Since starting on the breakfast show at Radio Aire, a little over a year ago, I’ve struggled massively with life/work balance.
I love my job and I’m very lucky, all I ever wanted to do from being a little girl was to be on the radio.
The 3.30am alarm call is a struggle at the best of times but when you have a family to look after...let’s just say I’ve felt like I’ve been spinning several plates for far too long. It all came crashing down around me just before Christmas when my husband fell ill and I was a complete mess.
We had both neglected our health and we were both really struggling with the pressures of work, sorting out our new house and most importantly looking after our three-year-old daughter.
I knew deep down I was battling a bit of depression too. I am prone to it a little; I think most of us are. For me the gym is my tool against depression but I hadn’t been going consistently and I was in a dark place with everything.
Then my husband got put in hospital and I knew something needed to change. Over Christmas we shut ourselves away and just enjoyed quality family time. We ate and drank what ever we fancied and our daughter Ava-Lilly was our main focus.
We both talked a lot about our future and how we need to look after each other and ourselves better.
Just before New Year’s Eve I looked in the mirror and I hardly recognised the woman staring back at me. She looked exhausted, slightly bigger than usual and like someone who didn’t take pride in her appearance.
I knew then it was time to sort myself out; it was time to get back to training at the gym, stop eating whatever I wanted and ditch the alcohol. I feel ashamed sometimes that I don’t make an effort anymore and that I can’t fit into some of my lovely clothes. I also would love another baby but I need to be fit, healthy and happy before expanding our family unit.
We are so busy working on our jobs or careers then working on our family life that we lose our identity and forget who we are. As a parent, I feel a lot of us neglect ourselves. I put my daughter Ava-Lilly first which is what you do when you become a mum. Whenever I’m near a shop I’m buying her something – she has a wardrobe to die for! I very rarely treat myself; I don’t even know what my sense of style is anymore.
It’s like I’ve just accepted that I will live in my Superdry pants and wear no make-up because what I look like doesn’t matter. We all know that simply isn’t true, our appearance affects our confidence and self esteem and somewhere down the line I’d forgotten that.
Looking in the mirror though I knew it was time to sort out my appearance so I’m back at the gym, four sessions later and I’m feeling strong and mentally tough.
I treated myself to a few new bits for my wardrobe too. Clothes are important; you’ve got to feel good in what you’re wearing. I’ll admit after treating myself I broke down in tears on the phone to my nana Jean saying I felt selfish as I should have bought for Ava-Lilly not me. She told me to stop being silly and that I was allowed to treat myself sometimes.
I had a couple of meetings last week so I decided to treat myself to a blow dry and I made sure my make-up look good. I felt great for the first time in ages. The icing on the cake was as I nipped into Tesco and a very attractive guy checked me out twice...I don’t think I’ve caught anyone checking me out for a very long time, apart from the one man who matters of course – my husband. Now I need to try and keep it up, looking after my mental health is the most important thing so I must keep going with my gym sessions, no matter what.
We all need to take a little time out sometimes and love ourselves a little more. Spoiling ourselves from time to time won’t make us a bad wife or husband or a bad parent. In fact what I’m learning is if I feel good on the inside and the outside then I make more of an effort at home with my husband and daughter because I’m feeling happier. So here’s to a little less plate spinning (I need to learn to say no) and giving a little more love to myself.