I have a toddler, I train, I must be selfish! - Female Fitness Coaching

I have a toddler, I train, I must be selfish!

Woman enjoying me time after a baby

Me Time After a Baby

We all need ‘me-time’ whether we are parents or not! So why shouldn’t a mum have me time after a baby? Even a new mum? In fact, especially a new mum?

 Personally, ‘me-time’ is simply having some time to do something that directly benefits me. Sometimes this is just being away from my little boy for 5 minutes to go to the toilet in peace. Sometimes it’s having some time to go to an appointment alone or do some gardening.

Darrell, my husband needs ‘me-time’ – he goes to his kickboxing training sessions and competitions. My mum needs ‘me-time’ – she goes to the gym to meet her friends and goes for retail therapy. Dad needs ‘me-time’ – he spends time doing his Open University degree and tinkers with his motorbike. All my friends have ‘me-time’. Some enjoy watching films, some enjoy a bath or having their hair done or doing their nails. I want ‘me-time’…. does this make me a selfish mother? Not in my opinion!

If I don’t look after myself, physically and mentally, then what good am I to the rest of the family?

I learnt the hard way though. I had an ‘I will do everything and ask for nothing’ mentality. Certainly for many years before, and immediately after my son was born. Some might call it pig-headed, but for me, it was partly that I’m fiercely independent (a characteristic I see emerging in my son too!). Above all I think I was worried people around me would think (or realise!) I wasn’t actually coping. Just simply tending to my responsibilities in my eyes. I was not a woman who asked things of her family. I’d struggle through no matter how hard I found it.

You would NOT call me a selfish mum, a selfish wife, or a selfish person. I never wanted anyone to think that of me!

Is it just me that felt (and still feels to a degree) the pressure in life to be the perfect mum, a perfect wife, a supermodel, and a home keeper (the list goes on)? When in reality, if mum isn’t well and in good health, getting support and feeling alive, but instead feels tired, empty, invisible and overwhelmed, how are any of the other things supposed to happen?

It’s easy to tell yourself you no longer matter now baby has arrived, that baby is number one, that your husband and his work is more important, a feeling of guilt if you do anything for yourself.

I was never diagnosed with postnatal depression but looking back I have no doubt I suffered from it to a degree. Friends never said anything, maybe they were being kind, and maybe I hid it so well? My mum constantly offered her help, which a lot of the time I rejected for fear of being considered as a ‘bad mum’. My husband put up with all sorts of stuff, most of all, my negative outlook on life and how I felt about myself, which inevitably created a barrier in our marriage.

I was sad, negative and sensitive. Not suicidal or anything, just undervalued, most of all by myself (but I didn’t realise this at the time!) I’d keep telling myself (and others would also remind me) I chose this; this is what being a mother was all about. Giving up your life for the new little one that has arrived.

I guess I felt like I’d lost my own identity in a way.

Things are different now. Firstly I’m over 2years on from the arrival of our gorgeous son so there is an element that I’m less relied upon and I’m back at work again so I do get more time without the little one. But I also make the conscious decision to do things for me as regularly as I can.

My chosen way to have regular me time after a baby, is to go to the gym and throw some weights around, which I’m grateful I get to do 2 or 3 times per week at 6am on my way to work whilst my husband gets our son up and drops him at nursery. I only get 30-45mins in the gym but that’s enough. Sometimes on a weekend I forfeit my turn for a lie in to sneak out for a quick run first thing too. When I do these things there is no doubt I feel better. I think it gives me time to clear my head, whilst also doing something to keep me fit and healthy which in turn has a positive impact on my life.

Whatever you enjoy doing for yourself, whatever makes you feel good, whatever makes you feel value in yourself, make time for it! Enjoy your me time after a baby! Go on – be selfish!

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[…] then, I shall embrace all the changes. I’ll keep the all important ‘me-time’ slice in place (no matter how big or small it is!) and most importantly keep a big smile on my […]

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