The Courage Queen – Mumbler’s Agony Aunt’s First Question!
I’m delighted to introduce our Mumbler Agony Aunt, Rachael Alexander, better known as The Courage Queen. For her first monthly Mumbler column, she was sent a great question, see her answer below (I have learned loads from this myself!).
If you have a question for next month’s column please send it to her directly on email@example.com and your question may be picked for next month’s blog!
Dear Courage Queen
I am 36 and have two small children, 3 and 8, who mean the world to me. Life is busy with nursery and school runs. I also work part-time which I enjoy and my marriage is like any other, we love each other but argue like most couples. Recently I have been feeling like something is missing in my life, as much as I love my kids and my part-time job, I feel like I am on a treadmill, same old routine.
Dear Courageous one.
I would imagine you rarely find time for yourself being so busy with two small children, working and running a home. Remember many of our female ancestors knew being a mum and running a home was a full-time job – there is always a pot to wash or bedroom to tidy when we have a family so learn to prioritise you. Times have changed now though and we expect ourselves to work and be a full-time mum – no wonder we get so tired!
Life is about balance and it is essential you learn to prioritise your physical, emotional and mental needs along with your children’s and partner’s needs. The first obstacle we have to overcome when starting to balance our own needs is realising nurturing our self is a priority. If we go down, then our children will suffer the consequences. So how do you find your own time?
We can all be martyrs and think we have to do it all – Newsflash – We don’t! Asking for help takes strength and courage and your children will benefit from you having ‘you time’ as you will be less irritable and tired.
So here are my recommendations on how to get more ‘You’ time.
Start by making a ‘Me Time Support Group’ list. This is a list of who can care for your children to give you some ‘You’ time – Partners, family members, friends, even babysitters can give you a couple of hours free to re-balance yourself.
Why not make Saturday morning your ‘You’ time and allow your children to spend time with others who love spending time with them. Dads can spend quality time with them if they have been at work all week. Alternatively have one evening a week where your partner or family member takes responsibility for parenting duties.
Use professionals – When Luke was a baby I would engage the services of the crèche at my gym to look after him. I would sit upstairs at the gym and have a cup of coffee and read my favourite book – no lycra or trainers in sight – balance would soon be restored and I would spend a lovely afternoon doing ‘Luke type activities’.
Child share with other mums or relatives – you have their children for tea and vice versa. Remember us mums have got to stick together! Swap with relatives too – if they have children, why not swap Saturday afternoons once a month where you care for their children and vice versa.
So what do you do with your time when you have these precious 2 or 3 hours free? Time to get ‘You’ back – having a child can zap our individuality so it is important to remember you are still ‘you’ as well as being a mum.
Think about what brings you pleasure or what used to bring you pleasure pre-children. Start with one small activity, which interests, excites and benefits you. It may be starting a yoga class or studying an online course or simply having a nice coffee or glass of fizz with some friends.
I believe we all have a purpose in life so start to think about whether you are really passionate about your job or whether it just pays the bills. Think about what job would make you feel excited. What did you want to be when you were younger? If you didn’t do what you do now, what would you do? Jot down some ideas in a notebook. Find a nice café bar and doodle your ideas over a cup of frothy coffee. Use the free Wifi to research courses or books which can help you.
Whilst another adult is in the house – have your pamper time. Put a lock on the bathroom door with strict instructions not to be disturbed – even wear headphones playing music to block out the persistent shouts of ‘mummmmmy’ if you have too! Light some candles and relax into your favourite bubbles.
Pamper yourself and make yourself feel human – nails, massage, hair cut or simply get out into the fresh air and get some exercise.
One of my biggest life lessons of being a mum is that a happy mum makes for a happy child. If you are irritable, tense, fatigued, tense and anxious then your child will pick up on this and you both will suffer. Balancing your needs makes for a happy mum and your child will benefit.
I mentor women daily who are so giving to others, however they forget to give to themselves. Start today to ‘give’ to yourself – even 30 minutes pure YOU time can make a difference. Feel free to email me for more advice.
Rachael Alexander is the Courage Queen. She offers 121 mentoring and facilitates Courage Queen Seminars, helping women to find their passion in their life and put themselves first. Sign up to her newsletter on her website – www.couragequeen.com for more inspiration or contact her direct on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook/CourageQueen.