Dannii O’Donnell: Four Adelaide Mum’s on Motherhood and Self Care

@dannii.odonnell

There is so much delight to be found in becoming a Mum and getting to know these tiny little humans who have turned your life upside down. As you unravel their little personalities, you learn how they like to be held, what makes them laugh, and what makes their sweet minds whirl with excitement and curiosity. It is a joy to witness, but, if you’re anything like me, just as you feel like you’re really getting to know Them, you realise you have forgotten all about You.

Self Care: it’s a simple concept. It means, doing things for yourself that make you feel good, physically, mentally and emotionally. Then why, when we become Mothers’, does this become so, damn hard? Immediately, our focus shifts from our own needs, to the needs of our kids and any forms of Self Care are abandoned. Before you know it, you can barely manage to shower daily, or brush your teeth, let alone fit in a yoga session, or a leisurely beach walk. Me time, becomes a thing of the past.

Personally, I know that one day, very soon there will be more time for Me. But for now, it is about making do with the limited time that I’ve got and seizing any opportunities for Self Care, no matter how small they may be: like sitting down with a hot cup of tea and taking a few deep breaths while the kids eat their breakfast. A quick stretch on the yoga mat while they nap, or a long, hot shower once they’re in bed. These acts may seem small and insignificant but they bring a sense of calm to the chaos of my days and remind me that I too, am important.

I profiled four Adelaide Mum’s for an honest look at what Self Care means to them, how it’s changed since having kids and how they make it happen, as they navigate their way through the early years of Motherhood.

Georgy Keen – Mum to Clancy, one.

@georgykeen

What does Self Care mean to you?

For me, Self Care means putting time aside from obligations, work or daily duties (the endless to-do list) to do something small for myself that benefits me physically, emotionally and mentally. It means that caring for myself is just as important as caring for all of my loved ones, and when I am feeing recharged that the whole family benefits, win-win!

Has your approach to Self Care changed since becoming a Mum?

My approach to Self Care has changed since becoming a Mum as before I had my daughter, I had a tendency to be a bit of a martyr when it came to having a clean and tidy house and everything organised and in order. Being a Mum has forced me to relax a lot more with things I cannot control and be okay with the fact that my life is rather chaotic and messy – and when you can only muster 20 minutes to yourself at the end of a long day, it is TOTALLY okay to put my own Self Care needs before those crappy chores. I think as women and mothers we have this incredible, innate ability to multi task but it can often be our undoing. So often we are cooking, tidying, baby wrangling, washing, working, micro-managing our to do lists, liaising with friends and family and trying to keep everybody happy, seeing everybody that needs to be seen in order to maintain relationships, making sure we are providing our babies with enough stimulation and learning opportunities. So if we need to power nap when opportunity presents itself, we need to embrace that opportunity sans guilt. Own that nap.

How do you incorporate Self Care into your daily life now that you are a Mum?

I have always been an early riser and I take my mornings very seriously. I love that time I have alone before my husband and daughter wake up to feel calm and collected. I often start my day at a time most people would cringe at, waking up and making a pot of coffee and getting organised for the day. I try to get to the 5:45am F45 session 3 times a week, which lets me have a good sweat before my husband heads off to work at 6:30am. We live very close to the beach so one of my favourite things to do is take my dog for a walk along the beach to see the sunrise, and listen to a podcast or a favourite playlist. I feel best when I am eating whole, natural foods so I try to have a fridge and pantry stocked with snacks ready-made, like boiled eggs, cut up veggies and home-made dips which make time poor days that tiny bit less stressful. I try to squeeze in this prep time whilst making dinner (queen multi-tasker at it again!)

Alana Spain – Mum to Ayla, two.

@lovelightandlife

What does Self Care mean to you?

To me, Self Care means taking time out for yourself to nourish your body, mind and soul.

Has your approach to Self Care changed since becoming a Mum?

Since becoming a Mum I’m a lot more time conscious as well as money conscious, which is reflected in my Self Care routine. Self Care used to involve expensive massages and facials, long baths or long walks, but now it’s little things like a face mask here or there, or sitting down to paint my nails during nap time. Some days even putting a hairbrush through my hair is a Self Care win. Just little things that make me feel a bit more human again.

How do you incorporate Self Care into your daily life now that you are a Mum?

Once Ayla is in bed I always try to take at least a bit of time for myself after cleaning up the mess that has been made throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll sit down with a book and cup of tea or do some exercise, but sometimes I’ll just collapse on the couch with Netflix and wine. I have every intention of starting meditation at night too but haven’t quite got there yet.

Anne Smith – Mum to Grace, seven weeks.

@barefootandthankful

What does Self Care mean to you?

My understanding of Self Care, is knowing what my needs are and making sure they are met. It’s about having self-awareness and taking responsibility and ownership for my life, especially my internal world. For me, Self Care is all about balance and being honest with where I’m at, in my mind, body and spirit.

Has your approach to Self Care changed since becoming a Mum?

Absolutely! Self Care before darling Grace was automatic and a lot easier. I had routines and rituals. I have quickly learnt that my approach to Self Care needs to be fluid and easily adaptable because life with her, is forever changing. I now need to remind myself to care for me as much as I care for her, because ultimately it’s the same thing. Every good thing I do for me, I know is good for Grace.

How do you incorporate Self Care into your daily life now that you’re a Mum?

Bubba Grace is only 7 weeks, so this navigation is still new for us! So far, checking in with myself daily is a good way to keep myself accountable. Along with this, each day I try to make sure I’m nourishing my being in at least one way. Mindful showering, movement, decorating a healthy smoothie bowl, hanging out with family and friends, watching the sky change while breastfeeding, taking slow and deep breaths (even with a crying bub on my shoulder). Walking to the fruit and veg shop and getting a take-away chai latte (if Grace is happy!).

My ‘me time’ has always been super important, so choosing to read, write, create or clean our space while Grace is sleeping is sometimes more beneficial than catching up on sleep. And finally! Visiting the sea (especially at sunrise) is the biggest Self Care injection I could give myself. So, to ensure I am caring for me in the best way possible, I make sure I visit as much as I can!

Courtney Hughes – Mum to Billy, two.

@coourtneey_

What does Self Care mean to you?

Self Care is something that is now very important to me. After coming out of a very draining relationship I found that most of my unhappiness came from me forgetting about myself and not looking after myself. I thought that by putting myself first I was putting my family last. It’s only now I realise that by looking after myself, happiness will then surround me if I’m feeling happy and healthy too.

Has your approach to Self Care changed since becoming a Mum?

Yes, very much so. Before kids, Self Care was nice makeup, nice clothes and all about my appearance. Self Care to me now, is about my mental and physical health. It is about doing the things that I still love to do, things that make me happy.

How do you incorporate Self Care into your daily life now that you’re a Mum?

Just because I am now a mother, I don’t want to have to stop doing what I love. One of those things would be visiting the ocean. I make sure I visit the ocean once a day and my son just plays on the sand whilst I breathe in the fresh air and take in my surroundings.