At the beginning of 2018 our youngest started kindy two days a week. It took about a month for her to settle in, and we had the ability to make that transition slow because after all… I am a stay home mum. Once she was happily settled I suddenly found myself with twelve hours a week that I was off duty. After 5 years of parenting 24/7 I had regular time off. It was…weird.
First thing first, I sat down with my husband to ask him what he would like me to do with the time. After all he had been working full time for those last five years and I believed he had at least half a say in what I got up to. He laughed at me and told me to just chill out (all those bitchy mum days paid off!)
Then two different thoughts began to haunt me.
- Fear; what if I have this extra time and I still get absolutely nothing achieved besides parenting and barely keeping my head above water? What if I am still stressed and exhausted?
- Guilt; Why should I even have time off, I choose this path of stay home mum, shouldn’t I just be doing that? Or shouldn’t I be working to bring money in? Am I doing enough?
Despite these haunting thoughts the weeks began to roll by and I began to find a new routine. My off duty days were sometimes planned and sometimes spontaneous. I found without much effort I managed to balance the time between things that directly benefited the family and activities that nurtured me.
The result has been pretty beautiful.
When I became a mother many of the puzzle pieces that made me just fell away. Things that I cherished, that brought me joy, that gave me purpose. There is a certain loss that happens in those first few years, and a complete shift in identity. I am not complaining about the sacrifice, I do not mean this to sound negative, but I will proudly admit that it is bloody hard. I say proudly because mothers do not always give themselves enough credit for this shift, this change of self. It’s tough cookie stuff.
It hasn’t happened overnight, but slowly I have began to connect with another part of myself. I have had the time to contemplate what feels good in life, what activities enrich our world, what balance is needed to help create better flow. I have reconnected with friends on a deeper level, been able to be there for them more. I have started to play! I am rock climbing again which makes me so freakin happy. I am loving going deeper into yoga practice and mediation. I love exploring how becoming a mum and all the challenges I have faced effects how I tackle other activities. And I get to the end of the day and no longer have the need to escape my exhaustion and emotions by binge watching Netflix…
What makes me really happy is knowing how this balance, this play, this happiness will ultimately affect how I parent. I have had to let go of a few limiting beliefs when it comes to living this way. Let go of the expectations to be doing something that produces money or completes a chore. Have my time to BE BALANCED and through that balance find my happy place…and not feel guilty about that. I feel like we could all do with permission to let go of expectations and find our true balance.
As the different areas in my life are being nurtured I am excited to take that energy and happiness back to my kids, back to my husband. To share that joy of play, whether its my ‘games’ or theirs. Because this has always been my number one goal as a parent, to have children who can feel happy within themselves, doing the things they love, feeling nurtured and connected.
Now I feel like I can show them the way…well, at least the way their mumma finds it.