Self Care; the key to finding me!
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
The term self-care has never had so much meaning to me since I became a Mum. It’s something that I would see splashed across Instagram posts and podcasts so frequently, and in the early days after Josie’s birth I used to think ‘ the chance would be a fine thing, I’m literally just hoping to make it from one day to the next, anything else feels like a massive pipedream’. But what does self-care actually mean to me now??
Pre-baby, it meant a lovely quiet Friday night in watching Sex and The City episodes back-to-back in my PJs and with a glass of wine, or a long soak in the bath on a quiet Sunday afternoon followed by painting my nails and applying countless skin and hair products I purchased for an obscene amount, simply because Grazia had suggested it was one of their top 10 purchases this month!!! I cant remember the last time I bought a magazine let alone bought myself something based on its recommendations.
I knew that past times like these would become a rarity once I had children and even when I do squeeze in a chance to paint my nails, whilst the baby naps, I end up walking around for days with just one hand done as something would always pull me away to resume mummy duties.
But self-care now means much more than this to me, for the first time ever it means paying attention to my mental and emotional self. For you this could be as simple as taking the time to read that magazine alone and with a coffee that isn’t cold. But for me now, its about finding time to be ALONE!
Not doing housework or work, or even spending some much needed time with friends, it’s about just being on my own with the space to check in on my physical and mental health and hopefully dedicate some quality time to me.
I never was much of a massive believer in dedicating time to my mental health, on reflection this wasn’t because I had my ‘shit together’ like I’d always assumed, it was more that little did I know it but I was dedicating time to self-care on a daily basis and it just never felt like a chore because me time was always in abundance. In fact me time usually occurred out of lack of anything better to do on a Friday night not out of necessity.
One study commissioned suggested the average mother gets only 17 mins a day completely to themselves!!!
Now that’s a scary stat, coupled with that equally synonymous phrase ‘Mum guilt’ and I think we are pretty much buggered….when we do manage to carve out that alone time, we feel riddled with guilt that we should be spending time with our child/children or at very least getting the housework done.
I feel like when I do find that rare moment alone, its like being in the company of someone I’m not very familiar or comfortable with, yes myself.
In the last year of being a first-time mum I have spent more time with my child, my husband and even friends and family than with just me. If I had to guess I’d say I’ve spent less than 5 hours completely alone in my own company this last year, and I bet I’m not alone in that. No wonder women have babies and feel like they lose themselves, we probably wouldn’t even recognise her …… she’s a complete stranger now!
I am not someone who needs to be around people to be happy, I like my own company but of late it's dawned on me I don’t know how to be alone. Which has meant when people ask me ‘How are you finding being a new mum?’ I genuinely don’t know the answer, as I don’t even have the time to ask myself that question, let alone have time to do something about it if the answer is ‘not great’.
Referring back to the skills I learnt whilst hypnobirthing with my daughter and then the continued exposure I now have through my hypnobirthing instructor training, reminds me of how important mindfulness is, and the opportunity hypnosis gives you to completely quieten down the world around you.
It's time for mums to put down the baby and the laundry basket and take themselves off out of the house and spend some quality time with you. So that you can either reconnect with your old pre-baby self or maybe even discover she doesn’t exist anymore and the new superhuman woman that she has morphed into is just as fabulous if not more so than the one before!! x