Whilst motherhood is the most rewarding transition in a woman’s life, it is also the biggest life change she could ever experience. Some mother’s adapt to the world of motherhood so naturally and easily, (you lucky things!) while others may find it a lot more difficult and sometimes lose themselves, their identity, and so easily forget to invest time in taking care of their own sense of self. This got me thinking about the transition and growth that I had to face over the past 18 months since my son was born. In this blog post I take you through some of the things that challenged me in my first years of motherhood and the obstacles that I had to face juggling motherhood as well as keeping my own identity.
Taking care of your appearance
Going back to the day when we left the hospital and took our pride and joy home for the first time- It was the most happiest day of our life and nothing else mattered.😁 I look back now and remember what a complete mess I looked like upon leaving the hospital. (I obviously didn’t really care about my appearance because at this point my baby was all I cared about). I remember I wore baggy trackies, (literally 3 sizes too big for me) and had hubby’s big t-shirt on. My hair and skin was oily and I literally looked like I had partied all weekend. (The pregnancy glow had disappeared 😩). The lack of self-care continued a few weeks in, where I didn’t pay ANY attention to my appearance at all. I was in pj’s and a robe all day, I didn’t even brush my hair and at times even forgot to brush my teeth. (I know what was I thinking). It was a time in my life where I believed that I wasn’t as important any more and I had to neglect everything about myself and put my baby first in order to be a “good mum”. (Silliest thought ever!)
The “I have no time” excuse
As time went on I would occasionally “fix myself” (brush my hair, wash my face etc) but always seemed to use the excuse that “I have no time”. Most first time mums or mums with more children will at some point agree that looking after a new born/or multiple children, doing household chores, doing the washing, cooking dinner, making sure hubby was happy, and making sure everything else is in order is exhausting!!!. I know when I had to face all this in the first few weeks of motherhood, I felt like a truck had hit me everyday. At one point I wasn’t sure I could keep up with it all. (Obviously I pulled through and if I can so can you 😊). The last thing on my mind was to sit in front of the mirror and work on my face (make up) and then go through my wardrobe and put together a fab outfit. (I’m sure plenty of mums will be nodding their heads). YES!! this may be true, but I soon came to realise that not doing all these things I used to; making myself pretty, choosing a cute outfit for the day and taking pride in my appearance had a significant effect on my self-esteem, personality, happiness, confidence as a woman and even my relationship. I gradualy snapped out of this and found 15 min each day to make a little effort on my appearance. (That included not staying in my pjs all day). This made such a difference in my day. Boosting up my confidence, turning me into a much happier mum and even my baby seemed happier to see me confident, fresh and smiling. The thing that I’ve learnt from all this is that it’s so important to keep up with appearance after babies. It is not to impress others, but rather to make yourself feel good and confident. I also believe that if your family (children) see that mum is looking after herself, they will take this onboard and grow up to do the same. (This includes the hubby as well 😁).
Self-confidence, body-changes, diet and exercise
It’s no secret that our body changes dramatically post baby. Even though our baby is out in the world and no longer in our tummy, we still may look and feel pregnant. (For a few week anyways). My tummy honestly didn’t go down for weeks and I couldn’t even look at it. At times I was ok with it and then other days my self-esteem was so low because of such a drastic change to my body. (My hips were wider, my tummy was not tight like it used to be and I honestly didn’t feel confident at all). I was determined to get back into shape and start a healthy diet and fitness routine. It’s funny how people think that if you have been petite your whole life it would be much easier for you to bounce back post baby. This is sooooooo not true!! I actually put on more weight after I had the baby than during my pregnancy. It took a lot of hard work, training, exercising and eating healthy for me to get my body back. Believe me when I say this! It is never easy for anyone to lose weight/fit back into their skinny jeans and overall be satisfied with their weight regardless if they are “smaller” or “bigger”). I wore spanks/pregnancy post baby shorts for weeks that held my tummy in and tightened everything. I ate so healthy and most days had to say No to my favourite sweets. (Bye bye chocolate and sugar sweets). I remember every morning I would have a set mantra where I would tell myself that I would eat healthy, exercise and stay fit. After babies you will never get your body back to how it used to be, but the important thing is that you get up, give it a go, stick to routine and you will be amazed how much it pays off.
Nurture and self care
As I’m a stay home mum I really don’t get get the opportunity to nurture myself or do things for myself during the week. This may include stuff like getting my hair done/nails/waxing/facials etc. I designated one day of the weekend (Saturday or Sunday) to pamper myself and just spend some alone time to recharge. I feel like it’s so important for mums to find a day during the week that suits them to re-charge, pamper themselves and just spend some quality time alone to freshen up for the week ahead. (It stops you from going insane, believe me). I find by doing this each week I’m a much happier mum/wife and my boys agree as well. Try it! Even if it’s reading a book for an hour on your own. Nurture and self- care has become a weekly routine for me and if I don’t do it once a week, I find I’m a completely different person (not a pleasant one lol).
This was one thing that I struggled with and still sometimes struggle with- GUILT! An example of this may be if I go shopping and spoil myself with a new pair of shoes/bag. I would feel so guilty that I spent all this money on myself and not my baby. (I know how silly does it sound, but that’s just how I felt). Other things I felt guilty about were when I would leave Mateo all day with mum or go out with my girlfriends. The whole time I would be thinking about how I should be home with my baby (even if he was tucked in bed asleep). Crazy I know! It all sounds a little bizarre but when you are a mum you always want to put you children first, make them happy and at times it feels as if your the only person that can do this. I later learnt that all these feelings were normal and they eventually do pass- and they DID!
Husband and romance
It’s no secret that once a child enters your world that you may at times neglect and forget about the other important person in your life- Your hubby of course! 😁 Lets be honest, you spend all your time and energy on this little human who is reliant on you 24/7 that by the end of the day you are way to tired to think about romance and hubby’s feelings. The important thing I always reminded myself is that without this amazing man, you wouldn’t have the bundle of joy that melts your heart everyday. (Hubby deserves some attention and loving too at times lol). My husband and I have always had a strong bond from get go! I honestly talk to him about anything and everything. He is truly my best friend and soulmate. It is so important for me to show him (even on my worst days) that he will always be special and I will always love him. Pushing aside sleep deprivation, mood swings and my cbf days, I still make sure I ask him how his day was or make him a quick takeaway coffee for work, (which I still do by the way and it brightens his day all the time). 😁❤️ Making some time for your man even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, will strengthen your relationship. He will love and appreciate you much more than you think and will even sleep better, believe me this is true hehe 👫
YES having children changes everything! but it dosn’t have to change you completely. You are still a woman that has certain needs that need to be met. Go get your hair done, splurge a little something on yourself, and hit the town with your girlfriends once in a while. (You really do deserve it!) Looking after yourself and putting yourself first at times dosn’t make you a bad mum or wife. It’s something that may benefit you in more ways than you think. Be kind to yourself because believe me, we are all doing the best we can and sometimes deserve some “me time” too,
Mother- “someone who will love you unconditionally, till her last breath” ❤️