Children have the ability to brighten up our day with their beautiful smiles or throw our day askew with an early morning tantrum, usually when you’re trying to rush out the door to get a head start on a busy day! I think it would be fair to say that for those of us who either have young children or can remember, like me, having young children, they pretty much dominate our whole thoughts and being and we rarely get a chance to focus or even think about ourselves – how could we, in between the peals of laughter or shouting or singing from the garden and the calls of ‘Muuuuummm’!
In between looking after our little rays of sunshine (most of the time!), there is also running the household. There’s the cooking (sometimes different meals too for those who have fussy eaters!), then the laundry (rearing four boys who were active and loved playing outside, I have vivid memories of piles and piles of clothes that needed washing after sport!), and of course the cleaning (so many times I recall having just washed a kitchen floor only to have my boys run through with dirty feet!).
Did I forget to mention in between looking after our little ones, we can typically be found dashing around the place running errands to the post office, the supermarket, the dry cleaners, the chemist, the school runs, the bottle shop (we deserve that glass of Pinot Grigio on a Friday evening!), the visits to the doctors and sometimes emergency ward at the hospital! And what about all the ‘roles’ we have to be too? Not only are we ‘Mum’, we’re also Nurse, Taxi-Driver, Counsellor, Swing Pusher, Entertainer, Chef and of course, a Superhero to our little ones.
And this is all without mention of the responsibilities so many women have at work, on top of raising young children and running a household!
It’s hardly surprising that after having children, many of us can lose our identity, our sense of who we are in the world. Sadly, I have seen this happen to so many women and it usually happens when the children are about two to three years of age. Many women get caught up in being ‘Mum’ and the once regular outings with friends to restaurants or wine bars are relegated to just the odd catching up with friends for a coffee while the children are at school or a day at day care.
And what this usually means is that instead of taking the time to get dressed up, this usually means reaching for the loose, baggy, elastic waisted (sometime old maternity-wear) comfy clothes. These clothes don’t “feel” good – but they are comfortable! And often it’s comfort that we’re seeking, especially in the earlier years of our children. You see, a woman’s body changes shape after having children and sometimes it’s a struggle to move the weight, so this can result in not really liking what they see in the mirror!!! And those baggy, comfy stretching clothes can hide a multitude of sins and hide what we don’t want to see or deal with.
I recently went into the home of a beautiful lady in her thirties and discovered she had placed her full length mirror under the bed as she did not want to look at herself – but she certainly didn’t see what I was seeing and what a shame that is.
On top of the ‘busyness’ of raising a young family of children, there are often added pressures which mean that we forget about the importance of spending time on ourselves. Sometimes these are of a practical nature, for example, money can be tight (children are so expensive!) or it may be because of their routine and a fear of unsettling this or it might be because there is a lack of family support around logistically and no babysitter to allow us a few hours to enjoy for ourselves!
So, when does life kick back into action after having kids? How can we do this?
- Find a babysitter! Teenagers, neighbourhood, family friend, friend of a friend, or a niece/nephew looking for some pocket money. If you reach out for help, people will only too gladly step up to help you out!
- Create a date night with your partner or a close friend for once a week, fortnight or month! This is really important! Don’t forget, before your children were even a twinkle in the eyes of you and your partner, there was just the two of you! Reconnect and spend some quality time together and inject that romance back in to your life to remember how to be YOU again!
- Dress up when dropping the kids at day care, kinder, playgroup or to school and go for a coffee, head to the shops or visit a friend/family member. This might just be slipping on a new jacket or even digging out your favourite statement necklace or handbag, it may even just be putting on a beautiful bright red lipstick!
Choose to get out there – you are the only person in charge of carving a life out for yourself after children. You had one before they arrived so they blend in with yours – yours shouldn’t stop just because you’ve had a child/children.
Hopefully this helps you to start thinking about remembering you again – hope you enjoy 🙂