Five ways to reconnect with yourself as a mother
Firstly can I give a big thank you to Neha for allowing me to post and share some of my experience in this wonderful little corner of the internet.
My name is Shan Ellis, and I am a mother of three children aged between 13 and 2 and I reside in a glorious corner of the British Isles. Today I’m taking over this page to write a little about reconnection with yourself after having children. I hope you enjoy what you read.
In the beginning…
Life is busy, often messy and tumultuous. With children you can also add a heady mix of drama (and humour) to the mix. Things happen when you’re a mum that you have very little control over, and it is easy to feel totally lost.
It’s like sailing a boat at sea. You started off on your own, sailing along quite nicely in an empty boat. The further you get along your journey, the more people join you in it. Sometimes when the sea gets rough you feel like you’re going to tip over, and end up having to rid the boat of water, fix leaks and sew the sails all at the same time.
This is the time to stop, and even the boat out and plot out your journey. This is your reconnection, and the time to salvage *you* before you end up burnt out and unable to function for your family. Here are some ways to reconnect with yourself, as a woman and as a mother.
It’s not always easy to plan the week but it will make you feel far more in control if you know what is organised for the next seven days. We have a seven-day planner in the kitchen. All appointments, birthdays, shopping trips and to do’s are on the planner. I recently bought a bullet journal which works for me on a personal level as I have my to do’s in a neat clean list. It takes literally ten minutes on a Sunday night to write. There is nothing in this world more satisfying than being able to stroke out the things that I’ve achieved. Instead of an ‘I can’t’ it’s turned into an ‘I can’.
Keep your plans small and manageable. Achievable goals will give you more of a sense of pride when you’ve marked off many of them. It will also stop the terrible feeling of mum guilt if and when you think you haven’t done enough.
Take your time
If you need to breathe, then do so. I purposefully take a time out from time to time. When the children are at school and the little one at nursery, I won’t clean, I won’t tidy. I will sometimes take an hour on the sofa to meditate with music, a good book or even a trashy TV show. Sometimes I will go for a run, and appreciate the beauty of my surrounding area. This does not make me a bad person.
The world will continue to turn if you haven’t washed and ironed bedclothes, or turned over the mattresses. If you work full time, as I do, these quiet moments become utterly precious.
Ask for help
Some of us may not be in a position to live nearby parents or people who can help with the children. But it is vital if you feel that you’re sinking, that you ask for some help. I completely relate with the fact that sometimes we think that asking is akin to showing weakness. I disagree, I truly believe it is a mark of strength, and knowing that you need time to yourself to continue doing your utmost for everyone else is vital.
Knowing whom to ask is difficult because people all have busy lives, so reach out. You can always return the favour to a friend, or meet up for a playdate for coffee, and a bit of a chat/rant whilst the children play and entertain each other.
Ask the children’s father or your partner. If you’re on your own your parents or your partner’s parents, or any relative you feel comfortable with.
Have cuddle time with your children
Not only is this hugely beneficial for them, but it also has an amazingly positive effect on you. Your children love you no matter what. Their love is unconditional. Reinforce that bond with affection. Nothing makes you feel better, or prouder than a sporadic cuddle from your children and hearing them tell you that you too are loved, and very much appreciated.
Reconnect with the person you were before children
This is a hugely important point. Having children changes everything. It changes your life without apology, and sometimes it comes as a huge shock. I promise you will adapt! Try and do some things you did before having the children.
If you enjoyed one night out a week at the cinema, then do it. I enjoy going to yoga, and I make sure that I go once weekly to keep myself not only in touch with my circle of friends, but also in touch with who I was. I might not be quite a bendy. I might drink far more coffee to keep balanced but I am still me.
If you enjoyed listening to music, and reading books, then incorporate that into your daily routine. Even 5 minutes will be beneficial for you in your effort to reconnect with yourself.
I also take the children to places I visited growing up. Sharing your sense of history with them also gives them more of an idea of who you are. In turn this reinforces that life goes on and flows, and they have stories to tell their own children of you, and the memories you made together.
After all they are your legacy on this earth. Allow yourself to be a great one!
This lovely guest post was brought to you by Shan Ellis Williams. Shan is a journalist and freelance writer who lives in the Wilds of North Wales with her three growing kids.
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