Parenting: How to find yourself again after becoming a mummy

It's funny how when you were planning your family, so desperate to hold that new baby in your arms, you probably didn't really give much thought to what things would be like when they were no longer a baby. Maybe you did in the abstract, picturing sunny days in the garden, holidays and watching them at their first dance recital or football game, but did you really give much thought to you once they hit toddler-hood and beyond.

I find myself in the position of having to rediscover myself after a specific set of events, which I realise won't apply to everyone.

I found out I was pregnant with my little girl after just starting quite a new job and then after telling them subsequently facing pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal. I didn't have a job to go back to and was faced with considering whether to apply for roles after my year of maternity or to go freelance.

I then became pregnant with my little boy 9 months postpartum (which we totally planned but perhaps didn't think would happen straight away) and the decision was made. I would work freelance and look after my LG and manage a total house renovation until baby was born.

Whereas after my first baby we could just about manage for me to keep some elements of my previous life - one person could easily do bedtime, so I was free to see friends, going to yoga classses, attend meetings for a voluntary Directorship I wanted to keep going and work in the evenings writing.

Second time pregnancy, the house renovation and freelancing was so exhausting that I had to reduce many of my commitments to the bare minimum and the logistics of two young children to care for has been tricky to navigate. With noone around to watch the kids during the week and costs of nurseries being so high (plus me personally wanting to be at home with my babes as much as possible at this time), my personal life and aims have taken a massive back seat. As a a result we have been in pure survival mode for the last year and all sense of my old life feels distant from me.

Even travelling, which we did a lot of pre-babies now feels hard work, exhausting and anxiety fuelled at a time when I just want to wrap my babies up safely and keep them at home. I know that this may be slightly more than just new parent syndrome, possibly a touch of Post Natal Anxiety, but I refuse to believe that it is unnatural to want to fiercely protect my precious babies with every essence of my being.

Whereas I used to have time to dream and work towards my goals, I now barely have time to look in a mirror, which has only dented my self esteem more. Don't get me wrong, I go to the gym when I can, have the odd night out etc but professionally I have lost sight of my aims.

Everyone has a touch of imposter syndrome from time to time, no matter how experienced they are, but after such a long hiatus, it feels challenging to find my way back. Having always been a very driven, go getting person, this has taken a lot of energy to process.

I've always been able to coach myself through challenges or goals but when some things are out of your control it can be difficult to deal with.  Just living day to day has helped with the frustration I have felt about not making big enough strides but I find myself now wanting to give myself more.

I know that when they are at nursery or school, I don't want to be left with nothing for myself or such low self esteem that making a transition back to my old career (should I want to) or forward into something new to feel so massive.

This time there are so many other lives impacted by my ambitions and although I could go back to working 50 hours a week and travelling a lot, would that be right for my new family? Does that work with my husband working long hours and being away? Would our family suffer too much for the sake of my professional goals?

I'm sure I'm far from alone in feeling this way, as so many mum's must also struggle with lost identity, or pressures at home that prohibit them doing what they did before or starting something new.

I'm on here writing this not because I have the full answer, but because I'm going on a journey to figure it out. If you feel the same I'd love to hear from you.

Here are just a few things I'm going to try to begin to start the process of finding my way back (not that I want to go backwards but just find some balance between my old and new life) to myself:

- daily journalling and writing intentions. I've bought a great new journal (linked here) which I want to start filling in with both big picture dreams and little steps to get there. Even finding the time to do that seems hard right now but I have to begin. It will require ignoring the guilt that may be there when I try to escape for 10 minutes as soon as the Carnivore comes home. For going on my phone or laptop for a bit, rather than cracking on with any one of the ten million jobs there are to do or playing with the kids, when I've been managing their needs all day.

- meditation - this is more than just finding a moment for me, in the present, to relax. It's about dreaming again. I'm a big visualiser when I want something, I have to picture it in my minds eye. I then have to make it clearer focus until I know exactly where I'm heading. I'm also a bit of a butterfly which means picking just one path is a real struggle for me. I need headspace to feel like me, to gain perspective and clarity but doing this in a busy, noisy house will be tough.

- getting my health on track - this is about making time for exercise, but then I can't help but be active with two young smalls, but also about getting my eating back on track. I'm not blessed with a naturally fast metabolism, coupled with borderline thyroid issues, and I have to eat what and when I can, so it means that getting back on track and to the size I want to be requires a bit more effort than the norm.

- making time for me - this means asking for help from family when possible, looking into some childcare even just a morning a week for one of them, and relying a bit more on the Carnivore when he is around, which means avoiding that guilt that as he leaves the house to work that he should have more rights to down time than me. If anything, as stay at home mum's, we need the change of scene at the weekend more than anyone. It won't always been unequal but for now I have such a longer way to go to getting some sense of my old self back and how could he ever really understand that when their lives don't change the second the blue lines come up on the pregnancy test.

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