Welcome Tamara Murphy
Pregnancy & Postpartum Fitness Specialist
Personal Trainer & Nutritionist
Owner of The Ultimate Body & The Ultimate Body Mummys
Throughout my life I have faced many difficult circumstances. From a very young age I had to face the emotional impact of trauma in our family in many different situations over many years. The way I was raised we just blocked things out, didn’t talk about them, were never allowed to talk to others about them and were taught to move on with life. Now that technique worked for us for a very long time, but like anything difficult, traumatic or life altering it will always have a way of rearing its head at some stage.
I now, as a grown 28year old mother, wife and more importantly woman, realise how incredibly damaging the techniques I was raised with are. Motherhood for me was my life altering moment. Becoming a mother, opened so many traumatic doors I didn’t realise I hadn’t closed completely. As my journey as a new mother continued to progress these doors slowly began to open more and more. Before I knew it I was swarmed with incredible amounts of anxiety, I quite literally felt like I was drowning. I had so many mixed emotions that I could not process, so many questions I needed answered and I had no idea where to even begin.
For the past 2 years with the support of my husband and my in-laws, beautiful friends, an amazing therapist and living an active healthy life I have worked on and managed to come out the other side with so much more strength, gratitude, forgiveness and self love. It’s been an incredibly LONG, tiring and excruciating journey with more traumatic experiences thrown in the middle. But I can proudly say I did it, we did it! What did I do?
I put ME first! I took care of myself, I walked a very scary road to work on healing myself to be a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better trainer but above all a better woman. By putting me first I was also putting my husband and daughter first in my current situation. I chose me and I chose them and that was the first step to me healing and closing those traumatic doors. We all face difficult circumstances in life, nobody can ever say they haven’t had to face a situation.
We have to make decisions, choices and these can be so hard at times. We want to please everybody, we don’t want to hurt anyone but we should never put ourselves, our emotional or physical wellbeing second to anyone else. Now lets get to the topic of the guilt and feeling so incredibly selfish when we decide to put ourselves on the pedestal! It literally took me a good 6 months to finally be okay with this. Mum guilt is the biggest guilt you will ever face, but guilt was the reason I started my journey. Because of everything I was facing and how it was impacting me with anxiety I knew I wasn’t being the mother my daughter needed or the wife my husband deserved. I was emotional, I was snappy, I was disconnected all because I was confused and felt stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I felt like I didn’t know who I was! I felt so guilty for being and feeling this way that I took my first step to moving forward.
I chose my husband, daughter and myself over my parents. Yep, shock horror, how does someone do that? Until you have walked in my shoes and experienced my life and the situation I was in at that very point in time you wouldn’t know. But it needed to happen and unfortunately a choice I was forced to make for my health and my families future.
From there I gave myself 10 minutes every morning to meditate and prepare for my day ahead. I exercised most days and fortunately for me did this with my daughter in my studio, in my home or walking with my husband so never felt guilty about looking after my physical health because we were always together.
I took time to see a Therapist, this was a major guilt because it was money I was spending on myself and time away from my daughter to talk about me. If I needed to in the day I would stop and take 5 minutes in my room to just breathe and calm my anxiety, whilst it was only 5 minutes, I felt guilty because it was time I wasn’t spending with my daughter, or focusing on my business. I tried to give myself a 30min timeout once a week to do something nice for myself whether it was put a face mask on and read a trashy magazine or run a hot bath with a glass of red and a little chocolate, quite often my daughter would be in amongst it all but I still felt guilty, because again I was doing something for me.
It wasn’t until a friend quite abruptly told me to snap out of the guilt (I really needed it). It wasn’t until I got the speech and grilling from my friend that I truly realised how much all this self care was really helping me but more importantly my family. She helped me realise that my daughter was happy, thriving, and growing up with the most beautiful sweet little nature and my husband and I had found our connection again. My self care was not hindering anyone it was helping everyone.
We as mothers need to remember that we are the heart of the home, if that heart is not healthy and working at its most beautiful, open and loving self than everything else around it will begin to fall apart. Through this journey I also discovered who I was, not who I was told I am. What I liked, what I believed in, what my own personal morals are and what I truly believe beauty is. Self care will open so many windows to the mind and soul as we feel more connected to ourselves and not a shell.
The final step to me letting go of absolutely everything that weighed me down, made feel controlled and made me feel like I just wasn’t my true self was to finally chop all my hair off (sounds trivial, but anyone who knows me and knows my story understand how big of a deal this way). I booked myself in for a colour and the biggest chop of my life, I walked out of that hair salon quite literally a new woman and have not looked back. Self care is apart of my daily and weekly routine and it should be part of yours too.
