Before I became a mum my life was mostly about me. Even when I was teaching the Art of Living courses, (Art of Living teachers and organisers volunteer don’t earn money from this), it was still mostly about me. Sure, others were getting the benefits, but so was I. Huge. The high you get from seeing people really letting go of their stress is incredible. The glow on their faces by the end of the course. Priceless.
But basically, life before parenting was doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. It was a matter of choice, moment to moment. I spent my time organising and teaching Art of Living courses, writing articles and running corporate wellness sessions. I ran cooking workshops, stress management seminars, work-life balance seminars. I taught meditation and yoga. And then, in my spare time, I’d relax. Meditate. Swim in the ocean. Hang out with Simon (hubby). Hang out with mates, Go for nature walks, go to satsang (singing in sanskrit), cook, eat, etc. And sleep! (ahhhhh, sleep!!)
Things changed a lot when Joshi was born.
I decided to take a year off from work as soon as I became a mum. So here I am, on my year off. I don’t know why it’s called “year off” because it’s definitely one of the busiest years of my life! I used to think that mums just spent their time hanging out in cafes with their friends and babies. (They do that too, but what goes on behind the scenes is something else). Behind the scenes it’s all about feeding them, comforting them, bathing them, changing them. It’s all about them. And while that does also come with a huge rewards and oceans of love like you just can’t describe in words, it’s not without its many challenges. Sometimes it can be really overwhelming for new mums. At home – you and your baby. Hubby at work most of the time. Relatives living overseas. Friends all being very busy. Etc. Etc.
And when it’s all new and bit overwhelming there are a few things that can really help new mums …
1. Meet and hang out with other mums. I love meeting other mums. I’m now getting to meet and hang out with all sorts of people whose paths I’d probably never have crossed. Older. Younger. English. Spanish. Who cares! I love the sense of community it brings. It’s so easy to be on your own as a new mum, but the support that comes from spending time with other mums with newborns is so valuable. And you can talk about wees and poos without them pulling their nose up. Bonus.
2. Walk. I make sure we go for a walk every day. Even if it’s just a walk around the hood for 20 mins. (And sometimes that’s all it is, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick). Most of the time I go for a 30 -45 minute walk in nature. We walk, we sit in the sun, we get fresh air, we talk to strangers. It’s great.
3. Plan a few things for the week ahead, put them in your diary. … and then do your best to get to them! Sometimes getting out the house can take a lot of effort and committment. You’re tired, there’s usually a distraction that makes you late (poos and wees, your baby needing a feed), and you have to remember to take everything you need with you (nappies, change of clothes, water, cotton wool buds for wiping baby’s privates, etc), but it’s good to get out! This coming week Joshi and I are going to be trying out a new mums and bubs yoga class and a Gymbaroo class.
4. Prioritise eating well. When your energy’s low (and it probably is if you’re sleep deprived) then eating certain foods can really help. Whatever you eat will either take your energy level up, down, or keep it pretty much as it is. To take it up, eat LOTS of fruit, veg, nuts, grains, pulses, lentils, sprouts, freshly cooked food, etc. These foods are high in prana (life-force energy) and will lift your energy level.
If you don’t want your energy level to get any lower then avoid stale foods (ie. food cooked more than 4 hours ago), frozen foods, reheated foods, tinned foods, pastries, meat, etc … they’ll probably give you a few nutrients, yes, but they have very little prana in them, so they’re going to leave you feeling more dull and more sleepy. (Just when you thought you couldn’t get any sleepier!)
Ok, gotta dash … need to get some sleep!