As someone who has battled my own fair share of insecurities with body image, I am so happy to showcase this amazing lady and her inspiring movement, Mirror Movement.
Being a Mother is no easy feat.
Not only is it pretty intense on the labour side, but Motherhood requires you to be a role model, and that is scary.
That said it is also very exciting.
You alone have the responsibility (and privilege) of shaping your child's value of themselves, particularly in terms of their attitude to their body image.
As a Mother of daughters, Amanda is using this privilege and responsibility to help other Mums overcome their own issues around body with the motivation of it helping their children.
This interview with Amanda is inspiring and heart felt. Enjoy!
Tell us a little about you and your family?
I am a 43 year old mother to 3 children; Josh 9, Lily, 8 and Charli 5. I’ve been married for nearly 12 years and have known my husband for 17 years. Up until the end of last year I was working as a full time teacher, but I resigned to focus on the Mirror Movement, a movement for mothers with food and body image issues who also have daughters. This year I have written a book ‘Mirror Mirror On My Wall’, had a couple of tv appearances, and I’m currently developing an online program for mothers, whilst working as a relief teacher at my children’s school!
What has been your favourite part of Motherhood?
My first born was extremely challenging. He wouldn’t let me put him down for the first 3 months, he cried all the time and had terrible reflux. I hated it. It’s amazing really that he now has 2 sisters, because he was going to be an only child for a while there!
I look at babies now and I think what a beautiful time it was, but I don’t want one. I love being able to talk to the kids and have conversations and help them navigate their way through friendships etc…
What has most surprised you about Motherhood, good or bad, and how were you able to deal with it?
The weirdness of wanting to be away from them, but that desperate wish to be back with them when you are away from them. It’s just something you accept as part of motherhood, and I guess that’s why we are called mum and not dad!
What do you wish you had known or done differently in the earlier days of Motherhood?
I think I handled the difficulties quite well. It was important to me that I felt good, so I put make up on each day and went for a walk and prepared food for myself in bowls the night before so I could eat well. I wish I’d known how much harder it was going to be than I anticipated. I just thought naturally I’d be a really great mother, but you have to mother the kid you get, not the fantasy ideal.
Body + Wellbeing
Did you get back into shape bub with ease, or was it a challenge? How did you do it? Any tips?
I gained over 30 kgs with my first. I had struggled with bulimia for many years prior and had always been watching my weight and dieting. When I got pregnant everyone told me not to worry about my weight and I took this to the extreme. I didn’t eat for 2, I ate for 6 and by 4 months I already had gained a lot of weight. By the time I was due, I looked unrecognisable and people were shocked to see me, it was awful.
When he was 6 weeks old I joined weight watchers and without cheating once, I was back to my prepregnancy weight by the time he was 6 months old. I gave up my milk supply to drop the weight, something I regret now.
What has been the biggest challenge when balancing motherhood and wellbeing?
I think the biggest challenge is guilt. We feel guilty taking care of ourselves, but it really needs to be a priority. My trainer has a kids section and mums are there daily with their kids. The importance of mental health cannot be underestimated. These days I get up at 5:30 and go to train at 5;45, no excuses, I just get it done because I’m important and I matter.
What motivates you to stay on track with your health and wellbeing?
After coming out in May of 2018 that I’d secretly suffered with bulimia for the past 20 years, I’m now at a place where I live diet free. I exercise 4 times a week as a gift to the body I punished and hated for as long as I did. I also want to instill in my kids the importance of movement and loving what you do. My daily motivation to get out of bed and eat well is how good it feels. I’m also teaching my kids how to prepare fresh food and the importance of balance.
What foods or exercises make you feel alive and energetic?
I’m mad about broccoli salad at the moment, with toasted almonds and Greek yogurt, red onion, peas, fetta. Anything full of flavour and texture gets me excited. I love doing weights and squats make me feel alive!
What foods or exercises or drinks do you stay away from?
I avoid nothing. After years of restriction, I now understand that balance is key. If I want something I’ll have it, if it’s delicious I’ll eat it. I’d rather that than end up bingeing on something because I can’t resist any longer.
Luckily for me though I don’t really like alcohol, it doesn’t agree with me.
How has your body changed since childbirth and how did you embrace it? Is your relationship with your body better now or worse?
In the last 12 months my relationship with my body has changed significantly. I now focus on what my body can do, and because I’m grateful, I want to look after it and treat it well. In the past, exercise was a punishment for what I’d eaten, but these days it’s all about self-care.
I feel fit, I feel strong and I feel alive.
What are your guilty pleasures?
My only guilty pleasure is that I pop into bed once the kids are in bed (7.45-8), and I’m usually fast asleep not long after 8.30 and I love it!
How do you find time to exercise? Any tips or secret hacks you can share?
Just get up. Set the alarm, have your clothes ready to go and just do it.
What advice would you give to other Mums struggling with their wellbeing?
Know that you’re not alone. Start small, start where you are, but just start. Remember to switch your focus from weight loss to health and feeling good and ditch the scales, they mess with your head!
What are your exercise goals?
My only goal is to show up!
What tools help you navigate Motherhood and sanity on a daily basis
Exercise helps me as well as being able to laugh with my husband about the absurdity of some of the kid’s arguments!
Organisation is huge too. We make lunches the night before and we allow plenty of time for everything. I hate rushing and I don’t do stress so allowing time helps!
How do you find/make time to address your mind?
Early rising and early bedtime.
Mental health was one of the main reasons Project Mamma was created. Do you have any tips or advice to offer?
Just know yourself. Don’t be ashamed of your story, we all have one. Even the people you think have it all together, usually don’t. Speak up, you never know who you’ll help.
What is your guilty pleasure or indulgence? How do you like to spoil yourself?
I love new mascara, is that weird? I don’t have too many indulgences really, but I guess I enjoy getting my nails done every 3 weeks, other than that I’m not too sure!
Thank you soo much for you time.
Wow, what a women.
It is inspiring to hear that we are not alone in our endeavours and we are all just trying to do our best.
Amanda Stokes can be found at :