Christmas, social anxiety and a ruined wedding – 2024, where you at?!

Written December 21st, 2023

Christmas is a joyous time for love, sharing, giving and the magic of Santa.

I love Christmas as much as the next person.

While this time of year may bring happiness to many, it is also difficult for many.

Those who have experienced loss, going through a tough situation or simply may not celebrate the holiday.

2023 has been an incredible year for me, full of unforgettable and life-changing experiences.

Every December, I experience a certain unexplained sadness.

I am not sure of the reason for feeling this way.

Despite these feelings, 2023 has been an incredible year for me, full of unforgettable and life-changing experiences.

I had my ‘real’ wedding to the man I love; the same man I fell in love with controversially on an Australian television show.

Image: Lio and Co

I returned to work after maternity leave and commenced a new role as an IT User Acceptance Tester.

I experienced my beautiful twin boys’ big ‘firsts’ – crawling, steps, words, their first twin brother cuddle (if seeing that doesn’t get your ovaries flipping out, I don’t know what will). Watch their first cuddle here.

I also started a little passion project; my website, ‘Her Second Shift’.

Backstory of ‘Her Second Shift’

I was inspired to start my website from an Audible book similarly named ‘The Second Shift’ by Anne Machung and Arlie Russell Hochschild.

The Second Shift explores the challenges faced by households where both parents work and raise children.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the book summarises that women tend to work their paid job, then come home and begin their unpaid ‘second shift’.

That is, raising the children whilst simultaneously cooking, cleaning, caring for the home and all the responsibilities that come with home maintenance i.e. paying bills, booking and remembering appointments etc.

Image: Audible

Of course, there are many stay-at-home Dads nowadays who would fall into the above category, so as not to discredit them.

However, it is undisputably still more common for women to do the majority for their families.

I am one of them.

The audiobook inspired me to share my thoughts and experiences on a platform where others could relate.

Instead of choosing the popular medium of podcasting, I decided to create my own website.

Writing has always been a therapeutic activity for me, and it allows me to organise my thoughts and be more open than I could be talking to a camera on social media day in and day out.

My silent shame

So, in keeping with my theme of being candid. This year, while wonderful, has been extremely challenging.

Last night, I sat and openly sobbed in front of my children.

Levi and Tate are slowly recognising emotions but still don’t quite understand.

They stood in front of me and stared as I let the tears fall. Then they went off to play.

Bryce and I had just had words about the ridiculous cost of flights and he left to give us both a time out.

As normal, I reflected on how hard, exhausting, and frustrated I felt about everything that came with being the primary parent.

The state of our house every day causing me to stress clean late at night
Stress comes in many factors

Here’s where I’ll be frank. I’d summarise my biggest stressors of the year as:

  • my medically diagnosed social anxiety disorder and its various impacts
  • how my wedding day was ruined and something I’m still dealing with
  • marriage conflict and dealing with each other who always think they’re right
  • being constantly sick and ‘touched out’ resulting in extreme emotional states
  • the frustration of feeling like I was doing everything around the house while rebuilding my career and then raising kids.

No marriage, family or individual is perfect.

No one is okay all of the time.

What I am dealing with is only a fraction of the horrors of what many others are currently dealing with.

Yet, I’m still fine to admit that I am not okay. I will be of course, but this year has been hard.

Touched out wife and a Mum that does it all (but still not enough)

As I mentioned, being sick and touched out had huge implications on my relationship with everyone around me, especially my husband.

I’d never heard of the term ‘touched out’ until I had kids.

Spending all day with the twins, where they were sick, super sooky or had tantrums all day long were the hardest.

Hitting and throwing items is the new thing

Trying to then balance cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, talking to your husband about his day and attempting to get two minutes of peace in the shower to wash the food and snot off of me – of course, my libido went;

“Seeya, I’m outta here! Come find me when the kids move out of home. Peace”

I do the majority around the house and with the twins.

Bryce helps where he can, however, I rarely ask for help.

I’m also very particular and like to control most situations to suit what works best for me to get me through the day.

And because of this, I get mad. Like, hulk smash, mad.

As if he can’t read my mind or at least see when I need help?

Especially when I have worked all day too?

I have learnt now that some men need to be told when you need help or want them to do something.

Otherwise, they know that you are a superwoman and can do everything, so why would they offer?

And yes, while this is not the ideal situation, we work on it every day.

Communication is key and very important for us to get right (or continue to try to) in our relationship.

I also deal with (diagnosed) chronic sinusitis, which I never thought was anything terrible.

Wow, was I wrong?

I have spent every single day with a headache in my left eyebrow and cheekbone and a sore throat amongst other things – since May.

