{Raising Little People} Bringing confidence back mama…

Effective Ways to Improve Self-Confidence for Mums

When people say that having a baby is a life-changing experience, they are most certainly telling the truth. It’s a miraculous thing that turns your whole world upside down – and for the most part, in a good way.

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However, women are rarely candid when it comes to the downsides of motherhood, mostly for the fear of sounding like a ‘bad mum’. It’s not all peaches; there are amazing moments, but there are also gruelling, exhausting and frustrating ones, and it is time the stigma is broken and we tell it like it is. While I love being a mum, and there isn’t a job in the world I would rather do, I have to admit that, after the pregnancy my self-confidence, especially the part connected with body image, took a bullet. The hormonal changes, the extra pounds, lack of sleep, lack of quality time for yourself and your partner take a huge toll on you. The wake-up call came, and I answered; I realised, that, if I want to be a good mum I need to be a happy one, and that entailed taking back my sense of womanhood and femininity. I decided to become all mum action instead of all mum talk and self-pity.

I truly hope that my journey of self-rediscovery will be at least of some help to all the mums out there dealing with the same issues, and I will be happy knowing I was of help to at least one of these amazing super-women.

It takes a village…

…or at least a great partner and a little help from friends and family. New mums tend to take on a lot all by themselves. This is a huge mistake. Asking for help does not make you a bad or inadequate mum; you are only human after all. Learn to delegate and not micro-manage. Let your spouse or partner take their share of chores and responsibility. When you take care of your baby together, it doesn’t only serve to take the part of the burden off of you, but it’s also a bonding experience for you and your hubby. Don’t shy away from asking your family to pitch in. One of my life-savers was enrolling my baby girl in a great early childhood service Little Learning School; not only did I know my precious little one was in good hands, playing and learning along the way, but it also gave me the extra time to pamper and regain my sense of self, both as a woman and a wife.

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Get your body back on track

I’m going to be completely frank – I was not the least bit happy with my post-pregnancy appearance, and it didn’t matter how much my hubby told me I was beautiful, I just didn’t feel that way, and I think a lot of new mums can relate to this. I decided it was high time to stop wallowing and avoiding mirrors, and reclaim my body. With a pinch of good time-management and aforementioned help, I started by changing my dietary habits.

After some careful research, I found just the right foods that would allow me to eat healthy but that are also good for my baby as I was still breastfeeding. I turned to oats, yogurt, as well as salmon, plenty of greens, blueberries, and the wonderful matcha tea, to help me detox and give my metabolism a boost. In my determination to get my body back to at least close to what it used to be, aside from changing my diet I hit the gym, and I hit it hard. It felt amazing, and once I got my stride back, I couldn’t wait to go back. Not only did working out help with my weight, it also greatly helped me to regain my body-confidence and even my sex-drive. What a lot of people won’t tell you is that once the baby comes, the sex goes out the window, and you need to make a conscious effort to connect with your partner physically. Once I felt sexy, I was able to believe my husband when he told me I was. Of course, some new makeup and a great new hairdo didn’t hurt, and neither did a change of wardrobe. You might not be able to fit into your skinny jeans just yet, but there are so many mum-chic styles out there that will make you feel super sexy and stylish.

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You are more than parents

Once you have a baby you and your partner become parents, and at the beginning, parenting gets in the way of romance, which is completely natural. However, you should never let romance fizzle out of your life. Make the time to have a meaningful conversation with your partner. Leave the baby in good hands of family or professionals, and take your partner on a romantic date. Romance doesn’t just happen; you have to work on keeping the spark alive. Establish ground rules – no talking about nappies, bottles or any baby stuff – this is the time for you two to reconnect. Take it a step further, romance doesn’t have to entail only candlelight dinners. Remember the things the two of you used to love to do together. See a movie, go to a concert, take the day and spend it at the beach, ride bicycles, whatever you loved to do pre-baby, and go back to it. Couples who do things together – stay together.

