So, a couple of months back my beautiful baby girl turned one. It was a momentous occasion as it is for most parents – even she to an extent, knew that something exciting was happening and she seemed to have a lovely time with visiting family, lots of friends around and new toys galore! This moment was milestone and when we looked back at her first year on this earth it was wonderful to remember all the ways she has developed.
It was a reminder of what we have been through in her first year. From looking after a newborn and dealing with a body that had completely changed; from being a full time mum to going back to work; from dealing with hot summer nights and teething to cold winter and a jet lagged, sleep-regressed 4 month old; from not being able to put her down for one second to not being able to stop her crawling into all kinds of mischief. It’s a roller coaster ride. And the only reason parents don’t need an award is because we have one – our gorgeous children. And I couldn’t be more proud of Miss Z.
The funny thing is, as My Little Miss approaches 15 months old I am so proud of who I am too. I don’t say that boastfully. I say it humbly. The things that matter are different and the challenges to overcome are different. And they’re not just about Miss Z. Although undoubtedly she is the changing factor in most of them.
When I went back to work I felt bad that in some ways I was actually excited. I have made no bones about the fact that my mum style is not the mum who wants to be with my child 24/7. And I certainly don’t believe it did me any harm that I went to childcare from a young age because my mum also HAD to work. Don’t get me wrong if I could alter that balance I would. If work less than I do and have Z with me more than I do. But she’s happy, we are happy and I honestly don’t know how I could do my job in any less hours.
And this is one of the other major things I’ve come to terms with and had to adjust to in this last 7 or 8 months.
Since coming back to work, my targets have increased, my KPIs are tighter and the need to achieve higher productivity is unavoidable. So it comes as no surprise I’m doing more work in less hours. And if my workload is heavier I don’t have the option to come in earlier. Unless I want to miss kissing my daughter goodnight or never help my hubby out with her dinner and bath, then I can’t stay past 5.30pm. It would solve a lot of problems if I could. Work problems.
But where would it leave me feeling as a mum and part of my family?
And at times this year I’ve doubted myself at work because of it. When I’m not hitting my targets I start freaking out. When I’m not seeing the numbers I need to see I start berating myself – “I need to work harder, do more, sacrifice some mum time “. It was with totally mixed feelings I agreed to a regional meeting in Singapore later this month. I don’t want to miss it but at the same time I feel gutted that my husband has never spent a night away from our daughter…. and yet I have. And will do yet more.
And it is not just the concerns about showing willing and capable, there is the usual office politics to deal with to. Gaining support when you need it, often comes about just by showing willing and being present. Going the extra mile and achieving good results will win praise but support is won by trust and certainty – and that means showing up. Literally. Even when it means hiring a nanny.
Work wise this year I have been proud to see some return on the investment I feel I’ve made in my work (and therefore in the business I work for), both in the efforts I made prior to having a baby and since, by being given budget to grow my team and attain an award for hitting my KPIs.
And in my own personal development I’ve managed to watch my own business grow. The only down side to that being that my time is even more stretched – but I’m lucky to do what I enjoy and by having my own clients that I can extend my skills to, it means I get to lay good foundations for whatever the future might bring.
It also keeps my brain really active and me on my toes.
Speaking of bodily parts, something else I’m proud of this year is the body and fitness journey I’ve been on. Let me level with you here – when I was pregnant I put on 20 kilos.
I’ll let you just take that on board.
And for someone with an extremely healthy BMI that is quite substantial, people.
When I started back at training in April I had lost more than half of that just by not eating anything I felt like at any time and not being pregnant. I was walking a lot with Miss Z even before I went back to training and work. And in the first weeks back at training I lost 5kg and a lot of body fat. I think that was over 12 weeks.
And during that time I felt so much better about myself. But I had struggles – I struggled with going from being at the front of the pack to the back, with my body not being able to do what it could before, with the long road ahead. Some days I thought about quitting – and everyone says that, but I really did. Yet the desire to get to my goals was so much stronger than the doubts I had.
And doubts weren’t the only struggle. Life wasn’t what it was when I was training before. I couldn’t just roll out of bed and go to training as many days as I felt like it. I couldn’t just stick my finger in the air and pick a class. I have to plan to the detail when I could get there around Mr OC’s availability and my schedule. And sometimes, because… well… kids… that schedule is constantly subject to last minute changes! I remember when I started back I was so envious of all these fit young girls with no babies relying on them – they were doing ‘unlimited’ training packages allowing them to go to as many sessions as they had energy for in a week. And there was me planning my two sessions down to the finest detail. And more often than I’d like, missing it due to Miss Z being sick or hubby needing to work.
Facing that made me wonder how long the journey was going to be to get my body and fitness where I wanted. And it made me feel scared that if it was going to be too hard I’d end up giving up.
Not to mention the doubts and anxieties that come with turning up to class and having to retrain your brain, not just your body. It’s hard getting used to your old friends no longer being around – as they’ve moved away or had babies themselves. New people, new training, new kind of body. I constantly felt like I was too uncoordinated – I felt like I would be the last person anyone would want to partner with in boxing. And I’m sure sometimes I was.
And now, now I find my technique is suddenly coming together. My kicks are actually not too bad at all. My fitness is good. And all of a sudden the next set of clothes that I had to buy or the ones I finally dragged back out of storage from pre-pregnancy… well, even some of those are feeling a bit baggy. I feel good about myself. I feel like my body can do more, and my mind is capable of coming along for the ride too.
This is not about image, although what I see in the mirror does have a part to play. What I see in the mirror is just a part of the much larger picture. I have overcome doubts, fears, and challenges – when I’ve honestly considering giving up I’ve gone twice or three times as hard. When I’ve felt like the journey was too long I’ve just decided to keep trying.
And this is not just about my fitness journey. The pictures below are a visual representation of the journey I’ve been on this year. They show not just how my body has changed because my mindset did, but how if I can start smashing my goals in the physical world, I can do it in my working world too. And I surround myself with people who inspire me – friends who are motivated and encouraging, but also friends who are real and let me express my doubts and fears, and help me overcome them. And then there is my trainer and the girls I train with – ZC Fitness is an amazing place to be. Full of strong, inspiring women – all trying to work to their goals. And at the helm is Zanna – she has been my friend for many years now and she inspires me with her work and training ethic. Nothing holds her back or down! Without her yelling at me to keep going I simply wouldn’t! And I simply wouldn’t have these results.
The point is… Miss Z marks milestones for me. She creates happiness and contentment in my life and she grows in front of me. But, I’m growing too. I’m reaching my own milestones. And I am proud of where I’ve got to – I’ve surprised myself and I’m going to keep aiming to surprise myself by reaching more goals and dreams even when it feels like I can’t.
I feel good that I’m not only able to be mum to this gorgeous little girl but that I’m also achieving other things for myself that make me an even better person for her.