First up, let’s just state the obvious: It’s not easy. At all. And it’s also different for every mum out there.
These are some of my personal thoughts and lessons I’ve learnt so far as mum to my beautiful twins.
Lesson: I am strong because I know my weaknesses
I’m neither particularly gifted in the kitchen or excited to be there after a long day working and training. I know this and I’m lucky enough to have a nanny that loves to cook. I’m 100% okay with not being good at everything and because of that I’m an accomplished delegator.
This is something that I not only do at home, but also in business. I’m very aware that I can’t do it all and I don’t want to! It’s why I’ve surrounded myself with people I trust that can do a better job than I could.
What I know is, without trust, delegation simply won’t work. You can’t be a control freak and delegate. You must hand a task over with complete and utter trust that it will be completed well, on time and in the manner you wanted it to be. Sounds simple, but if you are naturally a detail-oriented person this might be tough – lucky for me, I’m not.
Another game changer for me was getting Amanda Bude, a baby sleep consultant from Groovy Babies, to teach Brad and I strategies to get our twins to sleep. Sleep is so incredibly important if you are working mum, so this was something I didn’t hesitate to do.
I think there is pressure on new mums to have ‘instincts’ or to just ‘know’ what to do when it comes to their babies. I’d never had to get a baby to sleep before (let alone two!) so I didn’t know how. Instead of trying in vain to figure it out on our own, we hired a sleep consultant. The twins have been sleeping twelve hours a night since they were 6 months old, so no regrets there!
Lesson: It’s all continuous improvement
I often say in my yoga classes that it’s “a practice, not a perfect” and I think this is true in most areas of our lives including motherhood.
I’m not a perfectionist and I’m happy for things to be a work in progress. Not only does this apply in my business but also in my personal life.
I don’t expect perfection and that way I’m not disappointed. Things get done and there is always improvement that happens along the way. I’d rather make progress and grow than be be stuck in place because things aren’t ‘perfect’.
Having twins after having no children has been the biggest learning experience of my life and I don’t expect perfection from myself. I thought I worked hard before the twins, ha! Little did I know just how much work a mum has on her plate to keep a household functioning. To expect perfection would be too much to bear.
Lesson: Routine creates freedom
It might seem paradoxical, but I’ve found that having a routine is the best thing I can do to support freedom. A structure to my day lets me fit in all the things I need and love to do.
After a full night’s sleep (thanks Amanda!) I’ll awake for my Zazen seated meditation practice. This 30 minutes sets me up for my day as a mum, a business owner and a spiritual seeker. The discipline to stick to the routine allows my day to play out so much better than it would without meditation.
After meditation I’ll get down to the business of my morning routine with the twins before heading to work. Having specific work and home time allows me both to be a better mother and a better business owner. I’m more present when I’m not trying to be both at the same time.
Lesson: Ignite your passion
Being a mother has made it harder to do a lot of things well. I’ve already touched on letting go of perfection, but I think it’s important to also mention that you need to put time and effort into the important areas of your life.
I feel extremely blessed that I am still able to follow my passion for yoga and Pilates whilst also being a mother. Personally, having this area outside family life is so important to me and makes me a better wife and mother. Going to work and fulfilling my passions means I have no regrets and I can live a wholly satisfying life.
It’s not only my personal passions I’ve had to work on to keep them alive. It’s also taken some work to keep the fireworks going in my relationship with my husband. Brad and I first started with date days after the twins came along – we’d go for lunch or on a hike. The problem was we’d be watching the clock, sometimes hurrying to get back to a work project or to the babies.
With date days not working as we had hoped, we decided we wanted more fun not food, so we gave them up and have instead started dancing lessons at night! We are both physical people so dancing really suits us as we create ‘quality time’ together. Our Zouk dancing lessons are extra special as they are with Csaba the creator of our first dance at our wedding. This special time, heart to heart, has reawakened our relationship. Our relationship is now not only surviving, it’s thriving.
These are just a few things I’ve learnt over the last 10 months and I’m quite certain I’ve got millions more to learn yet. It’s my hope these lessons can help you as a mum or even as a business owner.