know how to fix it”. It was at this point I realized I needed help. I’d become anti-social because I was embarrassed of him and his behaviour. And don’t worry sometimes I still get embarrassed and flustered whilst out and about. Majority of my girlfriends didn’t get it (and still don’t) because they would just dismiss my thoughts saying it was toddler tantrums. But let me tell you this was no toddler tantrums. This was next level. I found out who got me, who were my “mums tribe” and I found out where I stood to all of those other so called friendships I’d had over the years that had suddenly gone missing because I wasn’t the one calling them anymore.
It still pains me to say that I hated parenting at this stage of my life and the only thing that I enjoyed was working, drawing and colouring because it took me back to my happy place, away from this living hell. I started seeing a Psychologist which when I finally acknowledged I needed help was a huge deal. I use to be one of those Judgey McJudgey types before I had kids (don’t worry I’m now the one that gives you a cuddle and says “it’s going to be ok” or “I know how you feel”). The ones that would wonder why or who would really need to see a Psychologist for such issues. But two years on I put my hand up to say I fell somewhere amongst depression, post-natal, a struggling isolated mother that just needed a non-judgemental ear herself or someone who just needed a hug.
It was tough and even since opening up about it all in the last 6 months still sees tears flow here and there. It’s something however that’s taught me so much about me, about how I parent, how I manage stress, how I react, who my support network is, who has my back, who I really am and so much more. I’m a massive believer in the saying “Everything that’s happening to you is happening for you”. And to be honest, even I questioned this during the last two to three years, cos heck, I didn’t know I wanted to even go through this to learn. But….there has been so many positives that have come out of it that I’m so grateful for every day with this little human and the life I live.
Through this experience, my love for colouring and advice from the psychologist to look at mindfulness strategies found me exploring a whole new world. I’d written positive affirmation after positive affirmation, quote after quote to try and help me with my mindset, refocus if I was having a bad day but soon found I had post it notes falling out all over the place. This combined with doctor appointments week after week, I simply didn’t have my Sh!! together. My life was an all-round shambles. So came My Mindful Year – I created my own Planner and Diary all in one…..a Pliary. It was my haven to colour, to inspire me, to make appointments, to be grateful, to track my personal growth and something I wanted to help keep my life together. And that’s what it did…for me and hundreds of others. I had that much interest much to my surprise that it sold out in 6 short weeks. It was something that other mothers needed. I’d tried every journal, gratitude diary, diary, planner etc but there was nothing that had small steps along the way that could keep me focused and without forcing myself to take an hour to think of things to write.
This is something that I’m ever so grateful for because I know my “why” is helping other mothers or women out there struggling with mental health and just want to take small steps to help build their confidence and happiness each day. Its my mission to share the love and ensure My Mindful Year has an impact on as many lives as possible because its already made such a difference to many.
So ah, yeah, something huge came of this rock bottom stage in my life.
Two years on and my little man and I are growing closer every day, seeking small wins and creating some amazing memories. The character and personality this tiny human has amazes me every single day. We still struggle with communication but yes that’s improving and so are his meltdowns, but I will say it’s come with so much hard work and understanding. I’ve heard over the years about parents being their child’s advocate and I never really understood the extent of it until now. I’m fighting every single day for him. To get the best help, the best support, to be surrounded by people who understand our needs and situation and people who want to love and support us for everything that’s happening in our world, big or small, good or bad.
ABOUT MY MINDFUL YEAR
Mindfulness Stationery & Gifts – A Mindful Movement for Doing Life. My Mindful Year is a Stationery & Gift Online Retailer (and wholesaler) who’s mission is to make a difference to your mental health through small steps. With a range of Pliaries (planner and diary all in one), Junior Journals and other gifts your whole family can enjoy.
Biz owner: Kara Vaina
Fav café: Grindstone
Coffee order: Skinny latte with 1 sugar although Neil at Grindstone hates me for that and refuses the sugar - LOL!
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