I have just come back from a wonderful weekend away with some fabulous women. It has been uplifting and presented some physical and mental challenges. Lots of laughter and group support was had as well as time to reflect.
We were a group of women ranging in ages from 40 up to 62 years old. We are all Mother’s in one way or another and some are also Grand-mothers. What I realised was how much all of us needed that break for one reason or another, but for some with younger children it was particularly needed. As women we sometimes try and do it all. Be everything to everyone, all of the time. This is an unrealistic expectation to put on ourselves. How can we possibly look after others when we forget to look after ourselves too!
I spend a lot of time telling women this but sometimes I forget to listen to this message too. It
was amazing to have some space to think. I’ve been having a particularly challenging time with my children recently and it was a much-needed break. I missed them so much when I was away, and we have had such a beautiful, special time together since I have been back. I don’t feel taken for granted, and the kids are wanting to chat with me rather than just moan at me.
One of the women who is a fantastic Mum of two little boys was talking to me about her story. She said that with her first baby she felt the need to do it all. After her baby was born she was up and out the door early in his life going to all the groups, catching up with people etc. She would clean the home, prepare healthy meals for her and her partner. She was doing what she thought was right because she felt the pressure from social media and society to DO IT ALL. However, with her second baby she slowed down. She hibernated for those first couple of months and enjoyed cuddles and watching movies and just taking life at a slower pace even though she now had two children. She said that she wished she had done the same with her first and although she has a great relationship with both the special time with her second was precious.
I was similar with my first baby. I went back to work when she was just seven weeks old. I regret going back so soon as I missed out on that special quiet time with her. She was with me and I still got to care for her, but I was working so she came second to the child that I was being paid to look after. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t starve her, or leave her crying, but equally I didn’t get to hold her endlessly.
Everybody wants to give you advice as a new mum and often we’re grateful and try to take it all onboard, but we need to back ourselves and trust in our own mothering instincts. Try and block out some of the noise and do what is right for ourselves and our baby. Have a few key people that you trust and who are supportive and let them be your go to.
Another Mum I have recently spoken to has just started back at an exercise class concentrating on building up the strength in her core. She was telling me how she felt guilty/bad because there was another Mum with a 7-week-old baby in the class. She felt like she had been slacking, not getting into some form of exercise sooner. I explained to her that she has been busy being a Mum with a little baby and she has been doing what was right for them.
Our journey of motherhood is individual and doesn’t need to follow the same path as another. The Mum with the 7-week-old may be back at class because she needs to for her mental health.
I think what I learnt/reaffirmed from the time away is that we are all different, yet we all have insecurities or worries about something. We may be strong, powerful women, but we’re also allowed to not have to do it all, all the time. We can ask for support and we all need support at some time or other. It is okay to cry and show your emotions, we don’t have to be picture perfect all of the time!
Please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a blog telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, it’s just simply saying that you have choices and you need to do what is right for you. Follow your own path, be the master of your own destiny and enjoy the journey with your baby and whanau. If you need some support email me on email@example.com.