There’s a leak in my cup

There's a leak in my cup - Ever-changing Life of a Mum

“Don’t forget to fill your own cup.”

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

“You can’t fill up others with an empty cup.”

Over and over again I hear self care advice telling mums that they need to fill their own cup before they can fill others.

But what happens when your cup has a leak? I try, I really try to keep my cup full, but I’m seriously starting to think that there’s something wrong with my cup.

No matter what I do, I can’t quite get my cup to reach the top. Actually most of the time I don’t even think it reaches half way.

I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks now. I’m finally getting time to write this after several weeks of illness being passed around my family ranging from tonsillitis to chickenpox. The rollercoaster ride isn’t quite over and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that other members of the family are spared. Plus, I can already feel we’re heading into the crazy season of end of year school events, dance concerts, pre-Christmas catch ups and the festive season … even though it’s only October!

I know my almost empty cup is beginning to affect me, my parenting and my relationships.

I feel tired. I feel worn out. I can be grouchy. I can be snappy. I’m certainly not always the mum, or wife, I want to be.

Inside I know she’s still there. The fun mum. The happy mum. The not phased by a change to routine mum. I’m that person some of the time, but it doesn’t feel often enough lately.

For now, I’m working on grabbing snippets of ‘me’ time when I can and try to tell myself that that’s enough. Baby steps, right?

I’m trying to do things that I enjoy – like reading, writing, baking, sewing, crochet. Still, I don’t feel that l am following through on any of my bigger objectives.

Right now I’m a woman with great intentions but lacking in any kind of commitment. For months I have planned to do some more exercise by taking a walk around a nearby lake every Wednesday morning. I even set a calendar appointment to remind me, but have since deleted this as it started to make me feel guilty, because do you know how many times I have been on that walk? Zero. Never. Zilch. Whether it be rain, illness, sick children, errands or housework, there always seems to be something else that comes up and takes priority.

It’s also been some time since I have spent any serious time on the yoga mat, either at home or in a class. I sign up for 30-day online yoga challenges that I never do, I look for yoga classes that fit into my family’s schedule but when I finally sign up and attend a few classes the timetable changes to a night when I can no longer attend and I have to start my search all over again.

There seems to be something blocking my way. It’s frustrating and tiring but I realise I have to find a way to break down that wall.

I know I chose this lifestyle for me and my family. I made a conscious choice to leave behind the corporate world to be a stay at home mum and I wouldn’t alter that decision for anything in the world. The time I get to spend with and be there for my girls means so much to me.

Right now I need to work on removing the blocks – both mentally and the physically. Because I know that filling my cup shouldn’t be a chore, it shouldn’t be another thing on my to do list and I certainly shouldn’t feel guilty about seizing those moments and making time for me.

Do you have trouble filling your cup? How do you keep your cup full?


17 thoughts on “There’s a leak in my cup

  1. It felt like my cup had a massive leak for ages, and it turns out that it was in the form of low iron stores. Combined with busy time at work and finishing uni, I’ve been dropping things. All the things. Things that “shouldn’t” be dropped. Fighting my own head as I apply for extensions at uni. Freaking out and calling the professor who runs my postgrad course, because the counselling service suggested I should drop out & I’m so close to finishing.
    Forge ahead, but give yourself permission to drop things. I’m eating takeaway breakfasts more than my budget or waistline needs, but you know what, short term pain will help me get to work and through the day.

  2. Are you a giver…don’t answer that, I already know! I have no wisdom but I know what it feels like to run on empty and I read this in you. Sometimes life does give us these times of such overwhelm and busyness that we know we need a time out..but how, where, when? Forget the classes, the blocking out of time for there a chance you can have 10 minutes outside…with no-one finding you so you begin to find yourself again…and each day promise yourself some space like this where and when you can. Thinking of you. Denyse #teamIBOT

  3. yep, filling your own cup is hard, and keeping it full is even harder. I try to leave the house every couple of months for a crafty evening, which always leaves me feeling great, but day-to-day I’ve had to shift my focus a little bit – at the moment walking the dog is my twenty minutes of me time.

  4. Gosh it can be so hard can’t it Erika? I don’t have any brilliant answers for you because often I feel the same way but I’m learning (slowly) to look after myself more and not feel guilty for it.

  5. Oh, I hear your struggle. I have definitely been there before! That happens to me every few months and sometimes it gets so bad that if I don’t have at least a full day off from responsibility, I have a mini breakdown! My struggle is trying to not let it get that bad! I hear you about the cup having a leak – that’s so frustrating. I hope you see light at the end of this latest tunnel soon xx

  6. Oh hon, it sounds like you’ve had an awful run of family bad health. This is the bit where you need to just hang in there. Don’t try to be anything more than enough. There will be time for all the other stuff when the fog clears.

    We’ve been through a dreadful year of bad health and it feels like maybe a light is coming soon. Mr 6 is having his tonsils out tomorrow.

    This is the time to let others keep filing up your cup, no matter how leaky it is. You can return the favour some other time but not now. I hope the punches stop rolling for you soon xxx

  7. If you can’t find half an hour, how about 10 minutes for starters and you can build up from there. This “Erika Time” isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, so there is really nothing to feel guilty about. And when circumstances and illness don’t fall in your favour, is there someone you can ask who can help out if needed, to make sure you can get your 10 minutes of time. Remember, you’re worth it!

  8. Hi Erika, I love the honesty of this post! I think us mums can all relate to this at some point. My thought is that it is very hard to ever get ‘the cup’ totally full, it’s more a constant act of pour a bit in, pour a bit out as we feel we can/ have opportunity. I love the saying “There is a season for everything” we need to allow times for renewal as we need, and …. there will be seasons when you feel more ‘full’ and able to give out more I am sure. It can be frustrating though I guess seeing other peoples need but not feeling like you have the capacity to help. I have felt like that a bit lately too. No need to feel guilty – I think it shows wisdom and maturity to have taken a break from Blogging because you needed to, and focus on you and your family. Shows you have perspective 🙂 Hope you feel a bit better soon! ooxx

  9. Big hugs, Erika. When illness strikes the household it can really suck the energy out of you. I remember when the boys were much younger, I would feel the same as you – my cup was always leaking too. Take deep breaths and keep talking to your friends and support network whenever you can x

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