No one likes to admit they’re feeling envious. Fact. An ugly emotion often associated to mean girls, who bitch behind your back and smile to your face. But unbeknown to the likes of Instagram and other shiny social media channels, I would guess the green-eyed monster has paid a visit to us all at some point. And never have I looked a greener hew than since I became a mum.
Swapping my life as a party loving PR girl to a full-time mum resulted in a period of huge adjustment that, if I’m honest, is still ongoing. And with the immeasurable, heart swelling love that came with being a mother, there also came with a complex bundle of feelings about my new life as chief bum wiper – jealousy being one of them. As with most negative emotions, there is a tendency to pretend they don’t exist, push them aside or swallow them whole in the hope that they’ll disappear. Sadly this approach not only made me feel bad and sad, but vulnerable to more Arthur Fowler moments than I would care to mention. Now? I try to look the green eyed git straight in the eye, acknowledge its existence and accept that today is just one of those days.
So whether you’re feeling envious of your best mate’s promotion, your sister’s weight loss or your work colleague’s booze-fest in Ibiza, here are a few tips I hope will help…
Switch off Social Media – sounds like a no brainer, but when I’m having a crap day I can pretty much always correlate it with wasting way too much time on social media. When you’re bored, lonely, isolated and generally fed up – feelings often associated with being a new mum – feeding your brain with the glamorous, carefree and successful lives of others would simply be madness, right? But we all do it. Step away from the Facebook app and switch off the darn phone. Everyone has days when they feel like this, they’re just not pretty enough to capture on Snapchat.
Escapism – at the risk of sounding like a proper mum giving advice to a teenage daughter, if you’re feeling envious, it’s going to be more to do with what is going on with you than what the other person is up to (unless they’re on a spa weekend…in Ibiza…with free booze…and David Beckham). Find another way to escape and distract yourself. Take a break and get lost in a good book or film, read a mag, or stick on your favourite TV series. Who has time to feel pissed about their pal’s promotion when you’re trying to figure out the twist in the latest un-put-down-able thriller?
Make Plans – go out with the pals who make you belly laugh. Reschedule those date nights that have gone rogue from the calendar for the last six months. Plan some play dates with your Prosecco loving mummy mates, and most importantly, have fun. You’ll be so busy living your life, you won’t have time to yearn after the lives of others
Get Productive – over the last few months I’ve learnt that to keep my happiness and general mental health in check, I need to be productive. I need a plan…a list. I need to tick stuff off and see that shit is getting done (although my kitchen cupboards would tell you a totally different story). Unfortunately when it comes to child rearing, there is more chance that your precious list will be torn or drawn all over, than for you to be ticking anything off. Raised well-rounded and kind individual who hasn’t stolen cars or robbed grannies? Check! Well in about 20 years anyway (hopefully!) So I decided to volunteer. At five months pregnant, I was unwilling to give up the SAHM gig completely and return to work, so I now volunteer my PR services for the super humans running Women in Need London. I also run a monthly Mental Health Mates walk in East London. Not only do a get a huge sense of achievement and a warm fuzzy feeling, but I also get some much-needed perspective and a crucial reminder that the grass is not always greener.
Be Thankful – I’m not a big fan of gratitude lists, mainly because I always forget to write them. But taking stock and reminding yourself of all the good in your life is never a bad thing – whether this is in list form or otherwise. I know I am incredibly fortunate, but often I need to consciously cut through the crap to really remember
Be Supportive – Feeling envious doesn’t make you a mean girl; it’s how you decide to act when feeling this way that defines who you are. Call your mate and say congratulations. Comment and give someone your best wishes. Share in your friend’s success and remember that just because this may be her time, doesn’t mean your time won’t come.
Keep plugging away at what you wish for and, you never know, you too could end up on a boozy spa break with Becks (I wish!)