I distinctly remember one of the first mindsets I created when I became a mother was around the idea that now I had this little human in my life, that this was my life. I lived and breathed for her. Where I went, she went. What I did, she did.
They say hindsight is a wonderful thing and this is one of those wonderful hindsight moments where I almost cringe at myself for creating this mindset belief. And lucky for me, it didn’t last too long. Even working on changing that mindset created guilt, but I had to remind myself that just because I made time for myself, it didn’t mean I loved my daughter any less.
It starts in childhood
I’ve recently realised that this mindset was etched in my brain since I was a child. Anyone who is a mother today, would have seen their own mother, in most circumstances, give up their own personal needs, career ambitions and self care, for their children. My mother would always say to me, “make sure you live your life before you have children”.
I think that is why, I was that woman who could wait to have kids. I know my beautiful mum did not mean any ill from her comments but it has always stayed with me. And as I have seen my mother get older and her children leave the nest, I’ve seen her now devote her time to her grandchildren. This thrills and saddens me at the same time because I would love for her to reignite an old passion or find a new one for her own happiness.
There’s no denying motherhood is THE BIGGEST life changing event in a woman’s life.
Nothing prepares you for it!
The quick change to you physically, mentally and emotionally has a profound impact on us. The guilt we have in simply making time for ourselves is out of this world. And the lack of priority we give our own health and wellbeing is damaging. Of course, the greatest change is the indescribable love you have for your children. And I often think if us women could give ourselves one tenth of that love we would be looking after ourselves pretty damn well.
Look after yourself by finding your passion
One way I think women can look after themselves is by having a personal hobby or passion.
When you think of the word hobby, you don’t necessarily think of an adult. We normally think of the middle aged man who collects trains or has some crazy collection of antiques.
Kids have hobbies.
Adults generally do not and women most definitely do not. Time, money, care for our kids, support from our partners, prepping dinners, work, family and anything else you can think of are all reasons why we do not pursue personal hobbies.
Personally, I think the time that we should be pursuing our own hobbies or passions is when our kids are young. We make time to meet everyone else’s commitments so starting a routine for our own hobbies is a great way for it to become a long lasting habit well into our lives.
My passion: running
I am a runner and have progressed to marathon running over the last few years. I ran my first marathon before I had my daughter and the past three whilst raising my daughter who is now only 3 ½. I can tell you that the marathons I have run as a mother have been way more successful and fulfilling than the one I ran before I was a mum.
I was much more focused, structured with my training, routine driven and a lot more motivated. More than that, I felt accomplished, happier and so much more productive in all areas of my life because I was dedicated to nurturing my personal goals.
Last November, I ran the New York Marathon, the ultimate run for any runner. A dream come true and a dream that I could share with my young family, who were there cheering me on. It still brings me to tears thinking about that marathon and the elation I got from it. Post marathon, I was filled with such exhilaration that I thought to myself, this is a feeling of joy, pleasure and achievement that other women need to experience.
What’s your passion?
When I am coaching my clients, I talk to them about thinking of their hobby or pastime as their passion.
The word passion over hobby, invokes that feeling that it’s part of you. It is your lifestyle, your body and mind. It creates you and drives you. It is you. That’s what running is to me; it’s my life, my existence, my wellbeing, it is my passion…it is me!
So, what is your passion?
Here are some of my tips to help you find your passion.
Rewind the clock
What did you do as a child that you loved?
This is a great place to start because generally we have spent most of our childhood years doing something that we have loved, but as we reach adulthood we tend to give it up. This is particularly true for teenage girls, who usually give up their passions for social connections, image and peer pressures as they get older (Vic Health). By the time we have become adults, we think it’s impossible to go back to that hobby.
Think about your values
Knowing what is important to you is a great way to find out what you like to be doing.
For example, if being outdoors is something that you love doing, what hobby could you do that gets you outdoors? If you love being creative in some way, what could you do that nurtures your creative desires? You know even reading a book, can be a passion.
Try before you buy
If finding your hobby is difficult and you feel like you absolutely have no idea what you enjoy, then perhaps going on a trip of trying different activities is for you. There are a lot of free introduction sessions at gyms and studios as well as free activities within your community. Why not allocate some time in the week to try one. The best thing about finding your passion is having fun exploring what will excite you, so you can keep it going.
Giving yourself the time and ability to embed a new hobby is important, even if it’s just for 15 minutes initially. Start slow and start small. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make a huge change all at once. One of the greatest benefits of having a hobby is that it makes you feel good and you have fun. If it becomes a chore or something else that you feel guilty for not doing then you have lost the ability to call it a passion.
Give yourself permission
This is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome, especially for mothers. I learnt this first hand. But I can tell you that when you lean into the idea of having a personal passion, your wellbeing, health, social connections and mindset prospers. So, give yourself permission to find your passion.
Nurturing your body, mind and soul with a passion is a fundamental practice for positive wellbeing. I know that without my running I would not be the mother or woman I am today. Hobbies bring people together. You can make new friends, try new activities and most importantly, nurture the fun, happy side of life.
I’d love to hear when you #findyourpassion, contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Natalie Moore
Natalie is a Health and Wellness Coach on a mission to help women find their passion.
Natalie has a Find Your Passion course coming up in June. Click here to register your interest.