An honest and open account on the changes motherhood has brought to my personal life, my working life, my training and me as a person.
People told me before having my little one that it would ‘change my life forever‘ and my ‘life wouldn’t be the same again‘. It was those same people that had children themselves, of which were given the same words of wisdom by others before them.
Of course I knew that life wasn’t going to be the same. Because life wasn’t just going to be about me anymore. But at the same time, I didn’t know exactly what it would look like, or how it would feel. I knew that it would change our dynamics at home, my working structure, and it would alter how and when I could train but above all else, what I wasn’t expecting was how it has changed me as a person.
Our little man Mills is now 6 months old, and such a little dude already. “Little M” as I affectionately call him. He has a lot of nicknames already, but this is my fav simply because he is so teeny, smashing the charts in the mere 10th percentile! So yes, he is blessed to have inherited both our short @rse genes which almost guarantees he’ll be that small fella in the front row of school photos. He’ll be the little whippet on the football oval running all day long, and I have no doubt riding bikes before his feet can even touch the pedals! But what he lacks in size I know will be made up in every other way.
He’s already started to show his own little personality. He doesn’t like sitting still for long (I can thank myself for that one!), yet has the most relaxed chilled out nature – which has made my ‘job‘ as a mum very easy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a baby and will cry when he wants something or is uncomfortable, has his nights when he wants to party, and doesn’t go to bed before 9pm. But in the most part, he’s smiley, happy, and loves cuddles from everyone and anyone. He hangs to get outside each day and is fascinated by trees. It’s amazing how such a tiny little human can already be moulding into his own little person.
ANYWAY – back on track! But at least you can now get a picture of our special little dude. 🙂
Before Little M arrived into our lives, we had a pretty relaxed, organised, yet carefree life. We both trained when we wanted (my partner is a cyclist), we could head away for the weekend without much planning, we could ride our bikes all day long if we chose. We could stay up late, and wake up whenever our bodies woke. There was no timeline apart from the one we set ourselves. Fast forward to today and we’re learning to live with and work around the needs of a small human that is 100% dependent on you, so all of that has changed – but certainly not for the worst! 🙂
How have things changed?
My Working Life
I decided early on in my pregnancy that I didn’t want to have much time off work. I love my job and what I can offer people and I love the satisfaction it provides me. I didn’t want to be away from that for very long. As much as others tried to advise me to take more time off, it only took a couple of months for me and I was already jumping out of my skin to get back into the coaching scene.
So I’ve been back coaching since December, gradually taking athletes back on board each month based on how I feel I can manage my time and still provide the support my athletes expect and deserve. But it does look totally different than before bubs. Pre Mills I would plan out my week day by day (heck, nearly hour by hour), I would set times that I would complete certain tasks and know when I was doing what. I could meet up with athletes on a whim, and run training sessions without too much thought.
But today, that simply isn’t possible. I still write lists on what I want/need to achieve for the week, but the hourly planning has gone out the window. And it is more of a challenge to meet for training sessions. I have to be far more flexible, yet also very organised. As much as Little M is in a routine, that routine isn’t set in stone. He doesn’t know what time it is, when I ‘m on a time line or that I have to finish writing a program for an athlete. And to make it even more challenging, he hasn’t taken to enjoying milk from a bottle, so I’m literally his lifeline, his milkbar on call whenever he says so! (guys really do get it easier in all aspects don’t they!) 😉
There have been days when he’s been unsettled and I haven’t been able to get any work done, but then others when I’ve been able to knock out a solid 7 hours. There will be times that I get up and work early in the morning when he’s still sleeping or at night when my partner is home. So as much as I feel like my days aren’t as effective as they once were, I’m definitely far more efficient with the time that I do spend working.
I’m loving the challenge of balancing work, life and bubs and on the most part – I feel I have a great balance. And I feel like it is working well for me and most importantly for my athletes.
And on my athletes – I totally appreciate the support I have from each of them. There have been times that I’ve had to reschedule a phone chat, or an email has taken a day longer to respond to. So I appreciate their understanding that that is the life of a working mum, but it certainly doesn’t mean that their training, racing and performance is any less important to me than before. Quite opposite actually. I could so easily just not work. To take 12months off like many working mums do, to enjoy the precious moments with my attention spent on him wholly. But that’s not me. I am grateful that I can combine the love of my son, with the love of my work together. And I’ve loved taking Little M down to the local races to watch my athletes our on course. It’s such a special feeling and something that I intend to continue to share.
