If you ask my children what they think I like doing, they would probably answer: number 1 – being on my phone (guilty); number 2 – tidying, cleaning and being in the kitchen; number 3 – watching TV; number 4 – wine. I’ve become a walking Mum cliché. There’s a reason kids think mums like cleaning, cooking and tidying because that’s a big part of what they see us do. It’s not a bad thing, it means we’re looking after them at the end of the day. Remember they only see a certain side to you as well – your Mum self. You have many layers and being a Mother is just one layer. You can’t carry on your life exactly the way it was before and nor should you try. Many Mums struggle with a loss of self after having children, but in fact your identity expands and enriches, it’s not stifled. Your priorities change but your personality hasn’t.
Less sleep, not so much time off, relentless pressure, guilt and constant demands for attention all take their toll. It’s immensely rewarding but one of the hardest jobs around. On paper it’s easy – feed, keep safe and educate (optional). In reality it’s so much more – add in a crushing unconditional love, responsibility and guilt and it becomes all consuming.
Self Care For Mums
Share the load
Being a stay at home mum isn’t for everyone, even if it’s what you thought you wanted. Like Hannah from Budding Smiles, I’m not sure I could do it full time. If I didn’t need to work for money, would I be a full time mum? I don’t know. I’m not sure I could cope with messy play, nursery rhymes and playgroups 5 days a week, but that time is relatively short and then they’re at school and I could certainly cope with being a stay at home Mum then. I imagine myself meal planning, baking, doing DIY home projects and shopping. I’d probably still blog, but with a lot more creative freedom. Yes I can imagine that, in fact it’s my goal, to earn more passive income so I’ll have more time. The thing is, you always have to invest time into your business for it to work, however passive the income becomes.
Embracing your new Mum self
Embrace your new self. Merge the two inner selves, the Mum self and you to some extent, otherwise you will feel like you’re putting on an act most of the time. Unless you run away your new role is here to stay. Tempting as that is sometimes, it’s not the answer. If you feel like running and hiding, definitely make time for yourself or ask for help. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable in front of your children. It’s all about balance. If you’re happier in your own skin, your children will be happier. Make a new routine to include time for you. As soon as your children are able, get them involved in the chores. Teach them why you do certain jobs. Show them what you like to do and get them involved – play music you like, show them your hobbies. They won’t be able to talk Tolstoy with you but they might enjoy listening to stories you loved as a child. If you’re feeling tired and fed up, find low energy things to do – movie and popcorn anyone? For me, I have my creative outlet in my blog and social media, but I still crave alone time just to be. The evenings I totally relax and connect with my husband, or just switch off. Over the years my Mum role and personal self have merged and become the same person, but it takes time.
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