Being a Mum is great. Just ask the millions of mothers around the world and they will all agree.
Nothing beats the warm sticky fingered cuddles, the cheesy grins, messy hair in the mornings and those soft sweet faces as they sleep, tired from a day of terrorising their siblings and you.
You wouldn’t have it any other way.
But search yourself a little deeper and there are those times that you just want to step away and stop being just ‘Mum’ or ‘Muuuummmmm’ and reclaim your given name.
Seriously. I had an argument for about five minutes the other day with my four year old who refused to believe that my name was ‘Amber’ and not ‘Mum’.
It highlighted the fact to me that, yes, just sometimes you need to go and find yourself, stop being ‘somebodies mother’ and start being you again. At least for a few hours during the week.
There can often be feelings of guilt attached to wanting to step away from it all, to give yourself a break, to allow yourself to admit that sometimes your kids are driving you mad and you just need some ‘me’ time.
Don’t Feel Guilty About ‘Me Time’
The first thing is to drop the feelings of guilt and realise it is ok to occasionally be selfish, to hip and shoulder your husband out of the way so you can hog the shower first and adamantly refuse to give your four year old the last chocolate biscuit because you want it for yourself. Not just want it. Need it. Go on. Take it, it’s yours.
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But chocolate biscuits aside, it really is important that you take some time out for yourself, otherwise you can find yourself getting more and more lost and possibly getting angrier and angrier that you never have time to yourself.
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Stop and do something about it before you find yourself turning into an all round grumpy mum, something I found was happening to me.
I’m not saying you need to take a whirlwind solo trip overseas or put your kids up for adoption, I’m just suggesting that a few small changes in your day can really help make you feel like your old self, the girl you were before you put on your Mummy pants.
Some ideas to help you along the way:
Have a Mummy shelf
A what?! Yes! Delegate a shelf in the pantry exclusively for you. Make it one that is up really high, where no one can reach, even with the aid of a chair. This is where you put your stash. Chocolates, gummy bears, salted cashews, pickled onions…all those things that you know everyone else will hoover and you will never get the chance to eat. Have your own supply. It’s childish, I know, but it’s liberating.
It can be hard to get time off or away from the kids to do this, but this is exactly why you have to. We work hard as mums, which includes those who juggle both careers and motherhood, and those who don’t. Cleaning, cooking, feeding, washing, bathing, and refereeing…. you know the drill. We deserve to be pampered, put our feet up…. and while they are up have someone else paint our toenails. You can feel guilty about spending money on things like massages and facials but don’t! Learn to love yourself again and if you have to, pop aside a little money each week. That little regular treat will see you through many a dark and stormy toddler tantrum.
Remember the girl/woman you were when you met your partner? Who was that person? Probably not the same person you see staring you back in the mirror each morning, hair all plastered across your face and yesterday’s mascara smudged under your eyes.
We all change, our bodies especially, but somewhere inside is that gorgeous girl your man fell in love with and it’s important to remember that and make time to reconnect.
I know exactly what you’re saying, where are we going to find the time, but you have to MAKE time.
Money can be an issue; dinner, outings and movies (especially) can be really expensive, but you can limit these type of dates to once a month, for example, and then on other weeks make a special dinner for just the two of you to have once the kids go to bed or just hang out, listen to music, sit in the garden together while you simply read or go for a walk.
I look at photos of myself from six years ago and there was quite a bit less of me than there is now. It’s a bit depressing actually, but I can do something about it. Exercise is of course important for your health, as is eating properly and being a healthy weight, but it is also about putting the energy into yourself as well as your family.
I have to swim, as I have a bad back, and even though I’m only gone an hour (drive to the pool, swim a kilometre, have a shower, drive home…. all in the space of an hour), it is still a little piece of ‘me time’.
Find something you love and stick with it. Your body, and your sanity, will thank you for it.
Learn to say ‘No’
Ok, so this can be the hardest word in the dictionary, but practice it with me. “No”. See, it wasn’t that hard. Now apply it to all those situations where you would normally say, “Yes”. For example…
“Mum…can I have your cake?” “No.”
“Mum…can I draw on the walls?” “No.”
“Mum…can I sleep in your bed?” “No.”
Well done. See how much better you feel?!
What changes have you made to try and get a little bit of yourself back? Share in the comments below.