One of the biggest challenges of motherhood is not getting to know your baby, but getting to know your new self as a mother. Sometimes it's easy to forget that there is even a YOU in all this chaos!
1. Start over with a clean slate
Stop looking over your shoulder - the old you is long gone! Embrace the change instead of waiting for things to go back to normal. See it as an opportunity to re-invent a new and improved you. Think back to your old self, what was she like? What were her strengths and weaknesses? What did she need to work on? Now get to work on this new blank canvas and create wonderful, marvellous you.
2. Let your standards slip
Perfectionism and motherhood are not good friends. Your house will be messy, your clothes will have banana smeared on them, your hair won't be washed, you won't sleep... for at least five years! If you keep holding the 'new you' up to your old standards you may continue to feel disapointed. Re-define success: kids breathing...poo explosion well managed...haven't killed you husband...you're doing great!
3. Embrace baby brain
Forgotten where you put your car keys again? Can't add up the the bill? Your first born's name escaped you? Baby brain does exist, it's oxytocin and it's awesome! Oxytocin is the birth and breastfeeding hormone. It's gooey, mushy love, but it's terrible at maths and has no short term memory what-so-ever. In general our culture values the more rational, clever and masculine ways of thinking, but baby brain is really valuable, particularly for mums. Oxytocin bonds us with our babies, helps us breastfeed, gives us quicker and less painful births, give us more tolerance to monotony and boredem... the list goes on and on. Embrace this new brain of yours. If you want to learn more about oxytocin please come to my free workshop.
4. Ask yourself the hard questions
Take a good hard look at yourself. If you had enough money what would you do with your time? What kind of person would you like to be? If you died tomorrow what would you regret? What do you love? What brought you peace and joy this week? Find out what's really important to you. Maybe it's as simple as sleeping more, or maybe you want a different job. David Allen said "you can do anything, but not everything". Prioritise.
5. Get a babysitter for fun
Many mothers only have a babysitter so they can go to work for money. If you had an hour or two to yourself what would you do? A massage? A manicure? Coffee and a newspaper? A movie or a novel? Don't be tempted to catch up on laundry, this is your time. After youve asked yourself the hard questions above you may discover something you've been yearning to do, maybe you want to paint a watercolour or volunteer at an animal shelter. Do it!
6. Make service your religion
Mahatma Gandhi once said that "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others". What on earth does that mean??? I think he got the idea from the ancient Indian scriptures, the Vedas. I suspect he means that the meaning of life can be found in serving others. Serve others and you will find the meaning of life. You will find your 'self', which in the Veda's refers to a higher self, a divine one-ness. In service you move towards self realisation, enlightenment, the ultimate happiness. Simple hey?
7. Find a great mums group
The right mummy friends can make your heart sing. Surround yourself with like minded women in a safe and supportive environment and motherhood will start looking a whole lot better.