Being a Mum is full on!
I am so privileged to interview these incredible women on their journey through Motherhood.
Michelle Ryan of the Ladies Collective is today's amazing Mamma + opens up about her experience with postnatal depression. So brave. xx
Tell us about you and your family?
I am a mum of two little girls, 6 and 3, married and live in the beautiful Coffs Harbour in New South Wales! My husband and I have just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary! I ran my own little business, Ladies Collective, where I work to inspire other women, especially mums to take care of themselves through connection and self love.
What has been your favourite part of Motherhood?
I had a tough time when my girls were babies, I suffered Post Natal Depression and my husband worked away a lot. I felt isolated and it was just easier to stay at home, than to leave the house. Things are getting easier now, as they grow up, and I enjoy learning about them and their little personalities.
Two very different little people growing up before my eyes. I also get to enjoy a bit more time on my own, which is so important for me to recharge. Silence is golden!
What has most surprised you about Motherhood, good or bad, and how were you able to deal with it?
I think the thing that has surprised me most about motherhood is that there are so many people suffering or struggling on a daily basis, and we just don’t talk about it. Everyone puts on a brave face and appears to be ‘holding it together’, when in fact, we’re all just hanging on….
I think it is important to be able to talk about how we’re feeling and if we’re having a bad day, to own it, nothing good comes from hiding behind a brave face.
But I also think its important to ‘show up’ every day. Get up, put on something nice, make yourself look nice, which will make you feel better. I went through a phase where I wore comfy clothes, didn’t brush my hair or wear make up and I felt awful. I think putting in a little effort everyday is important for your wellbeing, it helps you feel good!
What do you wish you had known or done differently in the earlier days of Motherhood?
I think this is a big one for me, and I still don’t do a great job at it. Asking for help. I’m a self confessed control freak and like to do everything myself, but sometimes you just can’t. And thats ok.
You’re not expected to know or do everything, no-one does, asking for help for physical tasks, but also if you’re not coping is incredibly important. Nothing changes, unless something changes.
"It is important to be able to talk about how we’re feeling and if we’re having a bad day" - Michelle Ryan | Ladies Collective
On Body + Wellbeing
Did you get back into shape bub with ease, or was it a challenge? How did you do it? Any tips?
I have always had a fairly good diet, but exercise was something I’ve never enjoyed. I still struggle with making time or effort for that now, but for me, enjoying fresh air, and movement of some sort works for me. I’m one of those people who can’t sit still, so moving all day gets the blood flowing!
What has been the biggest challenge when balancing motherhood and wellbeing?
For me, having time to myself has been difficult. As I mentioned, my husband works sporadically, so parenting falls on me, which is fine, so I need to make sure I have that time for me when he’s around. I’m also really conscious of working when my kids are around. Running your own business, from home can be a tricky balance, but I make sure I have time for them, and when they’re occupied, I’ll jump in and do a little bit of work!
What motivates you to stay on track with your health and wellbeing?
I know how it feels to not take care of myself and I don’t ever want to go back to that place, so taking care of myself, through the right nutritional choices is super important. I want to be a role model for my kids, and when I feel good, my mood is good, so it impacts on them. I also want to be a product of my business, I can’t promote wellness if I don’t practice what I preach! I also make sure I take my wholefood supplements every single day, it makes staying on track with my nutrition so much easier, and its just one less thing I need to think about every day. Plus, it helps me feel great!
What foods or exercises make you feel alive and energetic?
I’m addicted to whole foods, so try to incorporate them into our day as much as possible. But I also believe in balance. Its ok to have a sneaky glass of wine at the end of the day, or a coffee with a friend, but all in moderation!
What foods or exercises or drinks do you stay away from?
I tend to steer clear of fatty or processed foods, especially packets or jars. Those things are laced with sugar, and are just bad for you. I try to encourage my kids to eat the rainbow too, which makes a massive difference to their wellbeing and immunity.
How has your body changed since childbirth and how did you embrace it? Is your relationship with your body better now or worse?
My body has changed massively since childbirth! Before I didn’t take care of myself at all, ate what I wanted, because I could. Now, age and childbirth have caught up, so I need to make sure I fuel my body with the right things. I just like putting cheap petrol in your car, it won’t perform as its designed to!
What are your guilty pleasures?
My guilty pleasures are Kmart and my indoor plants. I just can’t get enough of either, but they make me happy!
How do you find time to exercise? Any tips or secret hacks you can share?
As mentioned before, I don’t make a lot of time for exercise, as I don’t enjoy it, but I know I should. I’m also not a couch potato, so always on the go!
What advice would you give to other Mums struggling with their wellbeing?
Make one simple change at a time. Small things lead to big things and nothing will change, unless you do! You only get one life, so why not be amazing!
What are your exercise goals?
To do it!!! I need to make it a priority in my day!
What tools help you navigate Motherhood and sanity on a daily basis
I’m a massive list keeper. If I feel overwhelmed with the day/week/month, I write lists of all the things that need to be done, and take great satisfaction in ticking them off! It helps get the clutter out of my head.
Fresh air, silence and music are also really good for me to stay sane!!!
How do you find/make time to address your mind?
I enjoy the quiet time while my kids are in the bath, I usually pop the music on, grab a glass of wine and jump into making dinner. Its my quiet time!
Mental health was one of the main reasons Project Mamma was created. Do you have any tips or advice to offer?
Absolutely making time for yourself is the most important thing. You can't fill from any empty cup, so whatever that thing is that lights you up, do that!
"Making time for yourself is the most important thing. You can't fill from any empty cup, so whatever that thing is that lights you up, do that! - Michelle Ryan | Ladies Collective"
What is your guilty pleasure or indulgence? How do you like to spoil yourself?
I like shopping, or gardening. Its my solitude!