Today we are very excited to let you know about a new section of the Cheltenham Rocks dedicated to self care and to explain it further we took the time to chat to the brains behind the concept – local mum of two, Beth Kellie.
CMHQ: We start every interview at CheltenhamMaman with a question about the small people in your life – who have you got?
Beth: So I’ve got two.. Kai is 3 and a half and Grace is 5 months.
CMHQ: At what point in your mothering journey did you realise that self care was a thing that you needed to prioritise? Pre kids it’s something that you really take for granted and don’t even realise you are partaking in! Would you agree?
Beth: I would definitely agree. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I realised I had to make it a priority…for me it’s been a slow journey. I would go as far as to say that it’s only recently I’ve started being intentional about making self care an essential part of my week.
When I had Kai I quit my high-flying job and threw myself 100% into motherhood and I felt incredibly guilty and like I’d lost a limb if I did anything that wasn’t about or with him. With a baby that was exclusively breastfeeding, not sleeping and with no family close by I lost a lot of weight and was always coming down with something as I was so exhausted. I think after the first 12-18 months it became easier to get a little bit of “me” back.
When Grace arrived in September the early weeks were a breeze as she slept all day and night so I was still able to happily go about most things. When she hit 10 weeks she had terrible wind and reflux, stopped sleeping and I ended up in a deju-vu situation (turns out Grace had a recurrent tongue tie – yep that is an actual thing!). At risk of finding myself down the same rabbit hole again, and with some gentle encouragement from those around me, this time I have started making self-care a priority.
CMHQ: What do you think are the risks that mums take if they don’t carve out some time to focus on their own needs on a regular basis? Do you think Mums can be more susceptible to mental health problems?
Beth: Parenting is 24/7 and requires so much physical and mental effort.
If we don’t take care of ourselves then of course our mental and physical health can suffer. First time round I got really run down, then poorly and then I would get really anxious about how I would look after Kai. Second time round I’m trying to be much more proactive and take care of myself and I feel a million times better for it.
CMHQ: Can you recommend some really simple self care options for Mums that don’t break the bank or need masses of time that we just don’t have?
Starting with just being aware of your own needs and feelings is a big one – you are important too! Say yes to more help and say no when you need to. Be kind to yourself – parenting is hard and we are all doing our best.
Implement small things into your week: take a bath, read a magazine with your favourite drink (alone) or go for a walk. I go for acupuncture every few weeks which is great for balancing and energy levels. Asking others to help and support you can make all the difference in terms of making it happen.
If you want something social I just went on my first Push It Real Good Buggy walk round Pitville Park. It’s totally free (well unless you buy coffee at the end), with a great group of mums, dads and baby can come too! Blow away the cobwebs, gentle exercise and vitamin D fix in one.
CMHQ: How did the collaboration between yourself as a self care champion and Cheltenham Rocks as a directory of all activities and events that are family focused come about?
Beth: When I was chatting to a new mum about all the things there were to do that you could take baby to it became apparent there wasn’t a list readily available so I decided to make one.
I was sourcing info on the groups and activities on Facebook and someone tagged Laura who runs Cheltenham Rocks. Laura is a mum of 2 herself and knows how hard it can be finding time for self-care; she felt so passionate about it she offered to sponsor the listing!
CMHQ: What do you and Cheltenham Rocks have planned to help Mums find out about services that are available to help us prioritise ourselves every now and again?
Beth: Launching this week there will is now a parent self-care tab on the Cheltenham Rocks website and app. It’s a fabulous site so, if you fancy doing something for you that you can take baby along to, you can search by day, date or type of activity in the self-care section….easy!
Later this month there will also be an article bringing together all the listings for quick reference.
We’ve spoken to the main antenatal groups and they’ll be telling expectant mums and dads about it as part of their courses.
CMHQ: How can local businesses who think they provide a great self care option find out more and get involved with your project?
Beth: Email Laura using this link….
CMHQ: And what about Mums – what do they need to know about what’s on offer locally?
Beth: When I pulled the list together I couldn’t believe how much we have going on – in terms of exercise there’s yoga, pilates, buggyfit and core restore to name a few. Plenty to support health and wellbeing – postnatal groups, monthly retreat sessions complete with creche and self-care workshops. And, if your therapy is singing a parents choir group.
New parenting hub The Hive Cheltenham is starting to host lots of events where little ones can come along. Mission Thrive is a new self-care initiative and they have their Ivory Tower in Southam where they have a childcare space daily to allow parents to have some time for themselves.
And then of course there is CheltenhamMaman! All of your events are designed with the Mums need as priority! In fact CheltenhamMaman also has a self care page but this is more tailored to getting away from the family and spending some time on your own.
CMHQ: Thanks Beth – this is all great and I’m sure my readers will find it a really useful resource.
Ladies here’s the link to the brand new self care page on Cheltenham Rocks. This could be the beginning of something very special.