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Happy mum happy child, that’s such a powerful statement. I was curious, as I explore the idea that at the centre of designing a life you love, which brings you happiness every day, is yourself (read more about designing your life here.) Specifically a version of yourself where you spend time filling your cup.
My third guest blogger is Maria, a mum of two, creator of website / Facebook page Happy Mum Happy Child, which is dedicated to helping parents feel less alone in this parenting journey. Having started in 2014, HMHC is now the top parenting blog in New Zealand.
I know firsthand that within the most beautiful picture perfect surroundings of family can lie our greatest struggles. I know that we bring these tiny, helpless bodies into the world and from us they expect nothing, but love, but from ourselves we expect everything and we give everything, until often there is nothing left in our cup. I wanted to hear directly from Maria how she maintains self care as a priority to stay happy and what happy mum happy child means to her
– What has been your greatest challenge as a mum?
I find a lot of things challenging about being a Mum, but the biggest challenge for me was coming to terms with the fact that my life would never be the same as it was before I had children. I’m more used to it now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world – but it was a very difficult for me when my daughter was first born – I think it triggered my post natal depression somewhat.
– What has been your greatest learning as a mum?
That I am in fact capable of so much more than I could have ever imagined – the love I have for my children, the patience I have, the ability to clean up so much poo – honestly so much I have learned about myself
– How much of a priority is your own self-care in your life?
It’s more of a priority now than it was when I first became a Mum.
– How do you keep it a priority?
I think it’s important to have at least one moment a week where you have no children around you (if at all possible). Whether the other half takes the kids to do the grocery shopping, or they go to the grandparents for the morning. Just a moment alone can do wonders for the soul.
– What happens when that priority slips
Thankfully for me my husband is an amazing friend and supporter – if I am struggling then I communicate with him and he helps out where he can.
– What stresses you out?
My children. Lol – honestly though, just the challenges of being a parent stresses me out. Kids fighting, being demanding, etc it all gets overwhelming.
– How do you avoid overwhelm?
I try and be honest with myself and my family if I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m also not afraid to put the TV on and say to myself “hey I just can’t do it in this moment, so the TV is going to help me out”
– What brought you to inspiring mums as your work?
When I started talking about my journey with postnatal depression, so many wonderful mum’s confided in me with their own struggles and told me it was so nice to hear someone talking about it. I don’t necessarily think I’m inspiring anyone, but just working together with everyone so that we all know we’re not alone.
– How do your personal challenges and how you overcome them influence your work?
90% of my work is off-the-cuff – so it really is dictated by how I feel each day. If I’m having a bad day, then I’ll share it with my followers. Not only to possibly make others feel like they’re less alone, but also for me to feel like I’m not alone. Even for me I can get stuck thinking I’m the only one going through something.
– What blogs do you read and who do you look up to in your industry?
I don’t get a lot of time to read other blogs, but do focus on a couple. Here in New Zealand, my wonderful friend Lisa runs No Filter Mum and it’s a wonderful page for me. She is open and honest about her own journey as a Mother, and she’s become a wonderful friend to me outside of the internet.
Internationally I love Tova Leigh – she predominantly does videos, but also has a blog and I love her and what she talks about.
– What does Happy Mum Happy Child mean to you?
Happy Mum Happy Child ultimately means if Mum is happy, then the child is happy. So it’s important to focus on yourself as a parent.
If you’d like to read more from Maria, visit her Facebook page
Of find her on Snapchat: happymumnz
Visit her website here
Let’s drill down into what it takes to design a life you love, which brings you happiness every day. At the centre of it is yourself. Specifically a version of yourself where you spend time filling your cup.
I decided to explore this by inviting other enlightened mums to guest post. Those who have been the stressed mum, the overwhelmed mum, the unhappy mum, but have come out of the other side. I wanted to hear from them how they got there and what the benefits have been.
Meet my first guest blogger, Amy. She is Founder of Powerhoop NZ and has even created a group from her own journey of filling her cup! My HAPPY 100 is a place where she inspires and motivates more people to do more stuff for themselves.
