You can’t pour from an empty cup
1 Week Well-being Challenge

Do you have little ones? A baby/toddler/pre-schooler? Perhaps you’re a first time mum with a new baby? Do you find the whole ‘motherhood thing’ a doddle or do you struggle with the middle of the night feeds, the toddler tantrums or the constant need to entertain your offspring? Do you have a supportive network of friends and family around you or has motherhood left you feeling isolated and lonely?

How do you feel emotionally? Has becoming a mother ‘completed you’ as a person and given you a much needed sense of purpose? Or has it not quite lived up to expectations and left you feeling a bit empty? What about your body, how do you feel about that? Has it pinged back into shape after giving birth or have you been left with some stubborn wobbly bits that will not shift? Are you a working mum trying to juggle a million balls at the same time or perhaps you’re a ‘stay at home mum’ who has chosen to give up on a career for a while in order to concentrate on family?

There are no right or wrong answers to any of the above questions. Being a mum is a complex journey that has it’s ups and downs, peaks and troughs, times of elation and pride and emptiness and despair. Sometimes you can get a bit ‘lost’ on that journey and forget who YOU are. Yes, you love and cherish your offspring and would (and do) do anything for them but you are still entitled to be YOU, not just ‘mum’! Every mum will experience a different and unique journey but there is one thing that we all have in common….we HAVE to look after ourselves and keep ourselves fit and well in order to care for the little people we’ve brought into this world. If we don’t work properly, the entire operation starts to fall apart – “you can’t pour from an empty cup…”

I’m a mum. I have a 19 month old baby girl called Eleanor (plus two fur babies called Murph and Winnie, a Collie and a Greyhound!). I’m also a Tribal Chief, a wife, a part time office worker and a student. I struggle a lot of the time.

There, I said it!

I struggle with the never-ending demands that go with being a working mum; the expectations I place on myself, and the expectations my family and society place on me to be everything that my little girl needs me to be. I even struggle with the fact that I struggle…after all, I have my health, I have a wonderful, supportive partner and Eleanor was very much planned; I chose to bring this little person into the world; we’re blessed that everything went smoothly and we have a healthy, thriving little girl.

So, what is my problem? Why do I feel the constant need to bleat on about motherhood and how hard it is? Why can’t I just do as generation after generation has done before me and just ‘get on with it’?

I’ll tell you why: because being a mum, no matter what your circumstances, is the hardest AND also the most important job in the entire world! And I believe it’s getting harder.

With many women being put under pressure – be that, external, financial or self imposed pressure – to do EVERYTHING, be EVERYTHING, all at once. Lots of us are living at break neck speed to fit everything in every single day: provide time for our children, go to work, cook meals, do the shopping, clean the house, keep up with social media, be there for our friends and family, maintain some semblance of a sex life(!!!)….the demands are endless.

But what about YOU? What do you do for YOU? How’s your diet? Do you get enough exercise? How’s your alcohol intake? Do you get enough sleep? Do you ever get time to relax? When do you see your friends?

I guarantee that when the demands are at their peak, the first thing that is sacrificed is YOU! “I won’t bother going for that run as little Jonny needs to be taken to football practice”; “I won’t bother with a proper lunch today, I’ll just grab a quick bar of chocolate for energy between breastfeeding my baby, hoovering the house, stacking the dish washer, taking the dog for a walk, doing the laundry, cooking the dinner….”; “I was planning to meet a friend for a drink after work this evening but my partner has to work late so instead I’ll collect the kids from the childminder, do all of the necessary jobs around the house and then just collapse into bed at 9pm exhausted”….do any of these scenarios sounds remotely familiar??

So what exactly is my point and am I ever going to get to it?

I’m going to set myself a challenge and I want YOU to do it with me. For ONE week starting this Monday, I’m going to do just ONE thing each day for myself and my physical and/or emotional well-being and I want YOU to do the same. I’m not going to neglect my responsibilities but I am going to actively invest a part of each day to ME. This “well-being time” could be something as simple as sitting down with a cup of tea and reading a book for 30 minutes (and actually concentrating on the book rather than thinking about the washing up waiting for you!) or perhaps taking yourself off for a swim/run/Tribal Bootcamp or meeting up with a friend for a glass of wine. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, it just has to be about YOU. Something that makes YOU feel good.

Will you accept the challenge?

On Monday I will kick this off, and I REALLY want to hear what you have done for YOU!

Chief Victoria xx