If you’re constantly battling mum guilt, wishing there were more hours in the day and wondering if you’ll ever get to fulfil your dreams then maybe it’s time for a change.
Running on empty
Despite the demands of having little kids, I recently went on a self-love journey, aiming to wrestle control of my life back again.
My only regret? That I didn’t do it sooner!
A big life goal of mine was to fall in love and have three healthy children, something I was lucky enough to achieve a few years ago. So then why did most days seem like a bit of a struggle?
Snapping at the kids; struggling to balance work and home life; not managing to exercise or do anything for myself … Granted I was run off my feet, but I still couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to make everything work the way I wanted to. And why wasn’t I happier. It felt like the family was suffering because of it.
I had a bit of a wake-up call when things escalated and I realised that although I had plenty of love and laughter in my life, I didn’t like the constant feeling of drowning in life’s never-ending to-do lists. Something was amiss.
Technically it wasn’t a breakdown, but I was kind of like the lady in the car with four flat tyres, no petrol and smoke coming out of the back, wondering exactly when her ride was going to give out.
I was over-committed, stressed and I didn’t want to live like this anymore.
I heard about an online course called The Self-Love Project and although I felt I didn’t really have the time to do it, I decided to give it a go.
The concept was created by Sydney mum and former journalist, Eloise King. After healing from her own burnout several years ago, she decided she wanted to teach others how to combat the stresses of modern life and maintain optimum wellness to essentially live their best lives.
It sounded just like what I needed … and it was.
What it involved
A six week virtual course with one weekly group Skype call for just over an hour? I could do this. I signed on and was in a group with several other women who also happened to be working mums. Instantly we all clicked and could relate to each other’s daily struggles.
The key principles of the course were to practice daily kindness, empathy, gratitude, honesty, positivity, savour moments, have new experiences and work on meaningful goals – along with exercising, eating well and being mindful.
We watched a lot of inspiring videos and talked about them, wrote down our goals, learned how to meditate and journal our thoughts daily, prioritise and organise, acknowledge our past pain, become super self aware, and much, much more.
Read more about mum self care:
- Mum self care truth – “If you’re not at the top of your priorities, you’re last”
- The best use of your most precious resource – downtime!
- Panic stations! 10 tips for helping overtired, busy mums cope with stress
How it helped me
It took only one day for my stress levels to decrease and for me to start making changes. I quickly realised I had taken on too much and started pushing back on work and other things. It felt amazing.
Throughout the following six weeks I continued to make many other positive changes to my life and reconnected with myself in a way that I hadn’t done for a long time (mums always seem to be at the bottom of the priority list!) Suddenly I was happier, I was being a better mum and wife, and it wasn’t that hard to do.
Now that my journey is over (officially), it’s not really though because I can still apply what I learned to everyday life. Here’s some other things I learned:
- We’re all the same – Listening to the other women in my group we had similar stories and issues, making me realise just how many mums out there are going through the same struggles.
- Get off auto-pilot – Every day was a race through the tasks to get to wine o’clock and feeling bad about what wasn’t done. Did I really need to look at Instagram for 15 minutes each morning? Maybe I didn’t look as out of shape as I thought?!
- Time is not the problem – I’ve always cursed lack of time but that’s not actually the issue, it’s lack of direction. Without prioritising correctly and taking time to plan out each week life will inevitably run away from you.
- Self-care is vital – Just like the oxygen mask analogy, we HAVE to take care of ourselves first or everyone else will suffer. I learnt not to feel guilty about having some “me-time” and make sure I exercised and ate well.
- Dreams are important – While children are a huge focus for mums (and dads) we CAN’T forget our own needs. Humans need goals in their lives – and if you lose sight of these you also lose your drive and inner happiness.
Why you need self love
Perfectionism is a common problem for modern mums. We’re all trying to be superwomen but are secretly struggling, and sadly this “perfectionist” mentality is now being passed down to our kids – which is why young people are presenting with things like depression and eating disorders earlier than ever.
Going on a self-love journey – like I did – will help you get some much-needed clarity and control back in your life.
I found the course format fantastic in terms of motivation and connecting with others on the same journey, and found there are lots of small ways mums can practice self-love every day.
For example, just getting off auto-pilot and rewiring your brain to think more positively will make it easier to be a more confident and happier mum. Journalling is great for addressing life’s issues, letting go of them and celebrating wins; and taking even just five minutes out of your day to exercise or meditate for some time-out from the craziness of parenting will do wonders for your wellbeing.