The 24/7 life of a mum.
Whether you are expecting, have your hands full of squashy baby love, poo and nappies, are wrangling toddlers, or watching your children individuality emerge through the school years, then worrying about your teen's decisions, it is the most consuming, relentless and challenging role we ever take on.
We know the rewards, the first gummy smiles that melt us to mush - right through to the overwhelming love and pride as our little ones start to take on the world.
Whatever life events and crap come along to smack us in the face, a mums love for her child is true, pure unconditional force that makes the world right again. It takes us back to the essence of what life is all about, love and belonging.
Yet, how us mums can sometimes pay the price. The sheer ongoing demands of parenthood are immense, intense and may I say, somewhat crazy making at times!
How best do we navigate these family demands that drag us out of our beds, away from our own wants and needs over and over again? So far in fact, that sometimes we lose the sense of who the hell we are. The need to be 'a mum' becomes the defining force in our life and slowly but surely our own dreams and aspirations fall to the wayside - as the ongoing demands of family life chips away at our ability to meet our own needs.
And don't get me started on mum guilt! As mothers we are bombarded with expectations and pressure TO DO IT RIGHT!!! From our media, advertising images, in-laws, judgemental others...
So here it is... The secret weapon that actually free's you from the guilts and allows you just a little respite from the screams and chaos of family life.
The best thing for your family is investing in your own ability to give and to keep on giving.
I bet you have amazed yourself with your selflessness and the depths of your love for your child. When you become depleted (yes, it's inevitable as a mum, I'm afraid!), your ability to retain 'calm, loving mummy status' becomes eroded. The vibe in our love filled homes becomes fraught with our exhaustion.
May I say again - this is inevitable!
Yet, can you see how it makes the 'secret weapon' of investing in your own wellbeing and therefore your ability to keep giving (and stay sane!) even more important.
Taking time for yourself and finding ways to rejuvenate, repair, re-charge and also relax is NOT selfish, it's not 'nice to have', it is critical to your well being. It is critical to the wellbeing of your family too. And that means prioritising and carving out some time in the hectic, blurred schedule of life - that is just for you.
Building up our physical and mental strength again is as amazing as it is essential for every mum. There are 101 ways to do it (take a bath - ALONE! Take a walk in nature, meet a friend for coffee, go for a massage!).
What is key is giving yourself permission first and foremost and then planning the necessary family arrangements and back up - to free
yourself up to do it! OK, we know it, easier said than done but keep reading to discover ways to achieve this locally!
This article was actually inspired when I recently visited 'The Wellness Centre' in Wollongong. It's a beautiful exercise studio and day spa caring for women bump and beyond.
Elizabeth (the owner) explained when new mums make any of the mums and bubs pilates, barre or yoga classes - there is a distinct shift in both mums and babies from the beginning to the end of the class. As the mums are able to move and stretch their bodies, becoming calmer and centred again, the flow on effect for their babies is apparent.
Elizabeth knows exercise and she knows what mums face. During her twenty years of yoga, meditation, barre and pilates training and classes, (and her pre and post natal specialist training) she see's the blissed out, relaxed babies leave her exercise studio, snuggled in their mum's arms after a class. Our babies take their cues from us. Elizabeth watches them copying their mums in class and watches their energy subtly shift to be in alignment with their mums. In the uplifting, more cardio based barre classes, mums leave with a contented 'buzz on' that also permeates down to their little ones...
As our babies grow up, they will learn from us whether it's OK and acceptable to prioritise their own wellbeing, their own health and their own energy levels.
And mums, IT IS OK! It is more than OK! It is both powerful and necessary to invest in you and your ability to keep on selflessly giving and to meet the significant demands that family life entails. You will then give permission for your child to do the same as they grow up.
The Wellness Centre in Wollongong offers over 40 classes a week in barre, pilates, yoga, meditation, ballet and more! There are classes you bring your baby to and classes where you can leave your kids at home and fully immerse yourself in the wondrous benefits of exercise on your body and mind.
Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for the needs of mums to be met, whether you're pregnant and in desperate need of a massage to relieve the discomfort and strain or your kids are older and you are gaining your independence again.
So here is to you finding your secret weapon and then hopefully making it not so secret - give yourself permission to meet your own needs on a regular basis. Build up your strength again, find some calm again in the swirls of the family storm.
And, if you want to take that first step and start brandishing your now not so secret weapon(!) so allowing you to enjoy family life all the more - you can always chat to The Wellness Centre, they have some awesome special deals to welcome all mums and mums to be so you can experience their classes and all the benefits first hand. With our thanks to The Wellness Centre for sponsoring this article!
Call Elizabeth on (02) 4226 3777 and she'll offer tailored suggestions about what will work best to support your unique situation. You'll also feel fab that you have made your first move to prioritise your very own sense of wellbeing!
If you feel overwhelmed with parenthood, please know you are not alone! There are many services that can help:
Parent Line NSW
1300 130 052
Pregnancy, Birth & Baby Helpline
1800 882 436
Tresillian Help Line
1300 272 736
Mental Health Line
1800 011 511 (24 hours, 7 days)