When I became a mother many of the puzzle pieces that made ME, just fell away. Things that I cherished, that brought me joy, that gave me purpose. There is a certain loss that happens in those first few years, and it creates a complete shift in identity. I am not complaining about my defined existence of ‘crazy mum’ (I swear it is not negative), but I will proudly admit that the shift is bloody hard. I say proudly, because mothers do not give themselves enough credit for this change of self.
At the beginning of 2017 our youngest started kindy two days a week. Once she was happily settled I suddenly found myself with twelve hours a week that I was off duty. WTF. After 5 years of parenting 24/7, I actually had regular time off.
First thing first, I sat down with my husband to ask him what he would like me to do with the time. After all he had been working full time for those last five years and I believed he had at least half a say in what I got up to. He laughed at me and told me to “just chill out” ( YAS, all those bitchy mum days paid off!)
Then two different thoughts began to haunt me.
- Fear; what if I have this extra time and I still get absolutely nothing achieved besides parenting and barely keeping my head above water? What if I am still stressed and exhausted?
- Guilt; Why should I even have time off, I choose this path of stay home mum, shouldn’t I just be doing that? Or shouldn’t I be working to bring money in? Am I doing enough?
Despite these haunting thoughts the weeks began to roll by, and I began to find a new routine. My off duty days were sometimes planned, and sometimes spontaneous. I found without much effort I managed to balance the time between things that directly benefited the family, and activities that nurtured me.
The result has been pretty magic beautiful.
It hasn’t happened overnight, but slowly I have began to connect with another part of myself. “Oh hey there Nell! glad to see you are still alive after the insane sleep deprivation…”
I have time to contemplate what feels good in life, what activities enrich our world, what balance is needed to help create better flow. I have reconnected with friends on a deeper level, with actual uninterrupted conversation, I now have time to support them the way I desire.
And of course, I have started to play… Yoga, meditation, hiking around this amazing place where I am blessed to live….and rock climbing, ohhhh climbing makes me so freakin happy! This amazing play has affected every part of my psyche. It is changing the way I relate to my world; physically, mentally and spiritually.
The changes that have happened within me ultimately affect how I parent. Although, I have had to let go of limiting beliefs when it comes to living this way. Let go of the expectations to be doing something that produces money, or completes a chore (my house is admittedly still a bombsite).
We could all do with permission to release expectations, go PLAY, find balance.
My number one goal as a parent is to raise children who feel happy within themselves. Children that grow into adults, who never forget the joy that comes when you let it all go, and play.
I am beginning to feel like I can show them the way…well, at least the way their mumma does it.