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Motherhood: Rewrite The Narrative
Just over 12 years ago, I was living my best life, or so I thought. I was in my dream job in Human Resources, I had just gotten married and my husband and I had built our first home. If someone had told me I would eventually be a stay-at-home mum to seven children I would have most likely laughed at such a suggestion. Yet here I am, and life is better than ever. But there is one thing I have been struggling with lately and that is identifying with the negative picture of motherhood I am presented with every day on social media. One of struggle, exhaustion, and irrelevance, where I forsake myself for my children, and that it is parred for the course. When it comes to motherhood, there is this idea of “solidarity in the trenches.” That we are all in it together and this is somehow meant to take the edge off. There is no discussion of goals or achievements but instead endless memes about sleep deprivation, the toll of night feeds, and the drain of toddler tantrums. I didn’t want to disappear down this rabbit hole. Misery loves company and I was not about to pull up a chair. As a stay-at-home mum to seven young children (aged 12, 11, 9,7,5, 3, and 1), this is not a season I must simply mark time on until it passes and my life can begin again. This is my life and I am not surviving, I am thriving! I am many things, I am a wife, a mother, a friend, a member of the PTA, and a hypnobirthing instructor. I love fashion, make-up, cooking, baking, working out, and early morning sea swimming. I wear all of these hats and yet I refuse to identify with the bedraggled depiction of a mum that social media constantly presents me with. But it begs the question can both versions of myself successfully co-exist? Emma, the mother to my seven children, and Emma the woman, with goals and a zest for life. My answer is yes, so I chose to rewrite this narrative for myself. I was bored of using motherhood as an excuse for why I wasn’t showing up for myself. I wanted to feel more aligned, but how? I looked at where I was, and where I wanted to be and took action with these 5 steps.
- I stopped blaming motherhood for my struggles and held myself accountable.
If I am stressed and impatient getting all seven children into the car for the school run at 8 am, it’s not because that’s what “mum life” looks like, it’s because I didn’t get up early enough! Hold yourself accountable for your choices and the impact they have.
- I became intentional with my time.
I decided what I wanted to achieve in the day and committed to those things. I don’t faff. I use my time efficiently and don’t make my busy life an excuse to not achieve my goals. E.g., I cannot get to the gym to work out, but I can work out every other day for 12-15 minutes at home, albeit with a baby attached to me.
- Never start the day in a deficit.
Telling yourself you will “do it in the morning” is a lie. You won’t have time. Prepare in the evening. Leave uniforms out, lunches made, and school bags in the car. Tidy up the kitchen and do dishes. In the morning you are starting with a clean slate.
- Start where you are.
There is nothing more demotivating than setting a goal and feeling like it is consistently out of reach. This feels so demoralising. If like me, you always have children with you and feel your life is at capacity, then make a commitment to yourself that every day you will find 10 minutes to do something for yourself. Read a few chapters of a book with a coffee, do some yoga stretches, and whatever is doable for you now, start there.
- I apply the phrase “mood follows action” to everything!
Do I always feel like exercising? No, but my mood is always better when I do. Do I always want to prep dinner in the morning? No, but if I do, then in the afternoon madness, I am always glad I did. And it works the other way too. If I decide to eat junk food instead of opting for a healthy choice, I will inevitably feel worse after I made that choice Don’t get me wrong, being a mum to seven is hard. I work harder now than I ever did before I had children. But encouraging women to thrive in motherhood is what I am most passionate about and so I want to use my experience to inspire other mothers to live their best life now! It’s a privilege for me to say I am now a motivational speaker at women’s charity groups, workshops, breastfeeding support groups, and anywhere I can. I want to empower and remind them exactly who they are and who they can be! Strong, smart, courageous, ambitious, relevant, and motivated. I encourage mums to visualise the life they want, and intentionally make decisions that line up with that image every day. I challenge you mother, don’t accept the negative transcript social media is feeding you today. Rewrite the narrative!
About the Author
Name: Emma Lewis
Professional Title: Voluntary Motivational Speaker
Bio: Emma is a busy mother of 7 children under 12 and a voluntary motivational speaker. She encourages women to reject the negative depiction of motherhood being fed to women daily on social media.
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