A Guest Post bySam Mann of Mumazine
For me becoming a mum was a wonderful thing – all of my other achievements paled into insignificance. I felt I’d found purpose in my life, my new baby daughter became the reason I wanted to succeed and everything was hunky dorky until… I lost myself.
I don’t mean literally, although for someone who loses her phone, keys and tv remote on a daily if not hourly basis I probably would lose myself if it were at all possible.
I mean I wasn’t quite sure who I was. Before falling pregnant and pretty much throughout my pregnancy it was business as usual. Interviewing stars about their latest movies and albums, then popping on the telly box to talk about it. I was in my element with Sarah Jessica Parker admiring my bump and advising me on those weird but wonderful Braxton Hicks. We even came up with our own fashion label for mums. Move over D&G, P&D (puke and dribble) is the label to be seen in for any fashion conscious mum.
Me and bump were in demand – I was a regular on Sky 1’s Angela and Friends where the lovely Dr Christian Jessop would update viewers on how big my bun in the oven was and what it would look like. I was also busy writing my bestie Denise Van Outen’s pregnancy book.
When my daughter arrived I still felt unstoppable. And then, I’m not sure when it happened or why but I lost my mojo. My confidence and oomph had packed their bags (perhaps taking their very own babymoon). I was at a loss as to what had happened.
When I finally decided to share how I was feeling with a few friends they told me they’d felt the same. ‘Phew so it’s a mum thing’ I remember saying in relief. Over time with a few simple changes I got my mojo back, here’s what I learned:
Give yourself time
Only you will know what the best time is to get back into work mode (unless your boss is screaming down the phone demanding you get your ass back to work – in which case I’d advise telling him/her where to go and look for another job). The early days of motherhood are so precious and go so fast so enjoy them. Of course we can’t all take months off watching Jeremy Kyle and showing off our top of the range Bugaboos on the high street while scoffing cupcakes, but take as much time off as you can before the bank manager starts calling.
I took plenty of time to get myself back in the saddle but even still had my fair share of mini meltdowns at the beginning trying to juggle work and motherhood. I came so close to strapping my daughter on my back and heading down to London’s Leicester Square to cover a red carpet premier until my partner coaxed me out of it.
Believe in yourself
Remember some of the more challenging times and how you over come then. How you felt when you achieved something you didn’t think you could. This will help you get your confidence back and to go on and achieve even bigger and better things.
I always think back to when I co-hosted a huge event at the Royal Albert Hall in front of my boss, the mayor and Sir Michael Caine – yikes! I remember being pretty petrified at the time but after the event when people came up to congratulate me I felt fabulous. I now use this as a reminder of what I am capable of every time the little voice in my head pipes up telling me i can’t do something.
Be kind/gentle on yourself
Yes you are the same person you were before you became a mum/parent, in fact you’re even more amazing. That said your life has been turned upside down and you aren’t just taking care of yourself anymore. Your hormones will have been affected and you’re energy levels will have taken a battering too.
When I get frustrated that I’m not getting even half as much done as I used to, I step back and watch my happy-go-lucky little girl and remind myself that she’s the best thing I’ve created ever.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Baby brain can make you feel like you are losing your mind. Regular exercise and meditation can really help. Try cutting out the ‘stuff’ which takes up unnecessary space in your life. It’s great to meet up with friends and other mums but if those meet ups are turning into more of a gossip session then maybe it’s time to duck out and use your time more wisely.
I still struggle to say no to people when there’s a cuppa on offer but when I take too many offers up it feels like I’m always playing catch up.
Be prepared to change direction. Your job may not be doable now you are a parent. Use the time you take off to work out whether you still want to go back to your current job and what else you could do to make things work better. It may mean retraining, working part-time and taking a leap of faith.
I still do a fair bit of showbiz stuff but I now spend a lots of time working on Mumazine from my home office so I can be around for as many school drop offs and pick ups as possible. As every parent will tell you ‘life is too short.’
Sam is mum to 5 year old April and editor of mumazine.com where she shares her mummy experiences and interviews with her celebrity mummy friends.