As a Mum, I feel like I’m under constant scrutiny. It’s not just the external criticism about how I’m doing as a mum that comes up from a random at the park or from a supposedly well-meaning relative, but there’s also the pressure I (and most mums) have faced to return to normal after the baby is born. A few times, I’ve even heard “You’ve really let yourself go” from a judgmental friend or relative. Truth be told, they’re right. I have let myself go. I’ve stopped trying to be the old me and have accepted the new (and improved) me. Because here’s the thing: Letting myself go doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact it can be a compliment, at least that’s how I’m taking it. If letting myself go means not worrying so much about pleasing other people and confidently prioritizing my time and resources then yes, I’ve let myself go. Here’s how:
I’m not as skinny as I used to be. Before I had kids, I had the time to spend more time at the gym. Sometimes, I’d even work out twice in one day. I had more time to focus on what I was eating and now I sometimes have to grab what’s nearby. I never want to be unhealthy, but I’m also choosing not to obsess about my weight. Two children have come out of my stomach. It’s okay if it’s no longer flat.
I’m more forgetful. More to remember means more to forget. But I don’t forget what’s important –my kids. Hopefully they’ll always remember that.
I’m not as up on pop culture. The pre-mom me could spend hours cruising through magazines or keeping up to date with everything online. While I still have the same amount of time in my day as before, it’s used much differently. I’m fine with that. I don’t really need to know whether or not Kim Kardashian broke the Internet.
I’m not as fashionable. I don’t have less interest in fashion, but I do have less time to have the perfect outfit or to jump on the newest trend. I don’t want to look like a fashion don’t, but as long as I like the way I look it doesn’t have to be totally new.
I don’t always do my hair or wear make-up. I try to look clean and presentable, even if I’m just driving through carpool at school, but I don’t want to spend my time on my hair or putting make-up on. I’m fine with leaving the house au natural.
I never finish my book. I swear I’ve been reading the same book for a year. Prior to having kids, I’d read a book a week. The only books I’m reading regularly now have pictures and first-grade words inside.
I almost never talk on the phone. I want to see my friends, not spend time catching up on the phone. When I’m not with my kids, I’m working or taking care of family business. Or, I’m seeing valued friends. I don’t to waste those precious moments on the phone.
So the next time someone tells you you’ve let yourself go since becoming a mum you can reply by saying, “Thank you.” As long as you’re happy with how you’re spending your time, it doesn’t matter if anyone else is. Being a good person and a being a good mum is far more important than having good hair. So let yourself go!