I had a reprieve after various medications but it has since returned.

And no one wants to work, care for children or do anything when they feel so sick for so long.

First year of marriage – hardest or easiest?

Social media makes most marriages look like a walk in the park.

For us, it had been anything but.

We’ve argued and bickered more in our first 10 months of marriage compared to the 2.5 years we’d already been together before the wedding.

Anything and everything could turn into a fight.

I never wanted to speak about it because I see so much online about everyone being in the ‘honeymoon phase’.

I call bullshit.

What I do appreciate?

Bryce will never let our disagreements go on for long.

He always makes the first move to mend the tension; for I am too stubborn and will give the silent treatment indefinitely.

I also think I am always right and will stick to my guns, but know when I’m in the wrong.

I’m generally right though, let’s be honest.

Bryce always thinks he’s right as well so that is where our conflict lies.

Again, we’re working on it.

Above everything else is how we act after these disagreements.

Bryce always steps up when I need ‘me-time’.

Which is frequently.

You can often find me at Vesbar, my local cafe/wine bar where I will sit and write while having a coffee or glass of wine.

Bryce will also take the twins for the day to allow me to get the little things done – like grocery shopping, appointments etc.

While this should be normal parenting behaviour, I feel like I need it more to get through those tough days with the twins and work.

I am so grateful for him in those moments as those few hours of solitude make me a better Mum for my kids.

Ah, hello? The social anxiety?… and what happened at the wedding?

I’m sure you’re wondering. And these are two issues I’m still working on.

But I will elaborate at some point in the New Year.

I recognise I need to let go of imperfect situations and move on… and I will. But right now, I’m not there yet.

When you imagine your idea of your perfect day or imagine being a happy Mummy all the time, enjoying every experience of child-rearing – it can be just that; your imagination, hoping for the best.

The social anxiety is not something new, however, it has peaked again this year.

As for my wedding day; don’t listen to gossipers or tabloids. They have no idea. Those that speculated and started rumours were not on the money.

I will gently elaborate in my own good time.

Images: Lio and Co

Unlike the pap who stood on the clifftop, taking photos for his own monetary gain and with that, taking away my right to privacy in one of the most romantic, loving and personal moments of my life. Cheers, mate.

That’s why I need to protect the identity of my guests/those involved before considering sharing. I hold no malice or ill feelings toward them. Only those involved know truly what happened.

So, to conclude…

While this is not my final blog of the year, I wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated having you here reading my website each week.

I speak from the heart and want others to know they are not alone. The thoughts you may have are valid and/or similar to others, including mine.

Marriage is tough, raising kids is hard, juggling work and everything else makes you more resilient and strong than you will truly know (yes, you – you are amazing) and our husbands, partners and family members all do something that drives us crazy. I’m sure we do the same to them.

Just breathe, have that vice you need to get you through (doughnuts and wine, anyone?) and comment below to let me know I’m not alone.

Check out my favourite charity if you’re ever feeling like me itsokaynottobeokay
~ You are not alone ~

8 thoughts on “Christmas, social anxiety and a ruined wedding – 2024, where you at?!

  1. God I felt so guilty with my first for being so touched out. My skin would CRAWL if my partner tried to so much as sit near me by the end of the day and I thought I must be a psychopath.

    Thanks for also showing me (and others) that men are never going to fold the washing the right way/clean the kids table/put nappies in the correct bin/clean those random noodles off the bench etc. it’s not that they don’t care it’s that their eyes are painted on 🧡

  2. Love Love Love this!
    So real, raw and honest. My son is 6, and things are certainly easier, but being ‘touched out’ is still a thing for me.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. You are not alone, being a parent (1 daughter and then twin girls) while trying to keep a house and marriage going, hardest things I’ve ever done.I have anxiety and depression which doesn’t help anything!! Love your honesty and writing so much.x x

  4. You are definitely not alone. I’m a mum of 3 teenagers. My oldest two are 18 and my youngest is 15. I am adjusting to one driving and being at his girlfriend’s house so much. The other two, one just finished Year 12 and the youngest is in Year 9 next year. As for my husband he does help and is great but sometimes I still have to ask him for help after 20 years of marriage and we fight about silly things but we can’t stay mad for long. No marriage is perfect.

  5. Thank you for being so vulnerable and brave. Even at 10 years married we are still working on things! You’re doing a great job!

  6. I totally hear you with doing everything a mum of 5 its so hard overwhelming trying to keep ontop of your house and making sure kids are ok. You can only do what you can but we are all doing a amazing job even if we think otherwise.
    You are not alone Chick.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Her Second Shift acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today