My motherhood journey has been intense. I had issues in both pregnancies (contractions from 16 weeks with my first and paralysis with my second), I had severe Post Natal Depression (PND) with both, which is mainly attributed to the situation I was in. I first left their dad when my daughters were 9months old and 2 years old and we lived in a garage for a while. My eldest remembers more of that time that I thought she would.
It’s had a significant impact on how I parent. I spent a large portion of their early years protecting them from their father, fighting for their rights and safety, as well as getting them all the help they needed to ensure they didn’t continue to suffer with their disabilities their whole lives, despite being told that they would always be behind their peers.
Because of what we have been through I learnt a lot about psychology, neuroplasticity, nutrition, health and safety. I had to do all the research on what was best for my kids as there wasn’t much help or advice available when I needed it. Also, I knew that just because we had lived through what we did, it didn’t mean we had to remain stuck in the vicious cycle of nightmares, triggers, them being behind in school, struggling etc.
Also, I am extremely honest with my daughters and will answer anything they ask honestly and age appropriately, even if it hurts me to discuss it (as is the case with some of the abuse aspects, both their memories and mine). Their friends often ask me questions now too as they know they will get a straight answer.
I focused on where I wanted to be and took action every day to get there. I have a 10 steps to success with goals article on my site that outlines what I do.
I practiced gratitude daily and looked for the opportunity or lesson in every experience, even the horrendous ones such as when I was robbed of everything including my underwear a week after leaving the family home because of the abuse. I wrote down 3 things every night to be grateful for and practice gratitude in all I do.
I looked for opportunities everywhere, focused on volunteering and helping others at the same time as looking for other income streams.
In 2014, I founded a company, bought more sites and everything sky rocketed. This past year I have scaled back and will be taking a significant change of direction next year.
While I had always made time for my kids, I knew I was pushing myself past my limits and my body decided it had to stop me. It took over 7 months for me to get better.
Because of that, I am a huge advocate for managing my time better and blending my life instead of trying to balance and cram everything in.
I set specific work hours and outsource a lot. We have had a housekeeper or au pair at times, a regular cleaner, VA’s and other contract workers for my business etc. I have also taught my kids to do everything including cleaning the toilet so they are capable of pitching in and are expected to.
10pm at night my phone goes onto do not disturb and isn’t switched back on until the next morning.
Every week we have a day off where we do things as a family, usually Saturday.
I make sure my partner and I get to go on regular dates.
I make sure we have one on one time too. When I was single, each daughter had their own night with me where they got to stay up later than their sister and do things like paint our nails etc while they talked. We do this differently now, but they each still get one on one time.
Time is more important to me than money and I am extremely protective of my family life, how my time is spent and what I will or won’t do. If whatever I have been asked to do or be involved in isn’t a “Hell YES!” then it’s a “Hell NO!”, now.
Listen to your intuition. Too often we dismiss it and end up regretting it later. While others may pass you off as overreacting, push for whatever it is you feel.
So many times in my life I didn’t speak up. I got married young despite it not feeling right. I stayed in that marriage too long. I ended up homeless and had issues because I didn’t listen to my instincts. My daughters could have had help and treatment for their learning disorders much earlier if I went on my gut instinct.
Now, I always speak up and trust myself, even when others disagree. Every time I have done this, especially when it has involved my daughters, I have been right.