My Training Life
I love training. I love it just as much as I do racing. I honestly feel like I was born to push and test my body, because it’s when I feel at my best. 6 months postpartum and I’ve managed to race a handful of races already including some crit racing and a local triathlon. I was (and still are) far from being my fittest or strongest – but who said you have to be ready to race? (read my last blog on that here.) I’m lucky/blessed – however you like to term it, that from around 3months old, out little man has slept through the night. Giving me a solid 7-9hours of sleep a night. (I have chosen to forget about the horrible 2 weeks when he was 4months old and he reverted back to waking every 2 hours!) So lack of sleep is not the issue for me in being able to train.
The two (maybe three) driving factors for me that is keeping my training volume low is my shift in priorities (right now it’s about him not me), his lack of interest in taking a bottle means i’m on call whenever he says so! And co-ordinating training with my fiance. (think that is the first time I’ve actually written fiance!) 🙂 And I am totally AOK with all of them. Right now, I am more than happy to be the role of mother, providing love and support at home so the two most important men in my life can be their happiest, healthiest selves. Saying that out loud makes my heart explode with so much love and that truly is what makes me happy right now. If I wanted to train hard, I most certainly could, and I would find a way to do it. But I don’t want to, and I don’t feel the pressure or need to either.
Don’t get me wrong though, I still make time for myself and exercise every day – as I believe that is important for every person, not just new mums. But that’s exactly what it is for me – exercise. Doing what makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. Sometimes that’s simply getting outside for a long walk and doing some strength training, other times it’s runs and rides, or a combination of both. But no matter what it is, I just do what my body feels like it needs, and it is paying me back by providing a healthy milk supply for my little man and a strong body to enable me to race whenever I choose to, even without training specifically.
Earlier this month I heard and read about the heart wrenching story of a well known female figure in our sport who lost her baby girl at birth. They say that when you have children you are affected so much more by tragic stories such as this. And my god this is true. When I heard the news I was absolutely devastated for her, and the many mothers before her and after her that have and will have to endure that sort of heartache. A couple of weeks later she started to blog about her experience – not necessarily to share with others, but to help her on her journey to recovery. They are raw, devastatingly honest and emotionally heart-wrenching. Reading her blogs stabbed me in the heart and hit me so hard that I truly did not expect and it took me off guard. After reading the blogs I didn’t want to leave my little boy alone. I didn’t want him out of my sight, I just wanted to cuddle him all day long, not letting him out of my sight for a moment. I thought that if he was with me, nothing could happen to him, that I’d be able to control what we did and when and he would be safe. I planted so many kisses all over his body that I’m sure if he could talk, he would say ‘mum – stop kissing me!‘.
It took a couple of days for this feeling to lift as I realised that I couldn’t be his saviour, I simply had to be his mum. To love him and protect him and help him learn and navigate this world in his own way – and eventually on his own. And it was then that I realised how much being a mum had changed me.
I was someone who always needed to control things in my life. I didn’t like surprises, I liked planning and organising, I’d take my time in making decisions. I didn’t do things spur of the moment. But looking back, since becoming a mum, I realise that motherhood has actually changed that part of me. I’m more relaxed and carefree and happy to go with the flow. Things that spring up or surprise me don’t bother me, I simply deal with it and move on. Because who has the time to worry about what could have been, should have been, or might have been? I certainly don’t anymore.
And I have far more patience. My dad even commented on this, saying how proud it made him to me see me as a mum. He also said it changed me – but in a good way. He said that he can see it has relaxed me, slowed me down and I now don’t get frustrated when I feel like others ‘couldn’t keep up’ with me. (not literally, but figuratively) And without even realising it, it had. And I love it.
People say that motherhood is stressful, but my experience so far has been the opposite. It has calmed me. It has allowed me to simply accept what the day brings. I love the mess my little man makes when learning to eat food, even if I had just changed him into clean clothes. Instead of getting frustrated when he cries or won’t stop grizzling, I try and understand what it is he is trying to tell me. I don’t stress about what time he wakes up in the morning, sometimes it’s 6am, other times 8.00am. Because either is fine. I don’t worry if he sleeps for 3 hours in the afternoon, even if the guidelines say he shouldn’t be… And I let him tell me when he’s hungry, I don’t go by a clock. I wonder at times if I may be a little too relaxed (is that possible?!) but I certainly don’t feel guilty by that at all. Because this is my experience as a working mum and it’s working for me and my family, and that’s all that matters.
Here’s to the next few months of changes, challenges and learnings and plenty more awesome improvements, performances and breakthroughs from my athletes! 🙂
Complete Per4mance Coaching was born out of the desire and passion to not just coach but to educate athletes of all levels to help them achieve their optimal performance while maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy life.
Every athlete is individual, therefore I provide programs written and designed specifically based on each athletes goals, time commitment, training level and ‘life’ in general. Delivered through training peaks, each athlete receives a truly personal coaching service dedicated to improving YOUR results, while providing a pricing structure that helps allow every athlete receive the coaching that they deserve.
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