Becoming Response-able

How I learnt that self-care and being responsible for my own life isn't selfish, it's sensible.

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I’ve learnt some tough lessons these past years that have taught me two life altering lessons: 

  1. The importance of self love (something I shamefully admit I previously scoffed at)
  2. Being responsible for myself – BEFORE anyone else. 

It’s the classic, “fit your own oxygen mask before fitting someone else’s” – because you can’t help them if you’re dead. 

It’s not selfish, it’s sensible!

Likewise, you can’t pour from an empty cup and my cup runneth empty for a long, long time. 

The pivotal point for me was when I became a mother. 

I’d wanted to be a mum for a really long time and was eventually blessed with a tiny human of my own who. Whilst being a raving lunatic (as I’m sure most two year olds are) he has also become my greatest teacher.  

I wanted to pour my soul into this tiny miracle, to provide him with everything he could every possibly want or need. My mistake? I forgot his number one need (and probably want besides boobie and burping) was a healthy human to provide his care. Someone who could show him what loves was by loving themselves enough to be able to love those around them freely and unconditionally too.

It wasn’t long after his arrival earth-side that it began feeling like I truly had poured my soul into him, and it was costing me dear in both my physical and mental health.

I mean logic would question how I was supposed to nourish his little body to develop and grow if all I was nourishing myself with was a big bar of chocolate once a day, a cup of cold coffee and a vitamin capsule – if I remembered.  But here’s the thing with running on empty, it has a tendency to make you irrational, dare I say it, even grumpy!

Friends and family would suggest I take some time out, have a bath, go for a walk on my own, “I can’t!” I’d snap, I’m a mum now, I have to put HIM first.

So there I was, running on empty, worse than empty, I was running on fumes and any little hillock on the road ahead would have been enough to bring me to a complete halt, an official break down.

Eventually grind to a halt I did, but luckily for me this act of stopping was enough arouse me from my exhausted mummy stupor as opposed to toss me off the cliff.

It was like a fog lifted, I realised I had it all back to front. I had to put ME first, above all else. I had to be responsible for me, it was no-one else’s responsibility. It. Wasn’t. Selfish……It was sensible.

I realised as if through ‘real eyes,’ since becoming a mum I had totally given my power away. I had gone from a confident woman who enjoyed cooking healthy nutritious meals, completing gruelling workouts and taking pride in my appearance to a woman who was a shell of her former self, who’d sit on the sofa eating beige freezer food in her maternity joggers, bingeing on Netflix, only showering on days when my husband was at home to look after the baby. 

I was a far cry from the kind of inspiring, energetic, uplifting mummy I wanted my son to see and be proud of.  

It was time for me to step back in to my power,  BE the woman, the mum I wanted to be. It was only me standing in my way, it had only ever been me.  

Step one was to buy some new pants. Pants that made me feel goooood when I slid them on in the morning (and off at night).

Step two: Purchase some perfume (something I used to wear all the time) and freshen up my makeup collection. 

Step three: Go to the hairdressers. Ok,  I’ll be honest, at the time this felt like a step too far for me. It was thanks to my husband buying me a gift voucher with a redeemable time limit on it that I went and thank God I did! It’s amazing how a hair cut and blow-dry can make you feel like a new woman!

As I started taking better care of myself, I started to feel better, lighter, more smiley, more like…me.

We didn’t have much money so updating my entire wardrobe to compliment my new ‘mummy figure’ wasn’t an option, nor was having a weekly massage or manicure, so I started seeking out ways I could practice ‘self care’ without costing the earth.

I did a clothes swap with some mummy friends, I began reading, taking daily walks in the countryside whilst listening to personal development and money mindset audio books, taking a luxury bath once a week with candles and Netflix on the laptop, I became a better mummy to my tiny human. More present, more energetic, more of the role model I wanted to be. 

I started planning the kind of life I wanted to create for us and so decided to start my own business which would give me both the time and financial freedom to spend the quality time I wanted with him and my husband. I revisited and explored my core values and decided to use these as my compass when making decisions in life. From now on, I wanted to live a life aligned with freedom and fun!

When I became responsible for my own health, my own wellbeing and ultimately, my own happiness, I became response ABLE. 

Almost over night I was in a much better position to adapt, to be flexible (which makes life infinitely easier with a toddler). I could respond to things that happened around me, things that perhaps seemed out of my control, I was ok when my day went ‘off piste.’ The day wasn’t ruined, all was not lost, we were merely having a different adventure to the one I’d envisaged and more often than not it ended up being infinitely more fulfilling and fun.   

When the penny dropped that I could control how I FELT and DEALT with what was going on around me, the game changed. 

I remembered who I was, I knew I could choose who I wanted to become. 

Suddenly I became resilient AF. I was super woman, in control of my own destiny, it was I and only I who was responsible for what I did, how I felt. No-one could make me feel angry or upset, only I could choose how I wanted to feel and I didn’t want those emotions to feature in my emotional vocabulary any more – at least certainly not as frequently as they had done. 

The sense of empowerment I felt was phenomenal. I’d go about my day singing MC Hammer’s “Can’t touch this” in my head as I visualised my future filled with travel, inspiring and empowering others and just generally having a whale of a time. 

It truly is a super power to know I am response able, especially in these unprecedented times. I choose my destiny, I choose to find the fun, I choose to be responsible for living my life to the best of my abilities, and beyond…

I am responsible. I am response able.

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