It’s difficult to believe it’s almost May, one month from June, the middle of the year!

For me, it’s been a busy year so far. But in a good way.

Last year (and the year prior) weren’t so good.  They were tough.  Real tough.

A blurry haze of tiredness, anxiety, sadness and frustration, peppered, of course, with lashings of joy brought by my children, family and friends.

So when 2013 reared its head…  I decided this was the year to dedicate some time and energy to myself.

I made a decision to refocus on my health and wellbeing, both of which had suffered the effects of neglect.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve always been a lazy eater (hello packaged goods) and a lazy exerciser (as in not doing any).

So I decided to begin with food, starting with an increase in vegetables.

I steamed them, stir-fried them, grated them into muffins, ate them raw – I’ve eaten more fresh vegetables in the past two months than I have in the past year.

I also started cooking.  As opposed to, say, opening jars of pre-made sauce or popping frozen food on an oven tray.

Making toast, munching on fruit bars and buying take-away always seemed so much easier – no mess, no fuss and, as a freelance journalist and full-time mum, more time to spend managing the household, writing and looking after the kids.

Too bad I was constantly tired and worn-out.

So I made the decision to invest in my health and realised there is time, life doesn’t have to be a race.

And as it turned out, any extra time that was required to cook and clean dishes was well worth it as I noticed a dramatic increase in my energy within a month.

Despite being up multiple times a night with my kids I felt significantly less lethargic and tired, meaning I was more willing to play the sorts of games that my little boys enjoy during the day.

But the difference wasn’t just physical, I felt better mentally also – cheerful and happy and bouncy – like the old me, the real me.

With all the extra energy I decided exercise was next.  After always claiming I didn’t have the time or energy, I now did have the energy – so decided to make the time too.

But without the luxury of childcare and a husband who works long hours, gym or outside walks simply weren’t an option.

So, I began by doing a few sit-ups and push-ups in the bathroom while the kids had their bath.

The boys enjoyed watching and wanted to join in so I switched to mornings before we had our breakfast and got dressed for the day. My children became part of the routine, which I’ve increased over time.

With my mind clear and spirit free, my mental energy soared and so I decided to fulfill a dream I’d long since had – at 31 years of age, I would begin piano lessons.

With the encouragement of my parents, I stopped using my children or my husband’s business travel or being too old as an excuse and found a teacher who could come to my home after 7.30pm to teach me on an old keyboard we originally bought for the kids.

I’ve told myself if I stick with it until my birthday in June, I’ll reward myself with an actual piano.

Feeling revitalized and alive (and able to stay up past 8.30pm) I’ve also taken the plunge and enrolled to return to study.

I’m indulging a passion and, from next week, will be on my way to becoming a Naturopath – studying online, in my own time, at my own pace.

For me, the most wonderful thing about all of these changes, is that nothing has interfered with the amount of time spent with my children, or my writing – in fact the quality of both have improved.

But the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s never too late to make a change. And despite the demands of parenting, you can find time for you – you just have to think outside the square and make a commitment to you.


  • It was great to hear your story! You are an inspiration! Thanks for the motorvtion! :-)

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  • What a great story! I have a husband who works long hours and I don’t use child care either. Just goes to show it can be done! I think I need to really take this on board!

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  • This is an encouraging article. I am just about to start a mums and bub’s fitness class and I’m hoping that the regular exercise will help motivate me to eat better!

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  • Well done you! Enjoy every day is my motto and you are certainly doing that!

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  • having 4 kids under 7.. i feel i never get time by myself, an when i do its not long enough..lol great read though

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  • I find it so hard to find time for myself but will be trying a lot harder coming into winter!

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  • I am so thrilled to read that other mums have been inspired! I found a quote recently that I love… “Never give up on a dream because of how long it will take… the time will pass anyway”. Things take a little (a lot!) longer when you’re a mum, but bit by bit, you can make things happen!

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  • This article hit a home truth with me. Recently I took quite a bit of time off work. I was feeling exhausted, sluggish, unhealthy and run down. I realized my life was revolving around work and my family and I felt like I had so much on my plate that I had no time left for myself. I would feel annoyed at watching my husband eat dinner so slowly while I gulped down a bite quickly in between feeding our youngest child (to give him a break and so i didn’t feel guilty about working while he was stuck home with kids). I would eat chocolate and icecream when I felt exhausted… comforting toast with peanut butter etc. Anyway recently I discovered I couldn’t continue like this. While I was on sick leave I took out a sewing project I had started and didn’t have time to finish 4 years ago. Suddenly in one afternoon it was finished! I felt an immense sense of achievement- far more satisfaction that I get from my normal work day :-). I completed some other sewing projects… felt happier and started reaching for fruit and veg instead of the junk… amazingly my energy levels started to increase and I was better able to fit some exercise in. Now I’ve lost 5 kg and returned to work and make a concious effort everyday to spend a minimum of 10 mins on myself and have taken some time for myself on my days off such as I soaked my feet in bath salts and had a cup of tea while the kids watched an educational dvd,. I promised if they behaved we would do something fun next and we have been planning fun activities they can do- all while I get some me time!

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  • i always make time for me, if i didnt have it everyone woul suffer. great inspiration for others

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  • Congratulations on getting yourself motivated . I wish I was more like you

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  • How good does this sound, but so hard to actually do.

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  • well done and great tips ):

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  • Well done! Good tips and good inspiration. Funny how the busier you are the more you get done isnt it. Can’t believe your boys let you exercise in front of them, mine climb all over me and i have to stop half a dozen times.
    Very encouraging thanks. Hope you get that piano!

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  • Well done Nicole you definitely deserve a pat on the back. Its a very motivational story, ive been wanting to.do things 4 years 4 myself and I know I can do it now.

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  • In order to make a change you need to have the right frame of mind and having a positive outlook on life!! If you are healthy, your energy and attitude radiates onto those around you!!

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