Since I’ve become a mum and gone on maternity leave, my days have become so much more unpredictable. Unmanageable at times it seems. The girl that was once ticking deadlines and appointments off her diary, is no more. Farewell, old organised, shiny haired Vicky!
Taking care of yourself
I was somewhere between a nappy change and a feed, lusting for a hot shower and clean clothes. Seemed to me that all I was doing recently, was taking care of the baby. Where did I fit into all of that? What happened to me- how I felt, what I wanted and what once made me happy?
I vaguely remember my old university lecturer Arti talking about “life long learning”. Of course, at the time I was more concerned with being a university student. Funnily enough this one stuck! Maybe it was time to take the mum hat off. Make some time for ‘me’.
Remember all those books you want to read, but never get a chance? I decided that I would pick a book every month and go through it. By making a decision to take care of myself, I instantly felt uplifted. I bought a little reading light that I could clip onto the pages.
Babies can turn your whole life upside down
Yeah, it’s a cliché, but it’s true. Putting a little time for yourself aside really meant for me that I could be a happier better mum. I read a couple of pages a day. Sometimes, while breastfeeding, or while lying next to my sleeping baby. Sometime, I even got the book out while pushing a pram with a sleeping little one around the local park.
I read Greg Mckeown “Essentialism”, which really resonated with me. I used to be a person, who never forgets to eat breakfast. Now, the mummy version of me, put everybody else first. 1 pm came and I would grab a quick bite between a crying baby and the next nappy change.
Keeping busy with baby groups
Another thing, I quickly realised I was doing, was to do too much. And at the end of the day, I was exhausted. And the night shift hadn’t even began. I loved going to baby groups. They kept me sane and allowed me to talk to other mummies who were going on the same journey as me.
A different group every day, I quickly saw that I was yet again running around like a headless chicken. Trying to get to the next group on time. Which basically, never happened. The baby always seemed to have the biggest poonamies when it was time to go out the door. Can anyone relate?
I had to press pause on the mummy show and look inwards
I was doing so much all the time that I forgot to listen to common sense. Being a new mum is hard. And, sometimes, you just need to stop and focus on 1 or 2 things that are important that day. Say no and stop trying to please everybody.
The secret ingredient to motherhood
Maybe the secret was to stop. Count to 10 in your head. Breathe. There are only so many hours in the day. I want to make myself happy. And, this meant doing less. In dong less, I spent more time taking care of myself, taking care of my little one, and takin care of my family.
F*** Yes or No
Mark Manson famously said “If you are in the grey area to begin with, then you’ve already lost. You can probably tell, I read his book, too! How do you know what you should weed out in life? If you’re not ecstatic about something, i.e. you want to scream “F*** Yes!” from the top of your lungs, then I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, it’s a No. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, if you’re having to convince yourself it’s a good idea, then maybe you should let it go.
I knew I wanted to be the best version of me, and I want those who love me to have the best not what is left over.
What do you do to keep the balance between being a mum and being you? Comment below or take it to Twitter@fabulousmummy1!