[Ad – this is a commissioned post. Contains affiliate links.] Mother; wife; blogger – it’s been a long time since I’ve thought of myself as just ‘Kate’. I’m not complaining – I love my life more today than I ever did prior to having my beautiful family. And yet… I do sometimes consider how little room there is in my life for anything else. But working on that is my project for this year, and I’m determined to be kinder to myself. Really, it’s about learning to be gentle with yourself, and remembering that you count too, isn’t it?
I don’t know about you, but for me it was the little things that for so long I went without. I stopped dying my hair due to a lack of time (actually that’s a poor example – I’m yet to rectify that!); I found myself wearing socks with holes in the heels before Dan would prompt me to replace them; I ignored ongoing pain in my foot until I could ignore it no longer.
It’s been a somewhat paradoxical existence, being treated like a queen by my husband, but a third rate citizen by myself.
The one concession being – of course – my daily cake fix to satisfy my sugar cravings, brought on by lack of sleep.
Go On – Spoil Yourself!
But denying yourself those small pleasures, whether by circumstance or because you stop allowing yourself to be important, can quickly add up to a pervasive feeling or dissatisfaction. Filling our own cup is so vital, and not finding the time for these small kindnesses to ourselves simply reinforces that inevitable byproduct of early parenthood: a feeling of being inconsequential. But we matter – both in our own right and because we can’t parent effectively when we’re not taking care of ourselves too.
Usually these types of posts are about how ‘there’s more to me than XYZ’, and ‘I need to make more time for myself and my hobbies’, etc. This is a little different because somehow, those things which are not supposed to define me, kind of do – and actually, I’m pretty content with that.
Yes, of course there’s more to my identity, but being everything to somebody else is kind of a big deal and is something I cherish, because they mean the world to me too.
I don’t resent the fact that my first priority, always, are my daughters; I’m not bitter that my husband comes a close second to my babies; and I do not feel aggrieved that the rest of my life revolves around my business. (When my husband reads this I know he’s going to query whether he is, in fact, in front of
my third baby the blog. Oops.)
See, before my life was filled with these precious, meaningful loves, it felt like something was missing. And they’ve all, in their own ways, ‘saved me’:
First my husband, at a time when I was vulnerable and unhappy, who gave me security and unconditional love. Then our daughters arrived and gave me a reason to turn my back on the negativity I’d carried for so long – I was and remain determined to give them a happy, positive upbringing.
And finally, my blog was born and took up every spare space left in my head, rescuing me from the tedium that seems so often to go hand in hand with PND. (I did suffer terribly with anxiety following Pixie’s birth, but the combination of the above factors has, for the most part, helped pull me through the other side.)
So this post is definitely not about bemoaning my lot. However, I definitely take less time over my appearance now – though I do still use make up daily. (Ain’t nobody needs to see those dark circles!)
The thing is, being a kind person is second nature – I try to be kind always, of course; I just haven’t always found the time for being good to myself.
But that’s begun to change…
Be Kind Always – Practising What I Preach
I made alternative new year’s resolutions, part of which was a pledge to be kinder to myself. It’s I promised to start painting my nails and wearing jewellery again; to allow myself to count.
I’ve been doing well, and as a reward for growing my business during the past year I replaced a lot of old, cheap clothes with some beautiful pieces in the sale after Christmas. I treated myself to items which I’d never be able to justify at full price, but which will make me feel a million dollars when the warmer weather arrives.
So when I was approached by Fashion World with the opportunity to collaborate, I really didn’t need much in the way of clothes.
So, in line with my new intentions to be good to myself, I opted instead for the little luxuries I never quite get around to treating myself to.
I selected a pair of pretty pyjamas – a couple of sizes too big so they’re extra cosy! And a set of Marc Jacobs miniature perfumes* I’ve long admired, but would never consider buying for myself.
Be Good to Yourself – Fill Your Cup
Luxurious pyjamas seem such an extravagance, considering they’re really only for me. And that’s precisely the point. They’re a lovely dusky pink colour, with a floral panel on the back of the top, and lace detailing around the ankles, and they make me feel nice!
The perfumes are gorgeously fresh and remind me of summer. There are two scents, each with a day and night version, so plenty of choice depending on what I’m doing.
And finally, I chose a beautiful, frivolous skirt, just because!
I can’t wait to wear this stunning skirt, which is even better in reality than the photos which don’t do it justice!
Ultimately, these are truly valuable life lessons to pass on to our children: how to be nice, how to be kind – but not only to those around us. We should be teaching our kids that it’s equally important to be gentle with yourself and be good to yourself too. So go on – have a treat, and know you can be proud of yourself for educating your kids whilst filling your cup.