Now that I am old enough and wise (ish) enough to to look back I can see very clearly that there have been many different versions of me.
I have been a goth/skater /punk teenager full of rage and rebellion, so head strong and sure I knew it all.
I have been through an abusive relationship which wore me down a little bit each day till I didn’t even recognise myself.
I have been a successful confident career woman, able to command a room full of people, headhunted for jobs, heading up the career ladder.
I have been an earth mother, co-sleeping, baby wearing, gentle parenting, extended breast feeding, with an all encompassing love for my little girls.
I have been the mum coming back to work with only half her brain working, feeling old and overweight and grumpy and like I just can’t get back to grips with the real world.
I have been the hideous shouty sweary mother, angry with everyone because I just don’t have any time to do anything for myself.
I have lost all my confidence in my abilities, in my parenting skills, in my looks, in myself.
I have come out the other side and now I’m working on becoming the best version of me.
Where to start? When you are feeling crap about yourself there are usually a few different reasons and when you add them all together it seems like an impossible job to get out of your slump. I am the queen of making excuses for why I CAN’T do things. Or at least I used to be but now I am teaching myself to break the big problems down into little problems and attack it a bit at a time.
The first problem I had was my appearance. I put on a lot of weight during my two pregnancies and soon ended up four stone over weight. Now just to be clear i’m not suggesting that everyone needs to lose weight to be happy. I am saying that for me to feel confident I needed to feel a bit more like my pre-children self and my pre-children self weighed 10 stone not 14 stone.
I know a girl who might be considered ‘big’ maybe a size 16, she is one of the most beautiful and sexy women I know and the reason for that is because she is confident. She loves herself just the way she is, this confidence shines out of every pore and trust me when I say I have seen men stop in the street, because she is just WOW!
For me to feel confident about myself I needed to lose some weight but I always made excuses. ‘I have to cook for my partner and my kids and I can’t just give them salads.’ or ‘I barely have time to eat, let alone eat healthily, i just have to shove whatever I can in my mouth and go!’
One day when i was really feeling fed up I decided to try Weight Watchers and I have never looked back, their points system and the way I can do it all through an app on my phone really worked for me. I never found it that hard and the weight really did come off. I now still use it to try and maintain my weight.
Exercise has always been my enemy. I was the kid at school cradling their inhaler and walking at the back of the cross country, I was the one constantly trying to forge letters from my parents about why I couldn’t do P.E. If you told me 4 months ago that i would start running and not only enjoy it but actually look forward to doing it I would have laughed in your face!
Inspired by one of my mum friends I downloaded the BBC Couch to 5K app (you can download it for free by clicking here). I thought i’d give it a try and would you believe it I absolutely love it. You can run anywhere and you only need to do 20 mins at a time so there really is absolutely no excuse to not give it a go. I can’t believe how my fitness has improved but more importantly I can’t believe how it has made me feel about myself. That 20 mins on my own out in the park really clears my head and when I look in the mirror I feel proud of what i’m achieving. It actually isn’t about weight loss it’s about a whole shift in my attitude towards myself.
Another huge problem I had was my clothing, I had spent so long wearing clothes that hid my mum tum and were good for breastfeeding i’d completely lost any sense of fashion. Not to mention the fact that I was totally skint and I was under the impression that I needed a whole new wardrobe.
Let me tell you, you don’t need a whole new wardrobe and you don’t need to spend loads of money to boost your confidence. What you need is some new inspiration. Stop looking at skinny models in ridiculously priced clothes in glossy magazines and lets get real!
Instagram is literally my life saver when it comes to style. Get on there, find some women your age, your size and whose style you like and start following them. You will soon start to see that these ‘real’ women are looking absolutely amazing and they are wearing high street. My insta-friends regularly inspire me to take something from the back of my wardrobe and try wearing it another way. They also show me how something as simple as a great pair of earrings or some eye catching shoes can update an outfit that you previously thought was old and boring.
I’ve always wanted to have my own blog, but i told myself i didn’t have time, i didn’t have the technical skills and who would care about what i have to say anyway? A few weeks ago I just decided to go ahead and teach myself WordPress and get on with it. I would never have had the confidence to do it before but i’ve had great feedback which builds my confidence more every day. If there is something you really want to do but you keep telling yourself you can’t, try instead to think of one tiny step you could take towards your goal and then just go and do it!
I know so many Mum’s who have told me they feel like they have disappeared. They’ve lost their career goals, their social lives, their confidence and their sense of being anything except Mummy. I totally empathise because that is exactly how I felt.
These are some of the steps i have been taking to try to become the best version of me, it’s not really about looks it’s about self confidence and being happy with myself. I really hope that if you have been feeling the same way that trying these things will help you too.
thanks for reading