Motherhood is messy, imperfect, beautiful, hard work and yet it is still the greatest gift we will ever have in life. There is so much pressure in the ‘busy’ world we currently live in to be superwoman and do it all, to juggle and multi-task and put on an image that we can cope and that we are ok. It is far too easy to get sucked into societies expectations of us, but you can still be an amazing mum, just without the added pressure to race around at 100mph being everything to everyone.
More often than not something will have to give within family life, just don’t let it always be you!
Motherhood has taught me so much, especially in these last two years since our twin boys were born. When we found out we were having twins in 2017 it felt a bit like a bomb had gone off in our world. After years of trying for a 2nd child and multiple miscarriages we never expected to be told at our 12 week scan that our baby also had a friend in there too! Obviously we were delighted and giggled through the scan but we were also anxious, scared and to be honest we wondered how on earth we would cope with twins and get through it.
Becoming a mother of three has been life changing for me and of course for the whole of our family. For the better of course and I love our journey and the family we have created more than anything, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy. Juggling toddler twins, three children, work, family and friends is not easy and throw in two years of bad sleep (twins love to tag team in the night!), it can lead to irritable parents, complete chaos and very little time for us as a couple.
We have laughed, cried, argued, played and bickered as a family so much more in the last two years than ever before and on some days when I have tried to be Superwoman (not intentionally!) it has often ended in me having a complete meltdown or feeling inside as if I am not able to cope with any of it. Inside I know this isn’t true but overwhelm often leaves me feeling negative inside and without enough quality time with my children. For me it has been easier to slow down and in a way check out of the ‘busy’ life I was living before the twins arrived. Wherever I go people will stop me and ask me how on earth I do it but I honestly wouldn’t be as calm as I am today without making some quite drastic changes in both mine and my families lifestyle.
Am I good enough?
This question has circulated through my mind many times in the last few years and I’m sure many of you can relate. Am I being a good mum, am I doing or being enough with my kids, hubby, family, work and friends? On top of this there is the added pressure to look good, get our post-baby body back and find the time to eat well and get to the gym.
Expectations from society that we must maintain a certain image can often lead us to feel as if we are failing, or always falling short of being the perfect mum. These feelings can very often create an environment for a lot of negative self talk and therefore leave little space for us to truly love or find any time and kindness for ourselves. This can be completely overwhelming and exhausting, or at least I have certainly found myself feeling this way at times.
I am now slowly learning that I can’t always do it all or be everything to everybody and I am ok with that.
Having twins has forced me to do what I feel is right for our family and to do only what I feel I can manage with two toddlers in tow (the world can be a daunting place to navigate with twins at times!) and I try my best not to compare myself to others and what they are doing. This has been key for me as comparing myself to other mums would have seriously left me feeling like I wasn’t doing enough with my babies and it would have only left me in a negative mindset. In fact the time I spent with my boys and my daughter Imogen at home in the early months are now precious memories to me.
Meditation and yoga has been my therapy for these last two years and especially in the last year. It has created my calm amid the chaos and helps me keep a more peaceful mind, even if just for 5 minutes! But the effects have rippled out into my life and I feel so much happier, more peaceful and able to enjoy the moment as a result.
Slowing Down and Letting Go.
Slowing down, when family life so often feels like complete chaos sounds pretty ridiculous to any mum I know. And my family life so often does feel chaos still, that hasn’t changed, my days can so often be mayhem!
By letting go of some of my own internal pressure and expectations of myself, I have been able to step back, let go a little and enjoy the moment a bit more. Your children won’t remember the piles of washing up, the washing in the basket or the toys on the floor but they will remember the memories of the time you have together and how you make them feel. Of course this isn’t always possible, but I now try and make it a conscious choice sometimes to choose them instead of the next thing on my list. Some days we have now are so simple but often those are the happiest days for us, the ones where I can focus on their needs rather than everything else that needs to be done. Again this isn’t always possible but even carving out a few minutes each day helps massively. Constantly thinking about the next thing I need to do on my never ending to do list serves no purpose than to add extra pressure and guilt to my days!
Slowing down has meant that more often than not certain things will have to wait, including my dreams for building my health and fitness business, and I now realise I can’t do it all (crazily and at the expense of my own energy levels I used to think I could!!) but mostly I have had to prioritise my family and MYSELF these last two years, in order to keep a happy home as well as a happy mummy.
Feeling comfortable in my own skin.
I’m not quite sure when the penny dropped but in these last two and a half years I have come to realise that I am enough, that what I am doing is enough as well as the love I give my family. By slowing down, letting go and learning to be more comfortable with my decisions as well as in my own skin as a mother I have finally accepted that I can be a super mum and navigate the chaos of my life by making sure my kids and family are happy, well fed and healthy, but I don’t always have to be superwoman trying to keep everyone happy! For this I am truly grateful but also so much happier.
