Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, amazing journeys I think I’ll ever go on. I love being a Mummy to my girls, but it can also be tiring, relentless, lonely and you don’t get a thank you. I mean there are no appraisal, bonus or reward structures in place for being a Mummy are there?
I’ve definitely had my ups and downs since having Evie and if I’m honest at times I have felt miserable.
I went on a spa day recently and it really made me think about what the triggers were for my low mood and the need to remember me and put me first every now and again.
When I was pregnant with Amelie I went to NCT classes and found a lovely group of Mummy friends. As soon as the contractions started we were on our whatsapp group chatting to each other and once we were all able to we were living in the coffee shops of Beckenham and Crystal Palace. I had a wonderful support network and we were all going through the same challenges at the same time.
Fast forward 2 years and we’ve moved to Surrey (which we love by the way) and I’m at home with two. Those friends are in Crystal Palace still so I don’t see them very often, any Mummy friends I made here with Amelie are generally back at work and the new ones with two have the same problem as me – getting out to activities with two or to anything on time can be impossible at times. The net of all of this is that sometimes it can feel terribly lonely and when the girls have been ill I’ve gone a week not really seeing anyone in the day, other than a hi if we have managed to escape to the shops.
I find this SO hard. I love to chat, I’m used to a fairly high pressured busy job and being around people is important to me – so I find not having that interaction hard.
Being at home with two in the winter
Staying at home with the children might seem like a really easy job to some, we just go out for coffee, watch TV and play games all day right? Well sometimes yes, but throw in mountains of washing, a baby who goes through four outfits a day, tantrums from a toddler, a toddler who fights you to eat and it’s often not really as wonderful as skipping to the coffee shop for a coffee.
I’ve also found it really hard parenting a toddler and a newborn baby over the winter months. It’s so much easier to stick them in the double buggy and go to the park in the summer whilst the baby sleeps. Loading them into the car to go somewhere at times can feel impossible.
There is nothing like exercise to make you feel better, both from a health point of view and just the way you feel. After having a c section I obviously needed to have a few weeks of not doing anything but I’m signed off now so should be doing some form of exercise. Having a long swim at the spa made me remember how good you felt afterwards and how it improves your mood. I don’t do this enough (or at all) so I’m sure this is a contributor.
Time for me
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a Mummy and being present BUT I need time for me and to think about what I need. I need time to relax, time to listen to nothing, time to keep fit and healthy, time to be Sarah again. When I have this I know I am a much better Mummy to my girls as my attention is 100% on them and this is really important to me.
Here are some of the things I am trying or going to start doing to try and make sure I find that balance…
Putting myself out there
I have started to make much more of an effort now Evie is a little older to get to baby and toddler groups, to talk to Mums in the park and organise play dates with some of Amelie’s preschool Mummy’s. There is a little group of us now who take our second babies to the sensory room on a Wednesday and its so nice to chat to Mummy’s who are going through the same as you.
I love swimming both for the exercise and for the thinking time, my back is also always so much better when I’m swimming regularly, so my aim for the next few months is to try and get in the pool once a week.
I often go for a half an hour coffee at the weekend whilst Nick takes the girls to the park. It’s a quick moment for me to just catch up on admin, emails or call my Mum and I find this such an energiser for my mood.
Getting out for dinner, the cinema or even drinks is so important with your other half and we don’t do it enough, but for good reason we’ve just had a baby and we don’t have family nearby. However Evie is older now and is generally ok for a few hours so with some of the friends we have in our village we are going to set up a babysitting circle so we can all get out with our other halves and repay each other through the circle. My Mum did this with her friends when we were all little and she suggested this to me – it’s such a good idea.
Blogging / vlogging
My sister encouraged me to do this back in early November and to be honest I wasn’t sure about it all. I didn’t have the confidence to write, to be behind the camera and just to say what I feel. Something triggered me to start and thinking back it was probably her going to Australia to follow her dream. I initially told a few people about what I was doing and slowly started building it all up.
Looking back I now know I definitely needed to do this, I just didn’t know at the time what it was that I needed to do. It’s great to have something I can own and do for myself and my family and I love doing what I do.
I think it’s important that we as Mummy’s talk about how hard it can be so we can support each other and to remind each other that we need to remember ourselves as well as our children. I hope that this gives some ideas for ways that are quick or cheap to help us all get that really important me time in amongst the sometimes chaos of life with young children.
What things to you do to relax or get that important me time?