My journey to finding me again began by acknowledging where I was and what wasn’t working for me. I was feeling frustrated, angry, irritable, negative, tired and lonely. I was yelling a lot at my family. I felt like I was no longer interesting to anyone other then my children when they needed something. I felt stuck. I wanted to be at home with my children but I also felt like my ENTIRE life was now focused around taking care of other people and the house.
I rarely went out without my children unless it was to the supermarket or to run errands. I rarely saw my friends. My self care was minimal, although I did take the time to go to the gym once or twice a week. Without the gym I may have lost my mind! I used to think that watching lots of television was self care…. turns out there are much better ways of taking care of myself.
I contemplated going back to working as a Social Worker but wasn’t sure I really wanted to get back in to that industry. I didn’t have the confidence that I could even do it! I applied for a few positions and when I wasn’t successful I felt like I had lost my Social Worker identity as well. In reality, that happened a long time ago, I hadn’t worked in the industry for over 5 years at that point!
I felt like I was JUST A MUM. Turns out that I wasn’t just a mum. I was a woman who was a mum. Motherhood was and is a big part of my identity but not all of it. I needed to make changes to allow me to see this.
These days I feel very different. I feel calmer, my household is calmer. There is much less yelling. I value my role as a mother. I have a much more positive outlook on life and I am very grateful for what I have. I am not tired all the time like I used to be. I have goals. I feel more confident. My relationship is better. I take better care of myself. I take time away from my family to just be me. I know myself much better and what I need to be happy. I watch very little television.
The primary things that I have changed are:
- Self Care: I have prioritised taking care of myself. I have replaced TV with things I enjoy and that nourish me.
- Waking up early: I wake early before my children to get some time to myself, do a short meditation and plan out my day.
- Sleep: I ensure I get enough, but not too much.
- My attitude: I am much more positive now and I have developed a daily gratitude practice.
- Recognising that my level of self care is very much related to my mood and my irritability and frustration, which impacts on my family. When I look after myself I am a much happier mother, wife and woman.
- Doing lots of inner work: I have done lots of journalling, reading and online courses to get to know myself better and what I need.
Don’t get me wrong… I still have days I am grumpy and yell at my kids. I still have weeks where I feel like all I do is look after other people. I still forget my self care some days or weeks. I still have days were I can barely get out of the house because it all feels too hard. But for the most part, those days are far less frequent.