I have learnt that it is ok to give myself the time I need to recharge my batteries and truly love myself. I have learnt to step back from the many expectations that I have placed on myself (as well as society!) and I recognise that if I am not filling my cup and boosting my vitality then life becomes so much more chaotic for me, but also for my family (who certainly don’t see their mummy at her best during these times!).
It is so important as a mother to not only accept but grow to love who we are for ourselves but also so that we pass that on to our children so they grow up in an environment where they feel it is ok to love themselves too.
You too deserve to feel happy and full of vitality and this will never happen if you compare yourselves to others and constantly beat yourself up for the things you have/haven’t done!
Learning to Prioritise.
I have struggled as much as any mother to get the right balance, and to get my priorities straight and at times my health and energy levels have suffered as a result. But it is so important to do what is right for you and your family, not everyone else! Motherhood has helped me to say no to certain things and it has helped me to change my priorities and taught me to enjoy the small moments of life with my children as well as help me find some time to look after myself.
As mothers we do so often put great pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone BUT we do often forget one very important person. Ourselves!!!
It can be hard after many years to start prioritising time for yourself but start by taking 5 minutes a day to do something for YOU. It might be to eat a nourishing breakfast, sit down with a cuppa, call a friend, meditate, stretch, exercise, read a book or just sit and do nothing. For me, one of the biggest challenges of it all since the twins were born was learning to live by a schedule. But routine was key to my sanity in the first 18 months and it helped me to carve out some time for myself as well. This doesn’t work for everyone but with an older daughter to care for too it worked well for us in the early days.
Self-love: a Mama’s secret weapon!
As mothers we are hard-wired to believe that to be a ‘good’ mother we should only think of our children. That our families come first and our role as mother should be all the fulfilment we need. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
By slowing down, prioritising your time and realising it is ok to slow down and stop being superwoman all of the time you will find your true super power as a Mother!
Learn to address your own needs so that you don’t end up being a mother on a short fuse, or one who will get easily frustrated or burn out on a regular basis and have little to give at the end of the day, to herself, her partner or even her kids.
You are also worthy of the love you shower on your children. A mother who looks after herself and her needs, who nourishes herself, who takes care of herself and who feeds herself with love, is a mother who is happy.
A mother who is healthy and happy, creates a happy and healthy home for the rest of her family.
Finding the time to look after myself is now non negotiable (this often means that other things have had to give, mostly housework!!), and I have also learnt how to be kind to myself. Both in my actions and also in the way I talk to myself. My whole family has benefitted from this! Share how you feel, ask for help when you need it and realise you can still have days where you struggle but this doesn’t mean you are failing! I have learnt that most days something has to give but that thing is very rarely me any more.
Self-love for me is about me learning not to beat myself up for the things I haven’t done and instead celebrate what I have done! This is still a work in progress for me, but I will no longer beat myself up if I eat a bar of Green & Black’s Ginger Chocolate instead of a workout after a week of sleepless night/nights. I will allow myself a nap at lunch time and I’m realising that life is all about balance, not just health and fitness (although this is still important to me!). Self-love for me has also taught me to talk to myself in a kind way and not allow myself to feel guilty if I time I take out for myself. I will often choose to be kind instead of putting pressure on myself to be someone I am not. Realising that my children are happiest with the simple pleasures and not some of the things I think or imagine they should be doing has been one of the greatest lessons I have learnt.
I have come to terms with the fact that Motherhood isn’t perfect.
Just remember that some days you will feel like Super Mum but on the days where you don’t feel this way and the daily chaos gets too much then that is ok, be kind to yourself and realise that you aren’t failing. Being an amazing mum is good enough. Also some days you may shout and feel like running away but you are only human so don’t beat yourself up and move forward. Realising that it is ok to not be Superwoman all of the time could in fact be your greatest gift in life. I am still working on this myself and I can slip into negative thoughts about balance and our family life but the feeling doesn’t last and I can pull myself back more quickly now.
I hope this helps you or anyone close to you and that it may help you take the first steps to help you start to carve out some time for you and take the time to start looking after yourself and really grow to love the woman that you see every day in the mirror. Start to show yourself the same love that you shower on your children and the rest of your family! As mothers we are constantly pulled in so many different directions but it is so important to ground yourself and take the time out for your to help you deal with the pressures that we face each day. Who needs to be Superwoman when, especially from where your children, friends and family are sat, you are good enough already. Let’s be proud of who we are and what we have achieved. Not attempting an impossible superwoman’s fantasy life, but enjoying a fabulous, real woman’s life.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences! If you would like to get in touch my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Sending so much love, Laura xx
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