I’ve spoken to so many Mums lately that have expressed to me the feeling of losing their sense of self. More often than not they articulate this with an overwhelming feeling of accompanying guilt, almost as though they are guilty for feeling like they still deserve to have a sense of self.
Being a parent is of course a blessing, but it can also feel like the most thankless, selfless job on earth. With it comes so much sacrifice, which of course parents are willing to do, but Mothers tend to take this to the next level and in doing so often completely lose the sense of who they are. A mother, whether she’s a working Mum or stay at home Mum, is first and foremost a Mum. Her hopes and desires get put on the back burner while she devotes her time and love to raising her little humans. Now, by no means am I saying that this must make a woman unhappy or that it’s a negative thing – just simply that it happens.
I myself am not a parent yet. I love children and I admire parents who are devoted to their kids and put their needs before their own. I do, however, believe that it is so important for new Mums to stay true to themselves and not lose sight of their passions. Of course there will always be an element of sacrifice with parenthood, particularly in the early stages when your kids are completely reliant on you. They are demanding of your time and you are tied to schedules that revolve around their feed and nap times, school drop offs and pick ups, after school activities and the list goes on. It’s understandable that your wants and needs and passions will come second for a while but it’s your responsibility to yourself to make sure this doesn’t become the new norm.
Getting involved in an activity whether it be a sport, an exercise class or something else that’s completely unrelated to fitness, so long as it’s with a group or has an element of commitment attached to it, is a good way to ensure you make time to look after your needs on a regular basis.
We have plenty of mothers who train with us at Sway Bar Pilates, many who come along to class with their daughters, and in some cases we see three generations who train together, but for the most part their Pilates session is their dedicated ‘me time’. Whether it’s a class or a private session, the time they spend strengthening and stretching their bodies is time that they are devoting to their own wellbeing. For many, it’s one hour a week that they get to themselves; it’s time for them to be quiet, to vent, to laugh – to be whoever they want to be, while actively participating in something that is contributing to their wellness – both physically and mentally. Once it becomes habit, free of the guilt that can be attached to taking ‘me time’, it’s so satisfying to see the confidence grow and that incredible sense of self being completely owned.
When you are looking after your own needs, you will no doubt feel happier and more fulfilled and of course that is going rub off on those around you.
The saying “happy wife, happy life” is not wrong – happy mum = happy husband and happy kids. When you think about it, this is you being a true Mum, being completely selfless because you are doing it for them as much as you are doing it for you 🙂
So throw away the guilt, take an hour a week to do something you love, whatever it is and enjoy every second of it.