I am a proud mum of two boys, Hendrix and Presley. Both pregnancies were classified as high risk, which meant that I was not allowed to train, and for the most part walk. This was a HUGE challenge for me, as training is such a strong part of my life and my identity. However, once you become pregnant you are willing to do anything for the well-being of your child. After not training for so long, getting back into the gym was HARD! I was out of my comfort zone, completely out of shape and almost embarrassed to step back into the gym. I had become comfortable with not moving, something I never thought could be possible for me.
I often would tell myself the following, which I am sure you have said as well;
“I just don’t have time to train”
“I’m too tired to train”
“My children are my priority now”
“Mum guilt has got me, I feel bad leaving my children even for an hour”
“I have no one to look after my children”
“I feel intimidated walking into the gym”
“I just don’t like to train”
How often as mums have we lost a bit of our identity? We get so caught up in being the best mum possible and we automatically think that the best mum is one who is with our children 24/7.What we need to start realising is that yes we are mums, but that is only part of our identity, we are also; daughters, friends, partners/wives, cousins, aunties and we are our own individual person who has dreams and goals they wish to accomplish.
As mums we are constantly giving to everyone in our lives and we are always seeking to please others. We are getting pulled in so many directions and often at the end of the day we feel drained, exhausted and sometimes frustrated that we didn’t get a moment to ourselves.
For our own sanity, we need to put ourselves first. If we are not happy within ourselves, if we feel like our wants and needs are constantly being compromised by others around us, if we feel like we can’t take the necessary steps to make ourselves feel alive, soon enough we will start resenting those around us. I know I can speak from personal experience, that once I had my first born I would constantly be angry and frustrated at my husband, his routine went back to normal fast. He was able to get back to work, sleep wasn’t compromised, he had adult interactions, trained, ate well and was full of energy. There were some days where I couldn’t even look at him because I felt utter rage and resentment, that my life was completely different and I struggled to deal with this change. I’m sure I am not the only one out there who had moments of feeling like this, or had moments of frustration towards others around you.
How can we combat these feelings? I think the most important element that we need to focus on is… Putting ourselves FIRST, make your health a priority! When we start to feel amazing on the inside, this will impact us on so many avenues in our life. When we are happy and confident within ourselves we are then more patient with our children, have more energy and zest for life, can think clearly and are more positive to be around.
How can we create a healthy sustainable life?
- Find a type of exercise you enjoy doing! There are so many ways we can exercise and move our bodies. Once you find that form of activity you love, it will no longer become a chore, you will look forward to training and it will become part of your lifestyle.
- Don’t beat yourself up- If things don’t go to plan, don’t beat yourself up about it. Being a mum is one of the most unpredictable jobs. You never know what you’re going to get thrown at you from day to day. E.g. if you had planned on going to the gym, but then your children were unsettled. Don’t ride the day off. Reassess your day and rearrange another time to go. Maybe you can go for a walk together in the pram? Maybe you can go at night once the kids have gone to sleep. As parents we have learnt to be adaptable, and we need to accept our reality of uncertainty.
- Get organised with your meals. Do a meal plan over the weekend and plan ahead what you are going to cook for the family. This will give you clear direction, structure and helps with your time management. Once you have your meal plan sorted, purchase all the ingredients you need to set yourself up for pure success for the week.
- Always make sure you prioritise your needs. As mums we can forget about US. Try and do something for yourself every day. It’s not selfish, it’s self-love and knowing the importance of your self-worth. A happy mum results in happy children. A tired and frustrated mum will lead to children who are feeding off that frustrated and tired energy. You don’t need to do anything extravagant. It could be going to the supermarket on your own, having a bath once the kids are asleep, reading a chapter in a book, listening to a podcast, getting your nails done. Do something that LIGHTS you up, something that ignites your fire and something that feeds your inner beauty. You deserve to feel good!
- Make training and exercise a family occasion. We all know kids love to get outside and move. Get out with your children and play with them. It may only be 30 minutes but that is better than nothing. Your kids will love to see you getting outside with them and kicking a ball. If your children do an extracurricular sport, use that time to get active yourself. Instead of sitting there watching, go for a walk around where they are playing.
Above all else, remember to be kind to yourself. We can be our own worst enemy, and I think we can all improve on being kinder to ourselves. Talk about yourself in a uplifting way, recognise how amazing you are and always count your blessings. We have so much to be grateful for in our lives, its time we start appreciating, living in the moment and showing self-respect for how amazing we all are. No one else is you and that’s your power. Embrace and love the shit out of yourself.