Ok, I have to admit, in general I’ve never considered myself a very emotional human being. I mean I don’t cry at movies and my heart doesn’t melt when I see a cute little dog… I remember I couldn’t even cry at my grandparents’ funerals, although I realised people like me process emotional pain much later and in a different way.

However, since I had my children, things have slowly started to change. I felt tears filling my eyes when I saw my kids’ excitement at decorating our first Christmas tree! Then I lost my cool again when I saw my parents meet my kids at the airport and when my son skied down his first slope. Now he has started his first year at pre-school. Every morning he and his sister would walk to school, hand in hand, wearing their school backpacks, and I wave them goodbye from the window. I just wonder, why are these first years of school such a big deal for mums? Why is this such a poignant time for us? You may think it is obvious: it is a new stage and kids grow up; they don’t need us that much anymore… and by the way, this has nothing to do with the empty house, the quiet moments (which I really enjoy) and loneliness!?

Besides emotional, the first few weeks of school can also be nerve-racking. There is a new schedule to adjust to; new activities like football, swimming, ballet, and extra classes. You start asking yourself, when am I going to find time for the housework? For cooking dinners, grocery shopping, breakfast-making and lunchbox preparation? And, finally, what about the time for my other job?

As I write this I am lying in bed looking at my watch, knowing I should be turning the lights off soon because tomorrow the day will start at 6am and there is a lot to be done! It is a new Monday and a new week. September is busy for me because I have a new website to launch and 5 events to present at.

So how do I cope with stress and keep my mind sharp and focused every day? I don’t! Last week I missed a client’s appointment and an important event I was supposed to go to. I simply had a blackout and forgot about them. I am also notoriously late for most of my meetings and I always eat on the go.

From time to time I read other people’s tips and tricks on how to cope with stress, like exercise, yoga, meditation. Yes, some of these help, but I think the one very important thing is to be kind to yourself! To take things slowly, one at a time, and to be aware that you are dealing with a lot; that being a mum and having a family and a home is a privilege!

Tomorrow I am turning 42 and I feel more filled with gratitude than ever that my body and mind haven’t let me down all these years. I am really grateful for all I am and for all the support I get from my parents, from the girls who babysit my kids; grateful for all the women who recognise my struggle, who sit and listen quietly when I feel the pain of the daily grind which most of us have to deal with! For those who encouragingly say, “You are doing great sista! I’ve got your back” Thank you! Thank you Lidija, Fiona, Leonie, Kathy, Rosi, Mia, Stasi and all the other mums out there who are not judging or shaming other mums! We are all doing our best and we need to remember to be kind and gracious before being right and to recognize the best in each other!