Everyone’s take on Montherhood is different but it’s no secret that keeping tiny humans alive, fulfilled and content is no easy job. I particularly find the early years hard. The year my middle child was born was probably the hardest I’ve ever had. I look back and talk to my husband about it now about how we hated each other for her first year and he looks back at me blankly and I realise it was actually just me. Tiny babies are hard as are crawling babies, walking ones and the ones that you have to mop the tears when they’ve had a tough day at school or are having friendship problems. It takes up all of your energy and being ‘on’ all the time can leave you with a serious burnt out feeling by the time your tuck their little sausage toes into bed. Do you feel like you are still you since becoming a mum?
Here’s a few of my top tips to keeping your personality:
Book yourself in to get your hair done (sans child) – getting my hair done is such a treat. I love that I literally don’t have to do anything for a few hours other than read trash mags and sip coffee. I always leave the kids at home and preferabley have a plan after which includes wine and chat. It’s taken me over a year to really start feeling like me again and thats partly because I treated myself to a new hairdo! If hairs not your thing do want ever makes you feel good about yourself.
Find a crew…or a few. Love your girlfriends and talk to them about how you’re feeling even if its just by text message if you really aren’t able to get out but try your best not to suffer in silence between your four walls. Do get out as much as possible and try to be yourself no-one is judging you at mothers group, playgroup, the coffee shop or park and if they are thats their problem not yours. Having a few weekly catch ups really helped me feel semi normal when Coco was tiny and demanding. If she had a nap and allowed me to drink a latte in peace in quiet I literally felt like a new women and if she didn’t atleast we both had some entertainment. Try and have something booked in for every day getting out and socialising really is a personality saviour.
Schedule some me time– no one else is going to do it for you so you’ve got to make it happen! I try to do something for myself weekly it could just be going out for brunch on my own or running a lovely bath and doing a facemask. I also think you deserve to get out for some me time I like going out and learning something new or doing something crafty. This was where the inspiration for my ‘Make Me Over’ makeup classes came from: having a space where you can do something for yourself thats fun and relaxed plus you learn how to do your own makeup which is a skill you can use whenever you want to. Have a sneak peek here.
Think about getting some help with childcare early– even just a few hours a week with a regular babysitter that your little one can get to bond with. For me I chose to put Coco into daycare for two days a week to allow me to go back to work. It works great for both of us because we both want some entertainment and social interactions out with each other. Also having a babysitter you both know and trust is great as a fallback if you find yourself in a pickle for someone to look after the baby or you just fancy having a date night.
Lift up your head and look at the world around you– this sounds so basic but do you how many mums I see walking round in a rush their heads down. We are literally so distracted by making sure our babies have what they need- are they hungry, do they need a sleep, do they need to wake up, are they content, have they thrown away their toys or blankets? There is so much to be inspired by out there in the real world from a walk in the park to even a trip to the shopping centre. I love to look at the window displays for outfit ideas or ways to style the living room. Ideally you can try this on a day you have some me time so you can focus on you.
Lower your expectations– you are going to find that the time you have to do things dramatically decreases if not completely disappears. You literally can’t do it all so its about how you look at things. It might be your time for housework, work, exercising you have to prioritse and decide what’s important to you. Whatever is the most important do first and the rest might just have to wait. For me my house suffers as a result of being out and social with the kids. However I also know it the best way for me to feel good and be the best mum I can be. My house will still be there in a few years when she’s more self sufficient and we get time back on our side. If you can outsource things then I highly recommend you do. Anything to save precious energy (and time) the last thing you want is to beat yourself up over a overloaded laundry basket.
Finally, remember your babies need you to be ok for them to be ok. Don’t be a martyr (coming from someone who was one!) ask for help, accept help, decide to take some time out for you to shower or put some makeup on. Honesty I think both of those things are a basic human right but in reality I know what its like… there’s never time. However I make time and I make it work. I challenge you to do something to make you feel like you every day you are most definitely entitled to that. What do you think? How do you hang on to the essence of you when the washing pile is as high as your head and your knee deep in nappies? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you are interested in coming along to one of my classes you can see the upcoming dates here.