Mummy / Just don’t tell me to relax…

“It felt like the more pressure I put on myself to relax, the more tense I felt. Had I lost the ability to unwind now I am a mum?” writes Mummy columnist KATE MEIKLE

OUR little family embarked on a recent pre-Christmas holiday to Fiji.

Kate Meikle.

Kate Meikle.

It was originally meant to be a “babymoon” of sorts much earlier in the year, before our second baby arrived in June.

However, the devastation of cyclone Winston in February made us re-think the trip, so we decided to push it back to December and go as a family of four.

Travelling with the toddler and a five-month-old is something I’d prefer not to remember, but before we knew it we were all splashing about in the resort’s beautiful lagoon style pool.

The resort was a bit like Disneyland – far, far away from reality. There was everything I needed to relax.

But could I?

Not really.

Not completely.

The incessant thinking, anticipating, worrying (did the kids splash bath water into their mouths and drank the water?) not to mention keeping track of feeds, naps, nappy changes and sunscreen application started to do my head in. I just couldn’t relax!

It felt like the more pressure I put on myself to relax, the more tense I felt.

Had I lost the ability to unwind now I’m a mum?

I remembered fondly the pre-kids holidays when reading poolside, sipping cocktails was the preferred way to while away the day.

This was just not possible any more with two small kids whose needs are much greater and more pressing than my own.

I decided to stop giving myself such a hard time and told my husband to quit telling me to “relax”.

I began to accept where I was in space and time.

I watched my little boy gain confidence in the pool and smile so brightly while he splashed about. I saw how our baby took so much of the change in her routine in her stride, despite teething. I also managed to sip on a cocktail or two during happy hour and, miraculously, both kids had naps at the same time.

And sure enough, by the last night as I watched the sunset over the Pacific, I realised I was relaxed, in my own way.

So for those new mums taking on a holiday this summer, my advice is to take any help offered, take some “me” time and don’t put pressure on yourself to relax. With a bit of luck, you’ll be able to bring some relaxation into your routine.  

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