Finding Yourself Inside Your Mum Self

Finding Yourself Inside Your Mum Self

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.

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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.

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Self Care For Mums

It’s important for our mental health to remember who we are inside, even if it’s just a short time each week. Go to the gym, spend half an hour on your craft project, dedicate a chunk of time just for you. Veg out in front of the TV if that’s what you need. Spend time with friends, true friends who know you and understand you’re too tired to be funny but not too tired to laugh. People don’t change – yes they can stop addictions,  mature, make better decisions, become better partners, but their essential core, what makes them laugh, cry, what makes them tick, that doesn’t change. Make time as a couple, remember your sexual self – if you struggle getting in the mood, try these tips. If you can’t do this every week, just don’t let it go too long between times. In the evening recharge as much as you can and don’t put pressure on yourself to get jobs done.

Share the load

Delegate. Don’t take it all on.  I don’t just mean childcare, I mean the endless mental lists we have – give some of it away. There’s a wonderful children’s book I have called ‘The huge bag of worries’ which is fantastic if your child seems to worry a lot about things beyond their control, but it also helped me gain perspective about things we don’t need to worry about, or can give away to others. Grandparents, extended family, friends, they’re all part of the network. I’m not including partners here because they should be equal with you anyway, but make sure they are sharing their part of the load. Don’t assume that they can’t do certain things because they’re at work all day or because they’re a man.

Working Mums

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.

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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.

Do you feel like you’ve lost yourself a bit since becoming a mum? What do you do to keep that little sense of self? Let me know in the comments. If you like this post, please share 🙂
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8 Comments

  1. May 31, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    This is a great post! So important! I’m definitely passing this on to my mom friends. 🙂

  2. May 31, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    This is something we see and hear a lot from our child rearing friends. It is universal advice to always be sure to take time for yourself in some capacity. Beautifully written.

  3. June 1, 2017 / 1:00 am

    Jenny, this is such a great reminder to take care of one’s self. This is a given for women globally! it is a necessity! No guilt allowed! I love delegate and share the load!

  4. June 1, 2017 / 9:18 am

    Great post and some very important reminders about the need for self-care too.

  5. June 1, 2017 / 9:58 am

    My little boy recently said his hobby was knitting (Gran’s influence) and that my hobby was tidying. How pathetic, but in his eyes probably so true! We really need to take time for ourselves x

  6. June 1, 2017 / 10:56 am

    This is very interesting to read because I’ve seen several of my friends struggle with their identity after having children and it’s such a big period of adjustment… But I always say to them I see them as the person they always have been but now have even more admiration for them as they juggle normal life with this big new responsibility – and like you say on so much less sleep!

  7. June 2, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Great post. You’re no good to your kids if you don’t look after yourself too!

  8. Cat
    September 26, 2017 / 12:50 am

    I certainly agree , time for me in my house hold is as simply as going for a jog for 40 min when they are in bed : I never use to like jogging but once I had my second I needed an outlet.

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