As we celebrate world Women’s Day, I feel it's a perfect time to honour all the women who are mothers, becoming mothers, or maybe even grandmothers! Those who are full-time mums, I salute you. And those who work whilst raising their families, I salute you too!
For my part, I am a mum of 3 young kids and I launched KeriKit 5 years ago while on maternity leave with my twins, making me both a mother, a designer and a business woman.
Things change every year, and quickly, but I still do find it frustrating that the lifestyle of women in the workplace, especially mothers, hasn’t quite moved on at the same speed as laptops, phones, fashion and style!
When I launched Kerikit, I felt disappointed that the career I spent so long building up wasn’t going to be feasible for various reasons. I had been working at TK Maxx for five years as a Senior Buyer and I truly loved every minute, but unfortunately when they discovered I was having children, things changed quite dramatically and I soon realised there was no way I could have a career with them and watch my kids grow up as well.
Sadly, this is a decision too many mothers have to make. It’s a crushing feeling, having to make a choice between being a mother and having a career.
When you decide to have a baby, there are so many thoughts that go through your mind. For me, I worried about whether I would be a good mother...would the kids prefer my husband more than me? Because, let’s face it, I think he’s quite the catch and I can be a bit too strict / boring! I wondered if I would still be able to work and have my own financial independence.
At that time, working as a fashion buyer, I was forever adding to my collection and enjoyed being up to date with the latest trends. Would I lose my identity completely and just be known as Jasper’s mum? Would I get fat with stretch-marks? How would my body look after I gave birth? Would my husband still love me and would I still love myself with saggy boobs, wider hips, and a crepe belly?
Priorities change all the time and the things that you cared about before having your baby often fade into insignificance afterwards. But then there are other things that become even more important than ever as you try to cling onto the old you in as many ways as you can.
I feel, as a parent, you can spend so much of your time worrying about whether you’re doing it right. Are your children happy? Do you spend enough time with them? Do you spend enough time with yourself? Will they thank you in the future for sending them to nursery or are you the worst parents in the world for not responding to their every beck and call?
Does popping them in the creche to go to the gym make you a bad mother? Or does that hour to yourself make you a better mum? I truly believe making time for me helped greatly in being a better version of myself.
As women, we really are expected to do it all and many of these actions are self-induced by our inner voice! Okay, so we may need to have food on the table, go to work or stay at home raising a family, but we also want to work on being the best version of ourselves in terms of fitness and youthful looks, while being the perfect wife and friend. It’s just not possible to be flawless all the time. Quite frankly, if you have managed to always have it all together, well done to you! Please tell the rest of us, how do you do it?!
Sure, if I didn’t work, had a nanny and oodles of money, and only one child, life could be easier. But that's not the case. The reality is, despite your situation, you need to realise how great you’re doing when you’re knee deep in washing, with three kids and a business to run and food still needs to get on the table.
You need to pat yourself on the back for getting through the day without a drink. Praise yourself for the little things like getting the homework in on time or being there when they scrape a knee. If, for some reason, you’re not there, you need to learn to not beat yourself up because you have prioritised what is important. If that means you need to work, then great. You’re amazing for doing it. If you decide to stay at home and bring the children up, you’re amazing because that’s one of the hardest jobs on Earth!
What I’m trying to say is that whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, if you’re a mum, I guarantee you are doing great! If you hate the fact I’ve made that statement because you don’t feel that you are doing so well, then please get help because it’s a really hard job to bring up your children. If ever you feel alone, please know there are people out there that can help you, including support groups and amazing online communities for mothers all over the country.
Motherhood is unique to each person and each pregnancy is different too. Woman to woman, know that you are an amazing human being! Cut yourself some slack, pat yourself on the back and know that you’re raising your children to be the best they could ever be.
Never feel like you don’t have choices. You cannot control what’s happening around you but you have complete control of what happens inside you. Ignore that Negative Nelly inner voice, telling you that you are not good enough or a failure. Realise that you are truly fabulous.
It’s taken me quite some time to quieten my inner critic and realise that I shouldn’t feel guilty for putting myself first. I know it seems selfish going to yoga or heading to the gym, or taking a walk, a run or just an hour to yourself to read a book or a magazine. Often, your inner voice starts chastising you, making you feel terrible for taking that time just to be with yourself. However, from my own experience, Yoga, meditation and books such as the "Monkey Paradox," in particular, are healpful! I am learning to lean in more to my true self. I speak more positively and use daily affirmations such as: "I am doing my best," "I am a good mother," "I am strong" and "I am loved," to name but a few. I went as far as getting a tattoo on my foot with the words "Love, Gratitude, Kindness and Light" as a daily reminder.
I can honestly say, having spent the last few years working, I feel more like myself than ever before. Giving myself time to reflect not only makes me feel better about me but it makes me a better mother and better at business too.
I make time for Yoga most days and I feel positive, fierce and ready to take on the world and share my life, my journey and my designs.
Happy women’s day to you all. May we know them, may we be them and may we raise them to love themselves and breathe fire!