I think it’s natural as a mum to feel guilty about everything you do and in the recent past I have been particularly bad at prioritising MY needs. I just always think about my children first in every aspect of our lives, and have only recently discovered that this doesn’t mean that I should neglect myself.
I would do stupid things like cook enough meals for them for the week and then not cook for myself. But what use am I to them if I’ve got no energy?
I stopped taking time out for myself. Just little things like going for a wax, in my opinion, were no longer worth the time or money because I could be spending it on my children. How GREAT does a little bit of grooming make you feel? Just getting my eyebrows threaded changes my entire outlook on life! And it costs £4!
£4 to feel like half a million dollars (I’ve got to get the lip and chin wax too, to feel like the full million).
It is totally worth it, because a happy mummy = happy children. And that’s the end goal right?
To start feeling good, you’ve got to break the ‘feeling bad’ cycle somewhere. For me it was after I started working. I cut my maternity leave in half to start a new job and naturally I was torn between doing what was logically and financially beneficial for my family and what my maternal instinct was telling me to do. Which was to stay at home and sit crossed legged on the sofa breastfeeding my son… all day.
The mental build-up to going back into full-time work was scarier than the reality. 8 weeks in and I am so happy. I was just so absorbed in my children during my maternity leave that going back to work helped to give me a new sense of ‘self’.
Having an additional purpose, being recognised for my skills and abilities and having daily adult conversations; helped me to remember who I was as an individual, as ‘Shaney’ and not as ‘Mummy’.
Being ‘Mummy’ is amazing most of the time. But for me, having my own little segment of life is the difference between generally feeling good and possibly becoming depressed. And we don’t want that happening again. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Once I had stopped feeling bad about going to work the chain reaction began and I then stopped feeling bad about other things that made ME happy. Like:
- The aforementioned lip and chin wax
- The occasional lunch date with a friend
- Purchasing something for myself on a shopping trip (or shopping entirely for myself online in the middle of the night because I felt like it)
- I even went as far as to book a 3-night break away with Mr iMummy. I thought a week away from my babies would kill me. 3 nights was acceptable and sufficient to recharge my batteries and rekindle some romance *wink*.
I have come out of the “I’m too busy to work out, I’m going to be fat forever” mentality. Yes, time is limited. I’m either working or have the children with me. Although going to the gym regularly isn’t really an option for now – I can still work out at home. 30 minutes of my ‘Insanity Max 30’ DVD every day gives me so much more energy and I’m starting to believe that there just might be hope for my post-baby body. And let’s face it, I can only get away with calling it ‘post-baby’ for so long!
Stealing 30 minutes for myself each day is achievable and I feel so much better for doing it. Even if I do have to do 50 extra side-lunge kicks to stop baby J from smashing into my ankles in his walker. Or repeatedly dead-lift the extra 2 stone that is my daughter standing dangerously close to me when I’m trying to do jumping jacks. It all makes for a more challenging work out, I say!
If you’ve been neglecting yourself; give it a go! Change just one small thing in your life, do something that makes YOU feel good. Because mums are important too.
This blog post was first published on meetothermums.com