Struggling, Surviving and Seeing

I try to look on the bright side, I really do, but sometimes it’s well, hard. There’s the busy-ness. And the relentlessness. The always-on-ness and the how-do-you-do-it ness.

This week somewhere between swimming lessons and GAA training but after that important conference call and around the time of that highly irritating email exchange, I let my first world problems get on top of me. A frown took up residence on my brow and I sighed at anyone who would listen. My broken car that was going to cost a fortune to fix, my constantly waking three-year-old; solo parenting; saying “shoes” a hundred times every morning; the tiredness. All the stuff that is nothing by itself but adds up and snowballs and won’t go away. A grump.

Chocolate didn’t make it go away. Fresh air didn’t make it go away. I surprisingly didn’t turn to wine or gin. (I don’t even recognise me). I joined my children in whinging, a family chorus. It was delightful.

I noticed when I spoke to friends that everyone had similar stories, and when I shared the floodgates opened “Me too”, “I thought it was just me”.  Everyone was struggling, between work, parenting and family it seemed like everyone was having a crappy week. Each interaction brought more bad news, nothing serious, just a general feeling of being overwhelmed. Knowing that none of it was insurmountable but feeling powerless.

And then I read about some truly awful things. They didn’t happen to me, but they made me grateful for what I had and made my worries, which were big to me, seem so unimportant. I read about another Ciaran and Cathal and their terribly sad story, and their incredibly brave parents. (You can read their story and support them here, it’s heartbreaking). I followed the story of the missing crew of Rescue 116. I watched the reports of  the attacks in London. I heard that someone I knew years ago had died in an accident.

My grumpiness was replaced by sadness, and my resolve to be more grateful strengthened. It’s like that time before that I got perspective.

Struggling is still surviving, not to belittle the struggle, but there are so many levels worse. We need to remember that.

Whinge by all means, that’s therapeutic isn’t it? But try not to lose sight of the fact that we are the lucky ones.

We live on the bright side, we have to make the most of it, for those who don’t.





  1. I just read about those two little boys. God, how devastating. We are so lucky that all the shit stuff in our lives is totally ridiculous in comparison.

  2. had a similar “emotional” timeout this week myself , but seeing IrelandAM made me take stock pretty quickly. Important for us all to acknowledge our own frustrations ,shed a tear and then dust ourselves down. Great post ,:)

  3. I get you. We all swim in a rough sea now and again and get weary with the effort and monotony. Such is our life.
    I walk twice a week with my friend who lost her son, Daniel. An hour and a half in her company changes my world every week. Her positivity, her joy for life and living, her humour, her wisdom change me every time.
    A moan and a cry for help are necessary every now and then but sometimes the mountains we think we are climbing are small hills to others.
    I hope the week ahead is a lot better for you.

  4. You are absolutely right – there are terrible things happening, and the last few weeks have seemed particularly sad. It’s still OK to feel overwhelmed and frustrated and as you rightly say, whinge by all means. But good to have perspective too.

  5. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes we can really focus on the little things, can’t we? And when all added together they really do add up, but it is also necessary to take a step back and realise just how lucky we are. Lovely post, you really put it all so well!

  6. Helen, The Busy Mama

    I hear you on all counts. The day to day stuff is very testing – but yes we are bloody lucky that we only have to deal with the mundane niceties most of the time. It’s good to put it all in context – but at the same time to acknowledge that the shitty small stuff is shitty – and just keep hoping it stays small. Chin up x

  7. Overwhelmed-ness. My favourite new word. Fabulously written and so timely for me right now. I just read about the two little boys, heartbreaking. Thanks for the reminder to remember how lucky we are.

  8. So well written, at times it feels like I’m juggling and any minute one of the balls will fall out of the air…but on the days where my children are constantly calling me or my 18 month old discovers another dangerous corner to climb, I try take a deep breath and remind myself how lucky I am that they can do all these things, they are able to speak my name, they are able to argue about homework, they are able climb onto the kitchen table… because all these little things that come so naturally to them could be monumental achievements for some other little person.

  9. lifeonhushabyefarm

    Yes to so much of this. It’s not always easy to stay looking at the big picture, busyness makes our view blurry and we focus on the small stuff and forget all the good things surrounding it. It’s ok to moan though, and to feel the frustration…and hope perspective comes along when we need it most.

  10. Perspective is needed alright, to keep us on track

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