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Why Self-Care Feels So Hard For Mums

Why Self-Care Feels So Hard For Mums

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I have not always had a healthy relationship with self-care. I can be a martyr which is not good for me or anyone around me. I often throw my toys out of the pram - usually when I've neglected me for a while. The whole 'self-care' isn't selfish' thing didn't sit well with me for a long time.

What a bonkers thing that was?! Think of all the times I could have set aside for myself? The books I might have read. The massages enjoyed and the simple act of allowing myself to let go that I denied me.

Self-care isn't easy and, as mums, we could be busy looking after other people all the time. Looking after others wears you down. You can only do it to your best abulity when you are happy, healthy and nourished.

If you have a tricky relationship with looking after you, here are some reasons why:

  • It is hardest to do when you need it most. I know this. When I was a broken new mum, doing anything for myself was simply not contemplatable. I felt so crap that I didn't feel worthy of self care. Please do as I say not as I did on this one. If it feels too hard for you to do, that means you MUST do it. It means that you are struggling and you need help.
  • Other people won't like it. They will probably huff a little bit about it. That is their problem - not yours.
  • Self-care doesn't mean avoiding what you don't want to do. Sometimes it means doing just want you don't want to do now to make time for later. You might have to clear that pile of washing or prepare a detailed list for your other half so that you can have some time to yourself.
  • Some people won't like the new boundaries you create to protect yourself. Self care means saying no sometimes. Not everyone is going to like that. That's ok. You are not here to please everyone.
  • Don't help other people to your own detriment. It's wonderful that you remember to text your friends who need you but you don't have to do that late at night. If other people are calling on you for emotional support, remember that you can ask for it in return. You have to be happy and strong enough to be giving that support.
  • Neglecting yourself to look after your family might seem like an act of love but its not really. Giving from a place of emptiness will lead to burnout and also resentment. You will resent them and eventually yourself. That leads to arguments which lead to anger and then to the Dark Side. Steer yourself towards the light.
  • You might have to let go of something to make space for self care. That might mean people. Yes, scary but ok. Avoid energy vampires. It's certainly going to mean letting go of habits that don't serve you. You can make time for a walk if you get off your phone for an extra 30 minutes. You can make time to read a book if you turn the TV off a little earlier.
  • You're going to have to be honest with yourself. You are going to have to have a kind word with yourself. You will need to ask yourself what it is you need the most and then formulate a plan to get it. No excuses. Yes, you do need to cook tea but that doesn't mean you can't batch cook, stick some in the freezer and free up time for a bath, walk, yoga class, cup of tea with your bestie. You are wasting time with 'stuff' when it could be spent on you. I know this because I do exactly the same thing. I have to battle with this one all the time but it is worth it.


Please remember that self-care doesn't mean 'me first' or 'only me'. It means 'me too'. It means 'I am entitled to look after myself in the same way that I look after you'.

What would you say to a worn out friend? Say that to yourself as well. Please do one thing just for you today. You are so worth it!!

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What our mums say...

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SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes

I had previously been to a few different yoga classes and found them a bit intense and not what I was looking for. I heard about Mandy's prenatal yoga classes through a friend and it sounded just what I was looking for. From the first session I was SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes. They are way more than a yoga class - meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation and a chance to chat to other expectant mums and soak in Mandy's wisdom. The jammie dodgers are a welcome bonus to the class too! Since lockdown the classes were via zoom and this worked really well and I still had the same sense of connection and relaxation I got from the in person class. Between classes I also did Mandy's yoga sessions on her website which really helped me stay relaxed and helped my aches and pains. I also made sure I regularly listened to her audio relaxations which helped me stay calm and grounded in those final weeks. Above all of this, Mandy has been a wonderful support and checked in with me after the birth of my daughter and during our hospital stay - Mandy really does go above and beyond and puts out some brilliant online content. I can't thank her enough!

Georgina

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Mandy understands that babies have their own minds...

Mandy was extremely friendly and made me feel at ease so quickly. Which was fantastic as I was nervous being the youngest mum in the room. It was good to introduce everybody and nice for Mandy to explain she understands babies have their own minds so if we wanted to we could feed or change nappies just simply watch.

And she really meant it. 