Take the time to fall in love with your partner all over again, and remind them why they fell in love with you. It will not make only you happier – it will reflect on your child as well, as kids are very aware of their surroundings and can sense whether they are in a home that is filled with love.

About author:

tracey clayton

Love is marriage or marriage is love?

Recently I have noticed something. A new trend developing. Everyone is getting married. I remember a time when we all went to 18th and then 21st parties but now it seems marriages are the new birthday party. All the cool kids are doing it, and the uncool kids, and the in-betweeners, the hippies and the gold diggers. Everyone. That is of course, except those boys who love boys and the girls who love girls.marriage definition

 There seems to be a lot of uproar about allowing same-sex marriage to occur in Australia without much basis for saying no. You know except for the usual ‘what about the tradition of marriage?’. Even our local member of Parliament, Paul Toole recently said he was unable to support the same-sex legislation because he was ‘old-fashioned’. Surely local members are supposed to support and represent the community’s changing values and views?

As a happy married woman I understand the joy in getting married but the question I find myself asking is whether the feel of marriages in Australia is changing to something that is not quite for ‘ever after’ but rather ‘for now and a bit?

According to the English Oxford Dictionary marriage is: ‘the formal union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife’. So is that what we need to protect?

Are we protecting the formal union? Are we protecting the idea of monogamy? Or is it just protecting the union of only a man and a woman?

I fail to see the nexus between introducing same-sex marriage and the impact it will have on the traditional marriage. Surely John and Jane’s marriage will still be as sentimental and just as legal? Surely same-sex marriage won’t impact on the validity and value of traditional marriage but only allow more people to participate in marriage, without discrimination.

If anything it is the average man and woman who are destroying the traditional value of marriage themselves. Many couples these days don’t commit for eternity, but rather ‘for as long as our love shall last’. It seems to me that it is the Janes and Johns of the world who are changing the institution of marriage.

According to an article published in the Washington Post by Counsellor Janis Abrahams-Spring, infidelity effects on average 1 in every 2.7 couples. This definitely has to undermine the value of the traditional marriage where you are supposedly signing up for ‘the exclusion of all others’.

Perhaps the existence of pre-nuptial agreements are breaking down the strength of traditional marriage. Is this contractual agreement just a way of preparing yourself for an easy-out clause because we probably won’t work out anyway?

Photo source: The Hoopla
Photo source: The Hoopla

Or are we just getting married to have a big party with our family and friends? According to Bride to Be magazine the average 2010 wedding in Australia cost $29,966.00 for the actual day. Plus, you should add another $7,194.00 for engagement rings and wedding bands and $7,105.00 for the honeymoon. Then throw some more coin in the amount of $4,031.00 for pre-wedding parties and it adds up to a grand total of $48,296.00.

The question I put to you is, ‘should it cost almost $50,000.00 to say “I do”?’ Surely that is setting newlyweds up for richer or for poorer, sooner rather than later.

It could be said that laying out so much money is taking the emphasis off the ‘love you until the end of time’ but mixing in a cup of ‘The dress better be Vera Wang’ with a dash of ‘canapés and cocktails on arrival’ following by ‘I can’t believe John Paul Young will be singing at our reception’.

Then following this, the Australia Bureau of Statistics says that a third of marriages end in divorce. So basically we drop $50,000.00 for a 1 in 3 chance at success.

I find it so intriguing and infuriating that we can kick up a stink because two boys who have been in a committed relationship for years want to formalise their union and get married but we don’t care if the institution of marriage itself is covered with a bucket full of contradiction-filled-confetti by those allowed to actually participate.

Surely the traditional marriage that everyone seems so intent on defending wouldn’t deny two lovers the chance to celebrate their legal union together in front of their family and friends, to show their neighbours, their community, their government that they have chosen each other for life (or ‘for as long as their love shall last’).love is love

Perhaps it is the married people in Australia that are changing the tradition of marriage with their big parties, lower commitment rates and divorces. Surely it is only fair that same-sex couples get a chance to drop $50,000.00 for a party and a 1 in 3 chance of happily ever after?