It is something I am truly passionate about and of course it is a work in progress for me.
There have been times when I see my own life passing me by and I am not grasping it enough and making the most of it. I was using being busy in my business and being a mother of three as a reason not to do a lot of things I would love to do. It left me feeling depleted. I was attending to the needs of everyone else before me.
I had been wanting to do things like take my kids away individually on a little holiday to create some memories together. This meant so much to me, but each year would pass and I just wasn’t making it happen. So, I decided enough was enough, I wrote a list of things I wanted to bring into my life this year. Not a TO DO list, more of a THINGS I WANT TO BRING INTO MY LIFE list. Because I wrote my list down, and shared it publicly, I felt really accountable for it. It is now half way through the year and I have already ticked off over 50% of my list. And there are 100 things on there! I can honestly say this has been my best year yet and taking my kids away was definitely one of the highlights for me. As a result of doing more things for me, I feel less stressed, way happier, and much more balanced in my life. My cup is so much fuller and I finally feel I am living MY best life. I am doing things for ME!!
Well of course I do benefit, but my kids also benefit from having a happier mum, my husband benefits from having a more balanced mum, my customers definitely get the best of me and my friends must see the difference too.
First I’d say, I get it. It is all too easy to wake up in the morning and rush out of bed only to find yourself zapping around at 100 miles an hour, getting everything organized for the day ahead. It is like a hurricane of packing school lunches, looking for lost socks, feeding the animals, walking the dog, messaging a colleague about something or another, catching up with world on social media, checking e mails, feeding the kids / family, pouring that first coffee down our necks and so on. And that just about covers the first hour of the day! The rest of the day can look equally as hectic if we allow it, just rush, rush and more rushing.
We rush to get to work, rush through the traffic, super busy at work, rush to get home to feed kids / family, outside activities to attend, and get everyone all organised for the next day. Coffee is the fuel that gets us through. Or maybe that is wine?
It seems like we never quite “get it all done”. We never quite get to tick off our entire lists. We might tick a few off, but we have added more and more. The end may feel like it is in sight, but it’s not, it’s just a mirage.
So, my advice is to turn around your thinking. Accept, it will never end. That’s the truth. There will ALWAYS be something left to do. And if we allow it, LIFE like this can take over and we can end up like FRAZZLED MARTYRS with no time really allocated to just US.
Time. We are far too busy looking after the needs of all of those around us to even consider taking time out for ourselves, there are far too many things to get done first. We often don’t value ourselves enough to invest the time to do more things that will bring us that joy. Everyone else comes first.
Yes. Only a couple of years ago, I ended up in hospital. I had let stress get to me again and I felt done in. I had a lot going on at the time, emotionally, and I just put NO time into my own self care really. Yes I was exercising and eating well, which helped me so much, but I was having no down time. So yes, we can end up like a frazzled martyr if we fail to care for ourselves properly. I also think if we spend too much time making everyone else happy to our own detriment, then we end up resentful too. And of course that means those around us, get the brunt of that build up of resentment too! We end up lacking in energy, feeling wiped out, possibly a little depressed, and turning to narcotics to get us through! It did used to be like that for me.
Do anything from exercise, to meditating, to going for a walk, to a massage, to spending time with a friend, or learning a new hobby. Truly something that brings YOU joy when you do it.
Being a parent is when you need to be the best version of yourself, which means it should be the best time to take more care of yourself. Because if you take care of YOUR needs then you are in a much better position to help others! It’s that simple. You will have more energy, more lust for life and be happier. If your cup is full, then, you can help everyone else.
Finally, this life is for living now, we are NOT guaranteed any time here, so I reckon we make the most of our time. And the more we can do for ourselves, the happier we are. And the more EVERYONE benefits from it.
To read more about Amy’s Happy List, visit her website.
To read more about how you can Design Your Life, click here! (I am taking enrollments for 2018!)