Having tea and cake at the end of each session made you stay and engage with the mums.  I loved how Mandy explained all the benefits of the different massages e.g. winds/sinuses  Oh and one final thing I loved the goody bag! Couldn’t rate the class highly enough.

Leanne

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Absolutely love her classes

I returned to Mandy's pregnancy yoga classes following my second pregnancy as I absolutely loved her classes first time round and made some solid friendships. 
Mandy creates such a welcoming and safe environment. She is passionate about ensuring mums and mums to be have a support network alongside the yoga which is so vital. Her classes provide opportunities for open discussion around pregnancy/childbirth/motherhood and no question is out of bounds!
Following the birth of my daughter, I went on to attend baby massage and baby yoga classes, both of which I can thoroughly recommend. Baby massage has given me some really helpful techniques to manage baby's trapped wind and has also helped me deepen the bond with my little ones. Baby yoga was surprisingly more relaxing than I expected! I have made some amazing friendships that have continued post classes. I would definitely recommend Mandy's classes. She is so honest and puts her heart and soul into her classes. 

Suzanne

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Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment

I first attended baby massage classes when my son was 3 months old, and then went on to do mum and baby yoga, and I’m on my 4th block of classes now (my son is now 9 months old!) Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment, great yoga for post pregnancy, focussing on pelvic floor exercises and breathing, and a general feel good hour where you can forget about the outside world. The cake and tea are a bonus at the end of the classes and I have met some really lovely moms through attending. Mandy has a special gift at teaching and she never fails to create a relaxed environment for the babies, who all seem fixated by her presence. I am so glad I found her classes as Wednesdays are my favourite days of the week! Cannot recommend enough.

Gee

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Fantastic!

I did want to say thank you. Your classes are fantastic - you explain everything so clearly and know which achy bits to work on. It has made me think that I should find a ‘normal’ (ie not postnatal) yoga class post-lockdown, but finding the time will be a big challenge! I also think that what you do for mums is great and I hope that you will be able to start your classes in person again soon. If I come across any mums to be or new mums I will certainly recommend you, although Arlo was a late (and very happy) addition to our family and most of the mums I know have kids at school now. That’s been another positive for me actually - being able to connect with people going through the baby/pregnancy stage as otherwise it would have been very easy to neglect that side of my life with the demands of having other young children. One of the unforeseen bonuses of Mandy's classes was that my baby always slept for three hours afterwards!

Beth

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Mandy really encourages everyone

I first attended Mandy’s pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant with my first baby, the yoga helped hugely with my pregnancy aches and pains but most of all the support and encouragement from both Mandy and the rest of the group was amazing. Mandy really encourages everyone to engage with each other which wasn’t something that I had experienced in other groups I attended, it meant that I felt safe in asking that daft question or verbalising my fears! I then went on to attend baby massage and postnatal yoga with my first baby and again the support and ability to engage with other new moms was fantastic! I have recently had my second baby and attended pregnancy yoga, whilst I had less concerns and worries about pregnancy and birth the classes gave me a dedicated hour to have just for me...which was so important and you don’t get much time to yourself when you are running around after a toddler! I am now attending postnatal yoga and although this is having to be done via zoom Mandy has continued to provide a safe environment and an opportunity to engage with other Moms! Thank you Mandy you help me keep my sanity!

Ann-Marie

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Mandy is such a positive influence

I went to Mandy's pregnancy yoga class for a block of 8 lessons. I enjoyed it so much that I kept going for another two blocks. You may think you're going for yoga, but it's so much more. Mandy is such a positive influence on how you feel about your pregnancy, birth and parenting. I gained friends, lost any fear of giving birth and am looking forward to joining one of her baby classes with my newborn.

Aswalia

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I feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum

I signed up to the class to get to meet local expectant mums with the side benefit of a nice stretch.  I did meet some lovely local mums and found it so helpful to have a space where you could talk about any issues and get advice or support. What really surprised me was how much I valued the yoga and stretching but mostly the breathing exercises. It gave me a toolkit of things to do during pregnancy and also in Labour and has made me feel excited for the birth! Mandy’s affirmations during the rest time have really spoken to me and made me feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum.

 The class was so beneficial to me, to have a space just for me to enjoy my pregnancy and learn about the things I can do in birth to help it be a positive event. Thank you!

Emma