Becoming a mother changes your entire world. For the better of course. But it’s so easy to become lost. To put your needs last. To forget who you were prior to becoming so and so’s Mommy. I’m writing this to remind you of 2 important things.
#1 That we should be more than “just a mom”
#2 It’s okay to make yourself a priority. No, It’s absolutely necessary to make yourself a priority. In the spirit of making yourself a priority, I created a free guide for you, “60+ Things You Can Do By Yourself That Don’t Involve Your Kids”, grab it here.
Let me start by saying that I love my kids. They are my everything and I wouldn’t change anything about the time I spend/spent with them. I love being their Mom.
However, I need to have an identity other than Mom.
This “identity” could be a career or a hobby. Just a part of your life that doesn’t involve your kids. Whatever “it” is, it needs to provide us with an opportunity to recharge outside of motherhood. To feel like a woman with more than 1 purpose in this world. To find the time for some much needed self care. So we can be better moms and women.
Before I became a personal trainer, I spent the first 12 years of motherhood as a stay at home mom. My life literally revolved around my kids. Their school. Their after school activities. Playdates. While they were at school, I spent those hours at the grocery store buying their favorite foods. Or running from store to store looking for the most perfect Christmas gifts or party favors for their birthday parties. My mission was to be the best mommy I could. Admirable, yes. But that level of “perfection” was never going to be attained. And I was running myself ragged trying to obtain it.
Looking back at that time, I was fairly confident as a mom. My kids were happy, nurtured, well loved, and well behaved.
But take me out of that mommy role, and I was very insecure. I lacked confidence as a woman. I had nothing to add to conversations that didn’t revolve around my kids. I felt one dimensional. Stagnant. I needed more in my life.
I needed to feel like I was contributing to something larger in this world. I was burnt out. I needed to start making myself more of a priority, starting with my health (both physical and mental). Most importantly, I needed to think about how I wanted to show up in this world.
Who was I besides Tristan and Helena’s mom?
Prior to becoming a mom, I worked as a textile designer in both the womenswear apparel and upholstery markets. Hence, #fabricsnob I knew I couldn’t go back to that type of work. After having kids, my priorities shifted…as they do. Things that once seemed so important (which weave to choose for that suiting fabric) suddenly seemed SO not important. And certainly not how I wanted to spend my time away from my kids.
When my kids were 6 and 3, I added exercise back into my life. This started to put the focus back on me and my body. I also made the time to see a naturopath to deal with some allergy, digestive issues, and a general “blah feeling” I’d been having. Through my appointments with her, I learned to be more tuned in to my body. Finally giving it as much attention as I was giving to my family. I eliminated certain foods that weren’t working for me. And within a few weeks my energy improved. The mental fog cleared. I was feeling awesome.
Because I was feeling so great, it made me more aware of how many other women, mothers, were not feeling great. They complained about their bodies and how tired they were, but yet did nothing to address these issues. They were “too busy” to deal with it. They might take an hour or 2 to get their nails done or meet some friends for happy hour, but they weren’t addressing the bigger issue of their health, mental or physical. It was then that I realized I wanted to help women feel the same way I was feeling.
Through listening to their bodies. Exercising. Making themselves a priority.
As mothers, we take on both the joys and stress of the entire family. Always pushing our needs further and further away. It’s what we do. And I don’t think any one of us would change that, but my fear is we are losing our identities in the process and making ourselves sick. One thing I’ve learned as a woman and mother, is this:
You have to put yourself first sometimes. It’s not selfish. And it most certainly shouldn’t be considered “a treat or indulgence”. It’s a necessity. We absolutely cannot maintain this pace without some much needed self care. Every. Day.
Internationally Acclaimed Nutritional Biochemist, Author & Speaker, Dr. Libby gave an amazing TedxTalks on this very subject. It’s 18 minutes that are well worth your time.. Check it out here:
I do not regret the time I spent as “just a mom”. I have so many beautiful memories with my son and daughter. And I was fortunate enough to be able to spend so much time with them as they were growing up. But now, contributing to the world professionally (as a trainer) and a mom. I am more confident and calm. Balanced. And I’ve shown my kids that you can reinvent yourself, study new things, and create a (successful) business that I am so incredibly proud of. Most importantly, I am allowing myself AND my family to step in and care for me at times. Which is what was lacking for so many years.
This is a topic that I’ve wanted to write about for awhile, but I struggled with exactly what I wanted to say AND how it would be received. But as a trainer that has worked with so many different women, mostly moms, working both in and out of the home, I kept seeing the same issue over and over.
Stressed out women taking on too much resulting in the following:
Feeling emotionally and mentally drained. Clothes that are tight or no longer fit. Increased sugar and carb cravings. Shorter menstrual cycles. Digestive issues. All so common these days that it’s becoming the new norm.
On several occasions, I've had to modify the planned workout for my clients as their stress levels were too high that day. On another occasion I made a suggestion to a client that she take a few hours doing something just for her. Something she loved doing. And in that moment, she literally could not think of one thing that she could do for herself that would bring her some calm and happiness. She was swallowed up by so much stress that she couldn’t see clearly to get out. So yeah, in this situation, a mani/pedi probably wouldn’t have helped…but a damn good place to start.
Mamas, ditch the guilt of putting yourself first.
In an effort to help you come up with some ideas…in case you are too far in to think of anything, I created a list of 60+ things you can do for yourself that does not involve your kids. Mani and pedis are not on the list. But there are 60+ other unique ideas to get you started. Grab it here.
Okay, but here’s the thing about the ideas on this list. They are a great place to start and do allow you to get some much needed recharging for a few hours, however, you need to start thinking beyond an hour or 2 of pampering. How do we do this?
#1. Quiet all the noise in your head (and house). Just sit and breathe. Scan your body. How is it feeling? Are your shoulders and neck tense? Digestion feeling crummy? Any issues you’ve been putting off or ignoring? Take care of them. Even if that means hiring a babysitter so you can go to the doctor/therapist.
#2. Write down or just think about something you’ve always wanted to do or learn or start. Figure out how to incorporate it into your life.
#3. Make a list of things you are both grateful for and that bring you joy…outside of your kids (that’s a given). And again, I want you to make these things part of your daily life.
#4 Ditch all sense of guilt over making yourself a priority. You are a good mother. And you deserve to also have time to be a woman.
Motherhood is the absolute most stressful AND rewarding job. We are so completely invested in it..and it’s this exact reason that if we don’t have another identity to step into we will literally burn out.
We need to identify as more than moms. Have a career. Find a hobby. Make the time for daily joys. Learn something new. Read great books. Invest in yourself as a woman. Invest in your health. Spend time doing things just for you beyond the occasional hour at the spa.
Does accepting these beliefs mean you don’t love being a mom? No.
Does wanting to be more than “just a mom” make you ungrateful? Of course not!
Does taking time away from your kids for some self care make you selfish? Fuck no!
It means you respect yourself as both a mother and a woman. That you want to show up fully in this world. Balanced. Confident. Happy. And it allows you to give the best version of yourself to those you love the most.
Be more than a mom.
Grab your free guide here for 60+ ideas for things to do for yourself that don’t involve kids.
#35 “Pack up some comfort food and go snow shoeing with a friend” is one of my favorites. My friend Jo and I spent a few hours snow shoeing, followed by enjoying some leftover beef stew and coconut macaroons in the car afterwards. #totalrecharge
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