I’ve been on a little bit of a podcast binge today and discovered some podcasts which really resonated with me, they’re ones I wish I had listened to earlier in motherhood.
I have a terrible habit of striving to be the best mum I can be and in that striving I find other mums on social media and blogs doing amazing things with their kids and adding those things to my list of things to do with my daughter. The problem I have found is that some of these things I just don’t enjoy, not one bit, and it takes every bit of effort and willpower to make myself do them, and at the very same time my daughter decides to drag her feet, complain and not brim with excitement at my good intentions.
In summary, it’s exhausting and there is zero joy and my daughter isn’t even appreciating my efforts. Putting my needs aside to selflessly give all my energy to my daughter leaves me drained and I’m not the best mum I can be the rest of the day. And by best mum I don’t mean the mum doing all the insta-worthy activities, I mean the mum who is replenished enough to be present and not snappy, and happy to be with her daughter because being that kind of mum, the mum that comes easily and naturally is the only mum worth being and the best example I can give my daughter of a life lived to it’s fullest and truest potential.
I have decided to look inwards (rather than externally) to find an easier and more peaceful way of finding things for us to do. Things we can do together and both enjoy. After all the last thing I want to teach my daughter is that she needs to give all of herself and more to be worthy. She just needs to be herself and that is more than enough, I need to listen to that advice and be the same as her mother.
So as much as I love the idea of nature walks every single day, exploring and documenting nature – which I convinced myself was an absolute non negotiable necessity. I have come to terms with the fact that this is something I do not enjoy and I find it so exhausting that my energy is depleted for the rest of the day. I realise many people are energised my being outdoors but I genuinely only find joy if I’m outdoors by the sea, in which case the beach fills my soul and tops my energy right back up again. So I have vowed to get us both to the beach as often as is possible and my daughter can get her outdoor time twice a week at nursery and with her dad at the weekend. So if I only manage one outdoor trip in the week (even if that’s the garden) I think she’ll be ok and I’ll feel a whole lot lighter. I am also considering “outsourcing” the outdoor nature stuff and signing her up to a morning a week of forest school in September. Instead, I want to fill our days with more reading and art. I love to draw and paint and it’s something that holds her attention for a long time too so along with baking which I also love we’re going to fill our days with the good stuff. The stuff that replenishes my soul as well as hers.
If you’ve found yourself feeling totally run down and depleted of energy and are wondering how on earth raising a little person can be so hard when others seem to be making it look so easy, I would say
1. motherhood is hard sometimes and some people hide how hard it is better than others
2. copying those who seem to be doing it well might not feel natural, their natural hobbies/likes/dislikes/values/opinions and talents will be different to yours
3. I find looking outwards for answers of how to do it better just makes me more anxious and full of self doubt. The best and easiest way to mother is by doing what we naturally want to do and let our little ones follow and watch us enjoying life and making the most of it. They will learn how to be well rounded, well adjusted individuals from our example, rather than “doers of task lists” that never experience the full joy of life.
4. By protecting our own needs and holding on to what we enjoy in life we are teaching our children to do the same. Showing them how to have boundaries around the things that are important to them and showing them how to ask for the time they need to fill their own cup is such a massively important life lesson.
5. Mothering is a relationship between two (or more) individuals and like all relationships in life they have to be mutually beneficially with both parties getting what they need. Yes there may need to be compromises but showing our children how to both give and ask for what they need in a relationship is a really important skill they will take to all their future relationships in life.
So on this topic here are some amazing podcasts!
1. Courage & Spice – How to belong to yourself
Courage & Spice is a popular podcast ALL about Self-doubt: rich conversations with folks who appear to be defying it, research-led approaches for navigating through it, and real-life stories to completely normalise your experience of it. Your host is Sas Petherick who’s Master’s dissertation was a qualitative study into Self-doubt. Sas is a Coach & Mentor who helps people navigate through Self-doubt.
In this episode they talk about the art and practice of how to belong to yourself. Especially if you feel so caught up in the opinions and ideas of your family, friends, colleagues or the culture at large, about who you are and what you are capable of. This is a rich and deep conversation about telling ourselves the ferocious truth, what self-compassion really looks like, and what unfolds when we are willing to trust ourselves. They also talk about the ingredients that makeup their shared, respectful and boundaried friendship for the last decade (where they have been disappointed by, felt envious of, loved and deeply supported each other).
2. Needy – Real Self Care & The Bigger Pitcher
Tune in to hear her explore…
- Protecting your most vital resource – your energy
- The cycle of rest and creation
- What real self-care is… and what it definitely isn’t
- How meeting your needs makes you feel more whole, capable, and resilient
3. Needy – Motherhood & Self Care with Graeme Seabrook
Graeme Seabrooks website: https://www.theproblemwithmotherhood.com/
Graeme is dedicated to helping mothers reclaim their humanity. She does this work because she believes we are living in a global culture that treats mothers as if we are inhuman, and expects us to be superhuman. Graeme is the founder of The Mom Center, a social and coaching network for mothers, as well as a speaker and writer.
Graeme’s unapologetic take on self-care is refreshing, tangible, and deeply restorative.
Tune into this conversation to hear more about
- Putting yourself on the calendar and holding yourself to your commitment to your own care
- Asking for exactly what you want and need
- How your self-care might look different than everyone else’s (and that’s TOTALLY ok)
- Committing yourself to truly manageable and fulfilling self-care