It can be easy to lose sight of who you really are once babies start arriving. The early days of parenting can make you feel like you’ve disappeared into a haze of nappies, breastfeeding and onesies. You’ve probably felt so tired that it’s easier to let go of who you are and focus on your role as a mum, because that’s the most important role you have right now.
But there comes a time when a mum needs to be more than a mum. Reminding yourself that you’re a woman as well as a mum can be empowering and give you a hit of energy that might feel quite foreign to you now. Even if your kids are still young and you don’t have much time on your hands, you can still remind yourself that you’re more than a just an amazing mum.
Here are eight practical (and doable) ways to make it happen:
1. Make a list
Think about the woman you were before having kids … what are the things you used to love and what did you find fascinating? You lived a whole life before children came on the scene, so try to reconnect with what used to make you you. List the activities, people, food, music and entertainment that used to be part of your life, and then highlight the ones you’d like to make time for now.
2. Ditch the maternity bra
If you’re still wearing your maternity bra long after you’ve stopped breastfeeding, or if you’re using some other bra that’s seen better days, it’s time to ditch them. I know, I know – who’s got time for bra shopping? It can be expensive and time-consuming to shop around for a bra that actually fits you, but it’s SO worth it. Trust me, the minute you dump your old greying bra and invest in something new with UNDERWIRE, you’ll feel like a new woman.
3. Read a book
If you’re like me, you’ve got a stack of parenting books waiting to be read and your nightly reading consists of supervising your school kids’ reading homework. But reading can be a great way to step outside of parenting land and delve into another world. If reading used to be your thing, buy yourself a new paperback or download one to your Kindle, and start making reading a part of your life again.
3. Wardrobe makeover
Can you afford a shopping trip for some new items of clothing? It doesn’t have to be a whole new wardrobe, but a couple of new things or even a nice accessory can make you feel refreshed and revived. Try to avoid black! And when you bring the new clothes home, you can throw out some old items that are still sitting in your closet from the last time you were pregnant.
4. Do something radical
If you’ve always wanted to get a drastic haircut, try rock climbing or even get a tattoo, why not go for it now? Going out on a limb and trying something new will get your blood pumping and have you feeling excited again, which is great for self-esteem and confidence. Plus, your kids will be amazed at their rock and roll mum who isn’t afraid to step outside their comfort zone.
5. Learn something new
To get your brain thinking about things other than sleep routines and food purees, why not take up learning something new? A foreign language, an instrument, Thai cooking – take your pick. Community colleges or neighbourhood centres often run short courses that could get you started, and who knows where it could take you? If you’re strapped for cash there are plenty of Youtube videos that teach new skills – knitting anyone?
6. Join a club
If you miss adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around pregnancy and babies, joining a club could help you form connections with people based on something else entirely, where you can discuss whatever it is that gets you buzzing. Poetry, books, or debating – whatever it is, you will find a club for it online.
7. Buy a new perfume
There’s something about perfume scents that take you back, reminding you of what life used to be like before kids – and of the woman you used to be back then. Finding your ‘signature scent’ used to be so important in defining your identity, so why not find a new scent that can do the same job? Find a scent that reminds you of the woman you are behind the mum.
8. Make it happen
Now that you’ve considered some options, what is your plan? Think about what needs to happen to make the idea a reality and put some plans in place. We mums are renowned for putting our needs aside while we take care of everyone else, but being more than a mum means reminding people that we matter too. Need to get out every Wednesday night for Spanish class? Tell your partner he’s on duty. Got to buy a guitar for your new music lessons? Make it this Saturday’s priority errand.