Before my son arrived I used to live, eat and breathe cycling.
If I wasn’t on my bike, I was feeding my passion by working in the cycling industry or planning another adventurous bike ride. I was bicycle mad. Surely having a baby wouldn’t change any of this. How wrong I was.
When Jack arrived, I suddenly gained the title of “Mummy” and my pre-child cycling self began to fade into the background.
Before I knew what was happening, ALL of my interests and hobbies started disappearing. I genuinely couldn’t remember when was the last time I’d gone out for a spin on my beloved bicycle or done anything remotely close to what I used to enjoy doing.
I’ll admit, I found becoming a mother for the first time incredibly tough. I knew it would be life changing, but until you’re in the thick of it, you just can’t understand how it will affect your day-to-day life.
Cycling, adventures, walking, cooking, writing, reading, camping and numerous other things make me happy. But, the minute I became a Mum, I let the new role supersede all this and completely take over every fibre of my being.
The first few months of motherhood was madness. Never ending. Keeping a new human being alive, on limited sleep, after the trauma that is birth was incredibly tough. Don’t get me wrong, I utterly love my Sprog, but I think I focused so much on the birth that I forgot to look at how to deal with the transition from Kirsty to Mummy.
Added to the mix, living far from family and friends, meant it was far too easy to give up, think everything was too hard, and stop doing the things that made me feel like me. My mum hat became well and truly wedged on.
It was only when I became ill with postnatal anxiety that it was make or break. I needed to stop neglecting myself and focus on those all important hobbies that made me so happy before Jack came along.
As a new Mum, I completely forgot to be kind to myself. I thought focusing all my energy on tending to Jack’s needs was how to be the best Mum, but, in fact I was digging myself into a rather dark hole.
It took me a long time to realise that to be the best Mum, and indeed wife and friend, I needed to be someone who liked and respected myself enough to put my own needs first sometimes. To do what makes me happy.
Taking a break from being a mum, to focus on nurturing myself has become a weekly occurrence. I hope it sets a good example for Jack, that he sees how important happiness and taking care of yourself is.
It took a while to work out how to incorporate my love of cycling into my weekly routine. Harder still when Jack doesn’t go to nursery and I’ve just started back working from home. However, here’s how I have made time for cycling.
Find like-minded Mum friends
Through Twitter I have found some rather inspirational mums that cycle. In fact, I have found one Mum who lives just half an hour away. Needless to say we’ve been enjoying two-wheeled adventures together with our children.
Possibly the easiest way to get more time on my bike is to involve Jack. I’m still in the midst of working out which device is best suited us, but I’m excited about getting Jack involved in my cycling passion.
Join Social Media groups
This has helped me connect with other women and men that cycle with their children. The wealth of advice and support has been incredible and helped exponentially in my journey back into the saddle post birth.
I’ve cleared out my closet and created a dedicated area for all of my cycling kit. It means I can just crack on with getting out on the bike rather than digging around for all the kit I need.
I may not be able to get out on the road on my bike every week, but what I can do is take part in a spin class. Having a weekly ritual that involves a bike of sorts makes me exponentially happier. Win.
Enjoying a hobby while being a busy person - be it with children, work, or other commitments - may be hard, but is so worthwhile. It gives you some alone time, makes you concentrate on yourself and helps put a smile on your face.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your Lycra and get back out on your bike, everything else can wait.
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