This post is for all the mums out there who face the tough and important jobs (plural) of being a mum, working or and/or building a career, running a household, planning a future and taking time to enjoy who they are. All at the same time as trying to keep themselves healthy enough to continue with the multi-tasking whilst looking out for their family's health too. It's a minefield. It's complicated. And we are inundated with opinions and information from everywhere (thanks to the Internet) that to be honest, make you doubt your maternal instincts or even lose them completely at times and do crazy things.
(I'm not in any way diminishing our partner's role in any of this, but I'm a wife and mum and this is what I speak to here.)
The perfect analogy for me to use is the one of an oxygen mask in case of an airplane emergency. They are right to tell you that you should always put on your own mask before tending to others, because what good are you to anyone otherwise?
I used to think that making myself a healthy smoothie for breakfast, taking (well-researched) vitamins and exercising 3-4 times a week was pretty selfish, and almost negligent when my kids were still eating things like toast and jam, sandwiches and processed foods/snacks because I hadn't figured out how to get them to eat vegetables without the hissy fits. I know now that I did it the right way for me. I learnt about natural health by looking at my own lifestyle and making necessary changes. So I can tell you that:
- there is no way I would have had the energy or drive to be persistent with the changes I wanted to implement for my family, and
- I wouldn't have understood the rewards and benefits of doing so if I hadn't experienced them myself. You really do have to practice what you preach when kids are involved (and husbands for that matter!)
My journey to a healthier lifestyle took years, and will continue forever. Good things take time. We are far too conditioned to expect quick fixes for everything, the silver bullet or wonder drug....these don't exist. And even if they did, it's really not the end result that makes you stronger, it's the learning and experiences from the journey. Why would you want to skip that?
It's also so important to have a support network around you when you take on new challenges. I'm so very lucky to have friends and family who try and help me get where I want to go...and I know this is no small thing. Some of the topics I look into and believe in are a little (or a lot) controversial so this is also a thank you to my support network (particularly my husband) for being open minded enough to let me discuss it with them.
We took these photos after my daughter came out for a ride/run with me, she's old enough to do it now without me having to push her the whole way (just up the steep hills!). It was the first time we've done it just the two of us and it was great to have her there to chat to (despite me puffing too much) plus she asked loads of great questions about exercise and stretching and why we do it. I love times like this, a great learning/teaching opportunity for the benefits of exercise i.e. how to push yourself, how the body and muscles work, how good you feel after and how amazing a cold shower feels when you're hot and sweaty! Yes she did that with me too!
I know I feel stronger as a person for every run or class I do, and I'm not actually talking about the physical side but it's the mental toughness that being physically strong leads to that has brought me the greatest benefits. That's not to say you have to be physically strong to be mentally strong but for me this is how my journey is happening and I'm so totally addicted to feeling to this good, this content and this grateful, I will never go back.
Therefore I can highly recommend starting your own journey, taking your time to learn what works for you and then reap the benefits, they are HUGE, SIGNIFICANT & ONGOING, not just for you but for your family too. This will be my legacy, what's yours?