Before children, Andrea’s life was blissfully full. Fast forward 10 years and she became a shell of herself. It wasn’t until she started pilates again that she learned that being a ‘selfish mum’ was crucial to her self-preservation. Here’s her story.
Before children, my life was a blissful blur of brunches, Thursday night movies, sleep-ins and cocktails with girlfriends. My emotional cup was full; I was engaged and planning a wedding, falling pregnant, falling in love. My life was about me, my needs, and everything felt equal and in sync.
Fast forward a decade, and my body feels broken. Everything hurts and doesn’t look like it did in my twenties. I always feel tired; that each minute at home consists of never-ending cooking, cleaning, and negotiating with, at times, the most infuriatingly difficult humans on the planet. I’m sad that my career seems to have stalled now that my world revolves around the two people I have created. My husband works long hours, and we sometimes feel like flatmates as we try and determine who is getting the groceries this week and who can complete school pickups.
Everything I was doing was for my home, my family, my business. The emotional cup which was being topped up constantly before I was married was now a very neglected coffee-cup; a cold smearing of caffeine lying listlessly at the bottom of a ceramic mug. I didn’t feel awake, I didn’t feel alive, I didn’t feel like the mother, wife, or friend I should be.
After having my second baby three months prematurely, I was diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; when she was 5 years old. I thought it ridiculous that I had doctors and therapists diagnosing me with anxiety, depression and stress which I didn’t think I had. I just felt really flat, but I figured that maybe it was just a lack of sleep over the past few years. I would visit my counsellor regularly, and she often asked me what I like to do for fun; what hobby do I have, if I was home alone, what would I choose to do. She identified that I wasn’t investing anything into myself. I was being a martyr, thinking I could do everything for everyone, and nothing for myself. The more exhausted and burnt out I felt, the more I must have achieved that day for my family. Of course my 5 and 7 year old daughters would notice how sparkling the bathroom is; my husband will be impressed by how crisp the sheets feel; my boss will be over the moon with how quickly I completed our last tender application.
I really couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do that was just for me, except pilates (oh, and sleeping 8 hours straight). I started Googling pilates studios on the south-side of town; came up with a list of possibilities, looked at their timetables and prices, stressed over which one would be most convenient to drive to, which studio I could attend class after school drop off, or in the evening; etc etc. In the end, I gave up, thinking I didn’t have time to do this. Going to a pilates class was just another thing I had to try and fit into my life – fit around my family and work. I was too tired and I couldn’t be bothered.
The definition of insanity; persist with the same behaviour and expect a different result.
I became more exhausted and even sadder; I would bring my daughters home from school and curl up on the couch. Days off from work, I wouldn’t meet my friends for coffee; I would bunker down at home, feeling too overwhelmed to attempt anything productive. I struggled to find joy, to feel content, to smile. It was the persistence of my counsellor and husband to pursue my one pastime, in the hope that I would feel like myself again. I had to try and do just one thing; choose one activity that could be just for me. I remember how agonising it felt, reading through the membership and class pack options on a variety of websites; I came up with every excuse under the sun not to make an enquiry; I was time-poor, my family didn’t have enough money for me to spend on a membership, my daughters need their mum at home, my husband needs dinner on the table…
But life was getting really hard, really unhappy, and I had to change. I really did need to force myself to try something different.
So I eventually filled in the online form on the Rebalance website, because I was too afraid to even commit to the 28 Day Program and punch my credit card details in. That same day, I received a call from Anna Grant, the Studio Manager at Rebalance Underwood. Thinking back to that moment, almost a year ago, makes me want to cry. I was a shell of a person; I was hunched over sitting in the front seat of my car, waiting to pick up my children from school. Anna asked me about my life, if I was a mum, what I did for work; no hard sell, no pressure to sign up to a membership that would involve selling my soul. She was genuine, she wanted to know about me and how her studio could help me. I signed up for the 28 Day Program; it was cheap, short term, so not too much risk from my perspective. I had taken a step, hopefully in the right direction.
After one month at Rebalance Underwood, I found myself coming back to life. I was attending 5 to 6 classes each week, I loved all the instructors, I could see my body changing, my mind felt calmer, life at home felt a little easier. My next roadblock was what to do after the program; I wanted to continue, but the cost of a membership! Every reason not to spend the money on myself came back; my family needed that money, we could go on a holiday; I’m being selfish spending five hours a week in pilates classes, I should just be a home; I don’t really need these classes.
However, my family had seen the change in me, and encouraged me to continue. We would find a way to budget in a membership for me, my family would make sacrifices so that I could be fit and healthy, and in turn, be a better mum, wife and friend.
Did I feel selfish about the wonderful classes I got to attend, and the time I spent just on myself?
Did I feel guilty about leaving my girls at home while I went to a class?
Did I worry that my Rebalance membership might put pressure on my finances?
Yes, for I while I did.
But now I feel strong and excited about the transformation in my body.
Now I feel energised and confident.
Now I can do cartwheels and handstands in the backyard with my girls.
Now I’m a wife and mother who smiles at the end of the day, even if it’s been tough and I’m tired, because my emotional cup is getting a refill; each time I go to a class.
So selfishness and self-preservation; I feel that they go hand in hand. I was on a slippery slope, and it wasn’t until I was encouraged (okay, pushed into) making a decision to do something just for me, that I felt like myself again.
Rebalance Pilates and Yoga didn’t just provide me with a place to exercise; it provided me with an escape, a refuge, an oasis, a haven of safety, love and support. I don’t feel broken any more, I feel fit, happy and full.
Please, be selfish; come to a class with me!
Are you ready to put yourself first? Call or email us to find the right class and location for you. Joining the Rebalance Family means more than just a workout. We care about your wellbeing and have a supportive environment. We prioritise your wellbeing and provide a sanctuary for you to come and relax. Workout. But workout with purpose with us!
Written by Andrea Creighton – Underwood Sales Manager