Every woman needs a come back song. Think Beyoncé, “Run The World (Girls) and Alicia Keys, “Superwoman”. A strong and confident song and one that when you play it makes you feel as though you can do anything.
Most mothers also need a come back song. A time where they say, enough is enough, it’s time to think about me.
My “come back” is after a period of immersing myself into motherhood and all the joys that it brought. Along with the tears, the sleepless nights, the feelings of isolation, the adjustments, the growing both physically and metaphorically, the chubby cheek smiles, the relentless cooking and cutting crusts off and the feelings of loving a little person so much you would do anything for them.
I have always loved being a mother and I still do. I have also always loved running my business and still do. But as the number of our children grew (now 3 under 7 years), and the demands of work commitments grew, the hours in the day seemed to reduce. I some how lost myself.
Life was a juggle. Work and life would override the each other. I’d feel like I had the house in order. Floors vacuumed, washing hung out, dishwasher on, bathrooms cleaned but was then met with guilt at the end of the day for not taking my toddler for a walk or giving him the time he needed. Mostly resenting the mess he was making or the hanging onto my leg. Then more guilt.
Or the reverse would happen! A great family day out would be met with despair in the evening as the dirty dishes were still in the sink and the clothes in the washing basket. I’d say to friends “how are we meant to do all this?”; “what were we thinking we can do it all, we can’t”. I was met with nods of agreement and stories of struggle over Facebook messenger late at night while setting up lunch boxes and school uniforms for the next day.
One day I was left thinking… Who am I anymore? Why do I feel so much guilt all the time?
Then I realised what had happened.
I had forgotten about me.
Who was I any more? In all my devotion to work and then my children and husband there was never anytime left for me. It was never a conscious decision for it to be like that. It kind of just fell into that way with my first born. I have to admit I was totally happy to devote myself to him then too. I’d had my life until then to be focused on myself so I gave all my time to my beautiful baby boy. He was my life, my joy and my ‘me time’. He became my hobby and my passion.
Three children on and a business to run, things had shifted. I’d forgotten who I was. What did I used to do for fun? What were my favourite things to do on the weekend before children? What brought me joy?
There’s no doubt become a parent is a selfless act. Without embracing and falling surrender to those precious newborn babies life can be very hard. Time is no longer under your control and the days roll into weeks and then months and then years.
But at some point and I guess this point is different for everyone, you need to give back to yourself. It’s not being selfish, it’s self-love.
It doesn’t even have to be a big events like drunk all nighters with your girlfriends. It might just be getting your nails done, buying a new lipstick, redecorating a room in your house, baking a new recipe, going shopping or to the movies, having a bath, going out for dinner. It’s okay to do these things without feeling the guilt, the pressure and the need to “make up for it”
Sometimes as women we forget about ourselves but in reality we along with our children’s significant others are the most important people in our child’s lives. If we go down, the whole family goes down. The ripple effect of our mood, health and well-being is so influential on our family that we would be crazy not to invest in it.
I have friends without children who feel very similar to how I do. Life is busy, we put so much pressure on ourselves to do all and be everything and not anytime to reflect and be present in the moment. Be mindful.
I hope that this blog along with my experiences of finding myself again will encour
age and support you to do the same. Whether you are a mother or not, if you are feeling burnt out, that you have nothing left to give at the end of the day and that you want to be happy and mindful and gracious. Then I hope you have found a place to help you on your journey.