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I was only 16 months old when I became a big sister for the first time - and that’s the role I played, and continue to play, although instead of being a big sister to my 5 siblings, I’m now the mother to 4 children, (and in the process of un-mothering my husband).
You see, I was a good girl - I excelled in school, sport and helping at home. I graduated from university top of my class, played netball in inter-university exchanges and was headhunted for a graduate job. But all I really wanted was a husband, and to be a mother.
I got my wish. We were engaged 2 months after exams, and married 3 months later. Six months later we conceived our first child. It was all I’d ever wanted - I thrived. After all, I’d been training and preparing for this my whole life!
Every day I made hearty porridge for breakfast, whipped up delicious healthy lunches, and served hot wholefood dinners every night for my hard-working husband. I cleaned, gardened, baked, shopped, organised play dates.
At one music dance class, I was talking to a childs grandmother, and expressing how I wanted a bigfamily, but that my husband wasn’t so keen, she leant forwards, and spoke these words softly to me“make it look easy, hun, make it easy for your husband and he’ll agree to more”. These wordsstuck with me, and confirmed all the things I was already doing, making it look easy to those aroundme.
I desperately wanted another baby, and as soon as my cycle arrived (we had to go to the doctors because my cycle did not arrive, which I now know was postpartum hypothyroidism, from the pressure of keeping it all “good”) eventually we were blessed with another pregnancy.
I glowed throughout, and achieved my dream hypno birth. The day after the birth I was down at the cowshed - toddler in tow, newborn on my chest talking about farming. I put even more effort into being a ‘good wife’. A ‘good mother’. I kept the cake tins full, took my children to Playcentre, used cloth nappies, supplied heuristic wooden open-ended toys and attended infant classes (even on the days I didn’t really want to).
I was thrown into motherhood - like never before. Drenched in toddler taming and newbornnappies, mountains of washing, still cooking three meals a day for a husband who worked 7 days aweek on the farm. Juggling the daily challenge of bathing the kids, keeping the meal cooking andlaying the table for dinner. Dinner I never got to sit down and eat with my husband. He would sit andeat while I was constantly up and down resettling the toddler and feeding our newborn to sleep.
I was exhausted! Must be more energetic.
Maybe if I just ate healthier, drank more green smoothies, and meditated I’d have more energy. I went on a ‘clean’ eating diet. The smoothies made me gag, but I forced them down - I was determined to be the fit, thin, energetic young wife. Good girl, good mother, good wife.
I tried to join the 5am club. I thought I’d be more energised and happier for the rest of the day. But inreality, every time I got out of the bed - my baby, who slept beside me, woke up too. I realised that my sleep was important, but also the sleep of my baby. I was listening to advice from those who were not in the early years of motherhood. The 5am club was not what I needed at that time.
Steeped in conditioning from my childhood - where women take care of the family and keep house and never complain, and men take care of the farm - I had no way of setting boundaries. I had nothing to show for my gruelling, exhausting, busy days - the house was in the same state at the end of each day when my husband came home that it was in the morning. The children were in bed - I had no proof of the physical and emotional toll that my day had been.
I had no spare energy to exercise. I had no hobbies. I remember thinking - what would I even do if Ihad an afternoon off? I didn't know. And then we conceived our third baby. I don’t even know how my body was in a state to conceive a baby - or how I had the energy to make love.
I birthed our son at home, and so now I was a mother to 3 in 3 years. With no support. Three hours away from my parents, and our closest town an hour’s drive away. I look back on photos from that time and see a girl who’s too thin, gaunt, her holey clothes hanging off her.
Now that I knew my hormones were the reason I had varying energy levels, finally I hadpermission to have low energy, I had permission to rest!!
I immediately brought multiple copies of the book and gave them to the nearest and dearest womenin my life. I highlighted passages! I gave it to my husband to read - so he knew too.
I knew that this was it - this knowledge was what I wanted to share with women!
I studied with the best menstrual coaches, read everything I could, and I fell pregnant with my 4thbaby. I learned all about the menstrual cycle (which is more than just hormones) and also discoveredthat pregnancy has a cycle all of its own, with phases similar to those in the menstrual cycle - butlonger and more intense.
❄️ The Crone. 🌱 The Maiden. 🌞 The Mother. 🍁 The Wild Wise Woman
We are all of these Women. Each one takes a turn being the leader - depending where in our cycle we are.So now - instead of trying to be ALL of myself ALL the time - I’m aware of what my hormone levels are doing, and where I am in the 28 day cycle that women run on, and I let myself run my week accordingly.
I can still have days where I bake a batch of muffins, whip up a cake, do 3 loads of washing, play a game with the kids and prepare dinner - all before lunchtime! I just do it on the weeks I have the energy.
And other times I snuggle in bed, meditate, stay home, watch movies, turn down invitations, and rest.
And - here’s the kicker - I’m still good enough wife, and a good enough mother!
Better in fact, because I’m at peace with that andI accept myself and respect and embrace the cyclicnature of my energy levels. It’s simple biology.
I don’t want you to look back at these years and see a girl who’s too thin, gaunt, exhausted, like I did. Iwant you to look back at the years of your young family and feel proud that you created boundaries,that you knew yourself and embraced all 4 versions of yourself.
To help busy Mums know the ebb and flow of their hormones, so they can better understand their emotions and create more ease in their lives.
To help busy Mums tune in to their cycle so they can understand it, notice the patterns and eventually love it. I give Mums permission to let go of being the ‘good’ girls/mothers/wives all the time, to be fully themselves all cycle long.
To break the bias of the ‘good mother’ by encouraging busy Mums to tunein to their cycle and embrace all 4 versions of themselves, not just the good shiny version. Join the movement of Mums modelling the way to loving their cycles, so we can break the bias of the good girl persona in our daughters!
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