I felt lost, overwhelmed and exhausted.
Being a first-time mum has definitely been an amazing journey, yet packed with tons of stress, fear, anxiety, sleep deprivation, frustration etc. For the very first time in my life, I no longer felt like myself or recognised who I was. I was feeling so lost, almost to the point of having an identity crisis. Before having a baby, I was so sure about what sort of mum I wanted to be, you know, the cool mum that is fashionable, running a successful business and a happy family. In my mind I wanted to be the ‘perfect’ mum. I made sure I read lots of stuff about how to get the baby to follow the schedule, how to read the baby’s cries etc. I did everything I could to make sure that I got this ‘mum’ thing sorted out. (You may read this and be thinking – this woman is out of her mind, she has no idea what was coming!)
Well, that didn’t happen as I expected.
In fact, I was feeling tired every day, some days I didn’t bother to have a shower or change my pjs, I prioritise sleeping over washing my hair or having a shower. I wasn’t feeling great about myself or my body. I was anxious and worried about every little thing that was going on with my baby. I tried to get her into a schedule so that I could run my business like all the mum-prenuers I’ve read about and had the privilege to meet. I was beating myself up every day about all the ‘shoulds’ – My baby should do this or do that, I should be able to run my business, I should have all my sh*t together etc. I was losing my mind with all the ‘shoulds’. Everything I learnt about coaching and personal development seemed to go out the window when it comes to this ‘being a mum’ thing. Man, I cried a lot! I can’t even remember how many melt downs I had in the first few months.
I thought I had everything planned out but I forgot one important thing – I was having a baby, not a project that can be scheduled and managed. Another thing I forgot, is to ask for help, instead, I shut down and withdrew, I isolated myself because I felt like I ‘should’ be the one to figure it out. Despite everything I taught about loving yourself and taking care of yourself, I wasn’t doing that. Running on adrenaline and sleep deprivation, I resented people around me (including my husband) for not being there for me. Now looking back, I was the one creating all my problems. It took me a while to finally learn to let go, breathe and regain my self-confidence.
So why do I share this with you? For many of you who are mums, I just want you to know that I get it, it’s hard and f*cking challenging to be a mum, especially when you care so much. That makes you – a perfect mum – there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ mum. For those who are dealing with crisis and melt downs, here are some of my simple tips for you:
- Take a deep breath, may be a couple more and realise it’s not the end of the world. You don’t have to be all perfect. You don’t have to have it all together. Motherhood is messy, it’s fun and challenging, it’s hard and rewarding.
- It’s OK to feel anxious and worry sometimes. You are a mum, this all comes as part of the job. Always tune in to your inner voice, your intuition and do what’s right for you. If you feel like picking up your child every time they cry, do that! You know what’s best for them. By the way, no mother ever regrets holding and cuddling their children too much.
- It’s OK to f*ck things up – like I said, you are not perfect, but always remember what an awesome mum you are. F*cking things up allows your children to see that it’s OK for them to make mistakes and fail and that they don’t have to be perfect to be loved.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. Being a mum is a 24/7 job, we should all have gold medals for that. We need to give ourselves more credit when it comes to this. My husband and my bestie often remind me what an awesome job I’m doing and I think so too. Some days are just hard and it’s OK. So instead of cleaning up, take a nap, you’ll feel so much better for it.
- Take care of you. We women are guilty of putting everyone first but ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves more often, whether that means to take time out for a long shower, to get your hair done, have a relaxing bubble bath, having a big glass of wine etc. Pamper yourself, you deserve it.
- Do what makes you feel happy. For me, it means putting a bit of effort in having a shower, putting make-up on, get dressed in clothes that make me feel amazing. Simply by doing this allows me to feel like I can do this.
- Have your ‘emotional’ day. You don’t have to hold it all in. You don’t have to be the strong one. Sometimes it’s OK to cry, sob and be a mess. We are all human at the end of the day. Tomorrow you’ll wake up to a fresh new day and you’ll get another chance at this
I hope you enjoy these tips. Thank you again for being you – awesome mama. Your family is so lucky to have you 😉
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Author, Speaker, Transformational Dating & Relationship Coach,
NLP Practitioner and Level 2 Meta Dynamics Consultant