After having Jasper I lost myself. It took me a long time to realise that I had; and even longer to realise that I needed to get that sense of self back. By the time I realized this though; I was en route to baby number 2 and I knew it would be a while before I’d ever fully feel like me again.
During my pregnancy with Jenson I was determined not to lose myself like I had before and I’ve actually found it so much easier this time around to allow ‘me me’ to dominate over ‘mum me’. I guess what’s motivated me is looking back on how I was after having Jasper which makes me so determined never to be like that again. It’s also the fact that having two children now is all consuming and if I don’t grab me-time by the horns I’ll never get it! It was easier with just Jasper as all I needed was a nap time or my mum to watch him for me to have time to myself but now I need to rely on two bambinos to be sleeping at the same time or me having enough expressed milk and someone willing to watch both boys – all three boys if it’s a weekend.
I really do understand the importance of feeling like myself and I try to make sure that I incorporate a little bit of me-time into every day. We focus so much on moulding our little ones into the best tiny humans they can be and we often neglect to work on ourselves. Finding the balance is so tough but I know that I’m a much better mum/wife/friend/worker when I’m not lost in an overwhelming sense of ‘who is this chick and where the f*** did care-free me go!?’.
There are loads of ways that I try to clutch on to feeling like myself. They started off sporadic; one gym session would make a huge impact and keep me on a high for days; bringing me out of that lul that being in the mutha-hood can often bring you. Now though these highs are getting more and more regular and feeling a bit more routine. The balance is, well, balancing and I feel like as long as nothing interupts that, I’m becoming more and more like myself. Of course I’ll never fully be pre-baby me. My mind is joyfully overwhelmed by my babies and I wouldn’t change that for the world; but it’s a new adapted version of me that I’m remoulding and so far I like her!
So here are some ways I like to get that sense of me back:
1- Exercise. This does wonders for my mood. Even one gym session, run or workout class can transform me from low and unmotivated to full of energy, positive and determined! Doing one bit of exercise in a day makes me feel like I’ve nailed life and that not only am I doing my body some good but also my mind. That’s not to say that I actually do exercise every day; but I try to and when I do I’m so glad I’ve done it!
My go-to ways to exercise are yoga, swimming, cardio, gym workouts like kettlebells and trx and classes such as body pump, pilates and clubbercise. Today I did pilates and it set me up for a positive day. I stretched out my aching back which was bad enough pre-kids but now it’s a baby carrying, breastfeeding bunch of knots; and I instantly felt more zen!
2 – Wearing nice underwear. Breastfeeding makes this really difficult. For the first couple of months post birth I lived in a plain old nursing bra and black ‘period pants’ and oh my did it make me feel frumpy. I now try to make myself feel better by wearing a nice bra and pants set (always a set; matching does wonders for your mood) even if it’s just for a quick stop off at the shop or a coffee date with a friend and then it’s back in the nursing bra once I’m home. I need that time to feel good about myself and less comfy in a frumpy way. I can be wearing the baggiest tee and toddler stained trousers but if my underwear is in check it’s like I’m secretly undercover nailing it! This Jacqueline lace bra is my newest addition from Fantasie lingerie and it certainly beats my HM nursing bra – breastfeeding mamas can still be sexy right!?
3 – Clothes shopping. An ASOS haul does wonders for the soul; I’m pretty sure that’s a scientific fact! I guess you could call me shallow but buying new clothes can really get me out of a grump. I buy the boys clothes all of the time and often make purchases for the house so it’s really nice every so often to sit down and fill a shopping bag for myself. It gives me a chance to catch up on the latest trends and remember that I am actually pretty stylish when I step out of my mum jeans and baggy tees!
Pampering – Whether it’s at a spa or at home I love to have a good pamper session. I light a favourite candle (my current being Jo Malone Pommegranate Noir); pop on a facemask and paint my nails. If I get some free time I love to go and get my nails done too and as my number of children has increased I’ve realised that I appreciate this a lot more for the adult/ girly conversation than for the actual act of getting my nails done!
Catching up with friends – Playdates are great and all but nothing beats catching up with your friends kids-free. When your kids are there the conversation is always interrupted with ‘put that down’; ‘get your finger ot of that’ etc etc so it’s wonderful to switch off and talk about the good old days. Being in my line of work I feel like a lot of my conversations are online and there’s nothing wrong with that; some of my closest relationships and deepest conversations are with colleagues I’ve never met in person but I trust them with my life; however being in the physical presense of a good friend is so uplifting. Healthy eating – I’m a sucker for chocolate and chinese takeaways but when I do eat healthily I feel so good for it. I try and start my day with a smoothie packed full of fruits and greens and I try to eat well 80% of the time. When I eat badly I feel slugish and down and a bit like I’ve lsot control and as soon as I’ve drink a glass of water and eaten some fruit or beg I instantly feel clearer, more focused and more like myself.
How do you get your sense of ‘you’? I’d love some ideas!
Thanks for reading,