Motherhood has changed over the years and most definitely over the last few generations. The needs of a baby haven’t changed, but because the environment they are growing up in has changed dramatically, the needs of the mother have changed.
What do mums need?
As humans, we all need sleep, nutrition and connection. This list doesn’t change when we become mums. However, we lose some of the control over the sleep factor (quantity and quality), we tend to lose some of our time for connection with other adults and we stop making our nutrition a priority. Some needs that have always been met naturally through the passage of a day or a week, simply go by the wayside and suddenly it’s weeks later and we realise that we haven’t had any time to ourselves or we haven’t been for a run. As busy mums we need to make a list of what we want and what we need to be happy and feel well. In this free worksheet I suggest that you make that list for a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Your needs will change regularly but the basics won’t. You need good food and nutrition and water intake every day. You might need some quiet time on a daily basis or a 5km run alone every week. I choose to have a weekend away every year with friends – but my needs are different to yours and that is OK.
Action Step: Answer the first question on the worksheet and identify what you need to feel happy and well and make sure you identify how often that need has to be met – is it daily, weekly, monthly or annually?
How do we get it?
This is where it gets tough – we have to take responsibility for our own happiness. As women we become very good at not asking for what we want and then getting upset and sulky when we don’t get it, or worse having a screaming match with our partner when they don’t do what we want them to do (when they clearly have no idea what it was they should have been doing in the first place). It is our responsibility to make it clear (yes, sometimes that means spelling it out, or writing it down) what we need and when we need it. Quite often our partners are only too happy to make adjustments and accomodations for us, but they need to know what it is we need first.
So, let’s use the example of a 5km run twice a week (not my example obviously, but you can apply this to anything else that takes about an hour). You can’t do this with the kids so you need to find time in the week when your partner (or your parents, or a babysitter) has them while you have your time out. Schedule it in and make it a non-negotiable part of your week. Hold integrity for yourself by sticking to your plan to do this for you, so you feel better. If you want a weekend away every year, plan this in advance with your friends, add it to your shared calendar with your partner and make sure you have multiple conversations about it. The aim here is to avoid daydreaming about something for years and then complaining that it never happens, because you have never made it happen.
As women, and mums, we are very powerful, but it’s amazing how often we give that power away by blaming others for something they had no part in creating. This is what we do when we wish we had time to get to the gym 3 times a week but we never make it happen and then we blame someone else for it not happening. Many of you are silently nodding to this, I know, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes moving forward.
Action Step: Take control and write down on the worksheet how you are going to make your needs happen as often as you need them to. What adjustments have to be made? Who else has to be available to take the kids? What calendar do these events have to be added to?
Finding your village
As a woman (and a human being) we crave connection. It’s part of who we are. It’s the reason we pair up to start a family and it’s the reason we begin finding kids that we like to hang out with as soon as we start having playdates or attending daycare. It’s in our nature. In generations past, we would grow up with our village – grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins etc. These days that situation is much less common and lately with border closures and limited plane flights available these connections have seemed further away than usual.
It’s important we find a village close to our home that we can meet with face-t0-face as often as we need them. Sometimes this will happen naturally through work colleagues or people you’ve grown up with, but other times you need to be proactive and visit your local community health centre to join a parenting class once you’ve had a baby. A small close-knit group of other mums going through the same struggles at the same time as you is invaluable. You can problem solve together, brainstorm, share experiences and at the very least, provide empathy and a shoulder to cry on.
Action Step: Add some ideas of your village to the worksheet. Do you already know who they are? Where could you find your village if you don’t have one yet?
Turning towards gratitude
From the moment we decide to try to get pregnant there are so many things to consider – what should I be eating? what extra vitamins and supplements should I start taking? what insurance am I going to need? who do I want in the birthing suite? how do I want to bring my baby into the world? what do I need for the nursery? etc etc. Before all of these thoughts I really hope that mothers-to-be take some time to live in gratitude and bathe in the happiness that it brings. Now, I know this is an extreme example, but we can apply this thought process to every single day of our lives. Before you start your day, take some time to live in gratitude. Before you start thinking about your to-do list, be thankful for what you’ve already got right in that moment.
Action Step: write 3 affirmations to say before you get out of bed in the morning and then another 3 to say before you turn off your bedside light at night time. Write them on paper and keep beside your bed where you will see them. Say them every morning and evening.
What’s the next step?
If you’re ready to take something as powerful as this process even further and make lasting changes to your life for the better, check out my Mastermind Program or join our next Retreat. If you’re not sure what would suit you best, book a free 15min call with me to discuss your needs.