Motherhood x 2: My Personal reflection
As mother’s day approaches, I wanted to share my own experience of becoming a mother of two, I would like to open up about my changing relationship with my own mum and navigating life whilst running a bustling small business during a pandemic.
When I fell pregnant with Siena, I promised myself that my maternity leave would look very different to my first born. Due to the pandemic in 2020, my first maternity leave lasted about two weeks before 18-months of uncertainty, hustling, pivoting, online workouts, pivoting some more, hours in front of the laptop and a complete lack of blissful coffee dates that most mother’s groups would be familiar with.
Fast forward to today… It is my 10th day coaching in a row, I have just finished pumping Siena’s dinner and sterilising my bottles (for the third time today). I have one staff member in isolation with COVID-19, one at home sick with a head cold and another recovering post-op from ACL surgery.
You could say life at the moment is a bit of a hot mess. But isn’t this where mum’s are at their best? We dig in, problem solve, multi-task and manage and somehow everything comes together in the end. I also acknowledge that this is just a snap shot in time that I will be able to look back upon with at a quieter time and say ‘yeah, I did that’.
Life as a mum of two and returning back to work
Hello chaos! There is something very beautiful in the craziness of raising kids. I love watching my two little ones interact and form a bond that will no doubt last a lifetime.
It was not my intention to return back to coaching while Siena was still so small. but after a month or so of searching for an exceptional strength coach and an influx in new members, I felt a tremendous sense of pressure to continue to steer 23W safely and fully back on course.
This experience really highlighted the importance of trusting my gut instinct. Before descending into complete overwhelm, I decided that I would prefer to wait for the right candidate than to hire out of hast. And just like that, an application found its way into my inbox from an experienced strength coach who was about to move to Melbourne.
Now that Tarlee is on deck and part of our team, I can re-focus more of my time and attention back on the growth and development of my coaches and moving 23W into our next exciting chapter. This also means I can step back into more mum-friendly hours and ensure that I’m also looking after my own health and wellbeing in the process.
My mumma bear
Over the last few years, there has been a heaviness hanging over my family. My mumma bear has Alzheimer’s disease and we are living through the pain and sadness of gradually losing the incredible woman we knew and loved.
Ooft… There are so many emotions about sharing this grief publicly with our community. For a long time, I did not think I was strong enough to share this openly without fear of breaking down. But I had an epiphany, that there shouldn’t be shame attached to caring for a declining loved one, or feeling sad, anger or a sense of loss. I am guilty of trying to put this difficult part of my life in a ‘box’, to ‘deal with later’. When in reality we all go through hard stuff, and there is huge comfort in knowing you are not alone.
I want to feel brave, strong and make my mum proud of me. A quote from Brene Brown seems fitting at this point:
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weaknesses.”
Every month, I am fortunate to be able to spend a weekend with my mum, watching her cuddle and kiss my kiddos and be there to look after her. These, sometimes, emotionally and physically draining weekends remind me to find joy in small moments in life, to live in the moment and the importance of a sense of humour.
Running a business
Pre-kids it was nothing for me to work an eight hour day teaching, five hours coaching and a few hours on my laptop at night. With two kids in tow, I acknowledge that, at the moment, I only have between 2-5 hours available to work per day while still being a primary caregiver. Knowing this has made me:
- Become a lot more time efficient. I am always evaluating my time available and where it is best spent (between coaching, working on the business, and day to day running of 23W).
- I have boundaries. When I am with my kids, I allow phone calls to go to voicemail and wait to answer messages and emails.
- Take full ownership. When I feel overwhelmed I remind myself that I am the CEO and in the position to make necessary changes.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge that running a business in the current climate post lockdowns is HARD.
Good staff are hard to find, people need flexibility due to sickness and travel plans and many businesses that have been shut have lost significant momentum and are trying to rebuild. I say this as a reminder for anyone who gets a take away coffee that did not quite meet expectations or have a cancelled appointment at local business because of being short staffed… before shooting off a bad google review or writing a heated email, be compassionate and acknowledge that we are all trying, just like everyone else, to get their sh** together.
Especially if that person is a mumma bear!
Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.
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