Mum’s monkey mind

I’m at the foot of the cot trying not to move in case something in this 44 year old body creaks and alerts the 2 year old to my whereabouts. It’s one of those nights and I’m in it for the long haul.

As I’m lying there in silence waiting until she dozes off, I suddenly become really conscious of the hundreds of thoughts entering my brain….. food shopping, nursery fees, hair appointment, swimming lessons, nappies, emails, new shoes, the bank, council tax,  nativity costume, prosecco….the list is endless.

It got me thinking (because clearly my brain doesn’t do enough of that!) is this constant brain chatter a Mum thing?  My brain never seems to switch off and if brain chatter burnt calories, I’d give Stick Man’s ‘Lady Love’ a run for her money in the twig like body stakes. 

So I did a bit of googling and found that brain chatter is actually a recognised thing.  Buddhists call it  ‘monkey mind’.  They say that the mind is full of monkeys and not just any old monkeys…. drunken monkeys (not a shocker really considering my body’s made up of 70% prosecco).  These drunken monkeys chatter non stop whilst swinging from one branch to another just as our mum mind bounces from one thought to the next.

There’s so much online advice about dealing with the ‘drunken monkeys’ (including a practical step by step guide) so I decided to take one for ‘team mum’ and try and follow it:

Step 1 : Embrace and acknowledge your monkeys 

Ok, so don’t judge me but I’ve got a few monkeys. There’s the party animal monkey who tends to come out at night and gets all rowdy waking the others up, there’s the potty mouth one that usually comes out when the kids are pushing my buttons, there’s the one that absolutely loves a list, one that has zero patience, one’s a complete worrier and one has no self confidence, and if you asked my husband he’d say I have one monkey that loves to nag!

 Step 2: Calm them down with meditation.

In a bid to tame my monkey (why does that sound like something pornographic?) I try meditation.  I shut the bedroom door whilst the kids are with the other half downstairs and try to clear my mind and relax.   This lasted for approximately 60 seconds as the bedroom door swings open and the 5 year old in a panic blurts out “ Freya’s done a messy poo AND has pulled her nappy off AND is running around the living room AND Daddy said to get you as it’s carnage”.  Calm them down with meditation – er nope - now if they’d said calm them down with MEDICATION…that, I could of done. 

Step 3:Keep busy

I’m not being funny but what absolute Twonk wrote that?  Seriously who the hell wrote ‘Keep busy?’ A mum with a monkey mind must keep busy.  Oh ok let me just get up from relaxing on my chaise longue and find something for me to do….NEXT

 Step 4: Chant the mantra ‘Peace, Peace Peace ‘ out loud

“A piece of what Mummy?” asked the eldest.  “Piss Piss Piss” repeated the 2 year old. 

 Step 5: Stop and talk to your monkey

Hang on a minute if I stopped every time a monkey came in to my head rigor mortis would set in.

So clearly the advice out there doesn’t work for mums who have the cast of the Lion King permanently doing an encore in their brain.   I suppose the more I think about it in one way, yes it’s a curse but without it shit would not get done!!  Like literally NOTHING would get done.  Without the drunken monkeys my kids would be feral and scavenging barefoot for food in next doors’ dustbins, my husband would have a permanent imprint of a bar stool in his backside having sat in the pub for the whole day….I could go on….

The more I think about it us Mums keep the world turning!!  I know I’m bigging us up but we deserve it.  Through severe sleep deprivation, drama’s, illnesses, tantrums, drop offs, pick ups, sadness, work, household stuff, we have this immense strength.....we keep everything and I mean EVERYTHING moving.  

If you actually sat back and wrote down what you’ve done in one day, seeing it in black and white is absolutely inspiring.  We rock at what we do so why do we question ourselves?  Why do we think we’re not good enough?  We play so many roles that we’ve learnt on the job and every single day we achieve.  Our mental ability to retain information should be an instant membership to MENSA (although we’ll forget about calling the children the wrong names from time to time as that’s an occupational hazard!.)  

The chaos of the drunken monkeys is part and parcel of who we are and reinforces our superheroine status.  No step by step guide on google can calm these primates down! 

Although I’ll offer an alternative:

Kids in bed, bra off, pjs on, pour a large glass of prosecco, sip, sigh......and relax.