Standing in front of the mirror, I contemplated now being a mother of two under two. Pretty much everything had changed: my life, my outlook, my role and my body. Not only that, I no longer knew what to wear anymore. Even that was out of my control. In my twenties I had dressed for the office and for nights out with the girls. In my early thirties I discovered skinny jeans and boots suited my Jeweller image, but what do stay at home mothers wear? I was lost.
My skinny jeans and cute t-shirts of old suddenly looked distinctly bedraggled and unforgiving. I started experimenting with clothes to try to flatter what I had become. I wore baggier jeans, long skirts, silk shirts and velour tracksuit bottoms all in an attempt to feel comfortable and hidden. I slowly began to realise it wasn't the clothes that was the problem - my body no longer felt like mine. It took me a while to admit it to myself but since first being pregnant - apart from a couple of token pregnancy yoga-classes - I had literally done zero exercise. During my pregnancies I had become tired, lethargic and attached to the sofa. Since then I had lost some weight by eating healthily but not once had I properly broken a sweat.
Two years and two children on I finally realised my body was craving my attention. I wanted to 'like' my reflection again. I needed to feel good about myself. It wasn't about being skinny and dieting - I wanted to feel strong, energised, healthy and attractive. It dawned on me - I needed to bite the bullet and do some exercise.
I searched online and found a personal trainer that would come to the house. I booked her in for ten sessions immediately. From those first ten sessions I learnt a lot about myself: the body is amazing - it wants to exercise - and I am prepared to work hard - who knew?!
Four months on I am proud and excited to see my body change and the definition that has started to appear. My stomach is flatter, my bottom is harder, my arms are stronger. I now browse the internet for clothes that are going to accentuate the hard work I have put in. I want to signal to other people that I am a mother that exercises! I put that time in and it makes me happy. It is like a magic mood lifter - I never knew how good it feels to be strong.
Of course I know not everyone has the chance to have some kick-ass amazing trainer come to the house and take you through your paces. I realise mothers generally do not have the time to take an hour out of their day to even contemplate exercising let alone anything vaguely self-indulgent. However, the good news is we don't need to take the time or the trainer to get fit. Our own body is the best set of weights - dropping to do ten press ups if we have just two minutes is enough for a morning. It is more about little and often that will make the core strength difference that us mums need.
Game playing with my daughter has become surprisingly high-octane - chasing, dancing, picking her up and swinging her around in the air type stuff. When i'm entertaining my seven month old, I lie next to him on the ground whilst doing a few sit ups, then I'll repeatedly lift him like he's my set of dumbbells and of course he loves it!
Another tip I have picked up along the way - a good one for mums of young children - is to eat when your kids eat - that way supper most likely won't be much later than 7pm - giving your body time to digest properly before bed. The old saying that goes, 'Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper - is a great one to stick to if possible.
So now two and a half years into motherhood, I finally think I know what the dress code for mums can be. It can be one that shows off, rather than hides, who you have become: a woman with a new life, a new outlook, a new role and a new body. So basically - get your Wonder Woman uniform ready.Suggest a correction