It all started with a banana in my handbag. A squishy, “ready for banana bread” kinda banana. Packed as an emergency snack and then forgotten. To add insult to injury, I also found two stinky socks, deep in the recesses of said handbag. This all led to a mini mum meltdown. I felt like throwing myself on the floor, screaming. Was even my handbag not mine anymore? Was there anything left that I hadn’t given up, sacrificed or left on the back burner just because I decided to have children?
Becoming a mother is generally more associated with gain than loss. You add a new life to this world and expand your family. Babies are, after all, a gift we are blessed with and not something that leaves us with less. The reality is that we do experience a sense of loss through the process of becoming a mother. A loss of identity, a loss of free time, a loss of a certain kind of independence, often a loss of friendships, of course a loss of sleep and sometimes the feeling of losing your mind!
As much as I adore my boys, and as much I enjoy having them in my life, I do sometimes wish I was still able to do all the things I want to do. I daydream about carefree days where I can read books uninterrupted for as long as I want, only think about when and what I want to eat, have an afternoon nap, not having to put anyone in bed and best of all, not having to take responsibility for someone else’s health, hygiene, manners, wardrobe and safety.
So I started making a point of reclaiming some lost things again and so should you. We all have the power to do that. It might look a bit different for you, depending on your situation and the ages of your children, but I encourage you to find a way, even if it’s only something little.
- Scale back on the amount of things you do for them. As hard as it is, because watching somebody else do something slowly while you know you can do it better and quicker is agony! It also means you have to trust them more and keep a blind eye to some things. So if they go to school with singlets the wrong way around and no underpants, I have to let it go because at least they did it themselves.
- Try teaching them that you can’t always be available. It sounds extremely selfish, but they need to learn that sometimes you need time for yourself. Of course you will be around in a crisis, but no, I am not cutting short my shower because you can’t find Batman. And in the dead of winter, with supper slowly bubbling away in the slow-cooker, I have even taken the liberty of sinking into a hot bath with a book at the impossible hour of 5pm!
- We no longer listen to any children’s songs. They can memorise the words from the latest for KING & COUNTRY single just as easily as “the wheels on the bus” and as I am a lover of music, it allows me to enjoy it while at the same time giving them exposure to melodies and rhythm that are a bit more interesting.
- Paint your nails, do your hair, wear the sparkly earrings. If it’s something you used to do before kids, try finding a way to bring it back.
- Start a new hobby or work one day a week. As much as I hated working full time when my children were small, I also found it really hard once I became a stay-at-home mum. I wanted to be more than just a nurse, nanny, cleaner (it feels like that some days doesn’t it?) Starting up my own online business made the world of difference for me.
Remember always that the best gift you can give your family is to be a whole, fulfilled and happy mum and woman. Find a way to get yourself to that place and enjoy the rewards it brings!
Magda is a mother, budding entrepreneur and a dabbler in words. She is originally from South Africa, but Perth became home in 2015. Her happy place is spending time with her husband and two boys, all 3 of them redheads! Most of her spare time goes into washing underpants and putting down toilet seats, but if there’s any left, you will find her with her nose in a book. Other passions include coffee and chocolate and sometimes she runs too. She loves encouraging women to be authentic, ignore the opinions of others and to become the best possible version of themselves.