As mums we feel this damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I don’t pressure relating to our decision to work or stay home, and almost all of us, regardless of work status, struggle with feelings of guilt when we take time away from our children to practice self-care. We have a ridiculously long to-do list, and by default, we often put ourselves at the bottom of the list. Sometimes, we don’t even make the list at all. But where or how do we begin? Especially if we have been at the bottom of (or completely missing from) our own “to-do” list for a while?
Looking after yourself makes you feel good, it gets those happy endorphins flowing and can be used as a distraction or a way of clearing your mind. As a Personal Trainer I am always working with people to decrease stress and anxiety. But as a pre and post natal fitness specialist I more importantly am working with mums to keep fitness in their lives with babies and children in the chaos. Having health and fitness as my chosen career path I knew how important it was for me to keep my lifestyle going. The weeks I didn’t get to exercise were the hard, yucky weeks. The weeks I did get to exercise were the clearer and better weeks. I exercised on my own, with my husband and with friends. I walked, I did boxing, circuit training, lifted heavy weights or danced/played/exercised with my daughter. Not an exercise person, need to exercise more often or just want to shake up your regular routine, choose activities that motivate you to exercise consistently. Take an outdoor yoga class. Sign up for a 5K fun run. Hire a personal trainer. Join group fitness. Buy a Pilates DVD to do at home. Make it fun and do circuits at home in the yard with your children or incorporate bub into your training and listen to their little giggles as you interact and bond with them. My favourite thing to do is crazy dance parties all through the house with my daughter. We laugh, dance and get a crazy sweat on.
Self care is more than just “time out” for yourself, its looking after yourself. Good food fuels your body, so make sure you eat and drink high-quality ingredients. Naturally we put our children first and more often than not I hear mothers say “I don’t have time to sit to a meal” or “I only get a chance to eat 2 meals a day”. You NEED to nourish yourself with proper foods, and I seriously can not stress this enough. Good foods fuel our minds and bodies. It’s great for your children to see you practicing self-care because you are demonstrating healthy behaviour. How do you practice self care by eating better if you feel time poor? Get organised. Get a planner or a notebook, sit down with your partner and plan the next week of meals. Do the groceries and whilst you are unpacking leave things like celery and carrots out and when you have finished packing everything cut them into sticks and put them into containers. Pull them out and have them for snacks with peanut butter, hummus or tzatziki. Have all your ingredients ready to go in zip lock bags for easy and convenient smoothies. Find slow cooker recipes that you can do big batches up and freeze them for easy, ready to go meals.
Don’t let your busy schedule squeeze out time for family and friends. If weekly date-nights aren’t going to happen (and lets be honest, is that even a real thing now you are parents?), then try to at least schedule sometime to connect on a regular basis. Make the first Friday of each month date night. Schedule a regular monthly coffee date with your friends. Make it a goal to invite friends over for dinner at least once a month—and plan on pizza, or a BBQ and a movie with everyone’s kids, so you don’t feel the need to full-on “entertain.” Connecting with those nearest and dearest to us is a major element to self care.
As mums we often get sucked into the “quick get shit done whilst bub or the kids are sleeping” mentality. Enough research shows that lack of sleep can have some major health consequences that include weight gain, depression, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, just to name a few. Stop sitting on your phone scrolling through insta when you go to bed (guilty), avoid caffeine late at night and try to avoid any emotionally upsetting conversations just before bed. The best advise I was given was to get into a relaxing bed routine and remember the bedroom is for the three S’s; Sleep, sickness or SEX 😉
STAY CONNECTED WITH YOU
As a mum, it’s easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day routines of family life: drop offs, pick ups, laundry, preparing meals, paying bills, cleaning, etc. Before you know it, 10 years have gone by and you’re a shell of your former self. The solution? Find hobbies. Blog. Meditate. Sew. Read. Draw. Scrapbook. Stay up to date with industry trends if you left the workforce. We are evolving throughout our whole lives and staying connected to our inner-most passions is what keeps us fully alive and joyful.
Yep I know, I see you all rolling your eyes. How can I do that when I have a screaming baby or toddler running around the house? Honestly this is such an amazing tool. Personally I struggle with meditation, my mind wonders and I just cant get into the zone, not to mention I have a crazy toddler who just does not stop. Every time someone suggested I meditate I literally cringed. That was until I was told about the “Calm” app. Life changed! I aimed to get up early every morning to start my day with a clear and calm mind, 10 minutes is all it took, whilst the house was calm and quiet. This app gets you to set your goals and from there you can select different programs that are best suited to you and what you are needing at that point in time.
I’m not talking rubber duckies with the kids. As mums we are so stuck in auto pilot and routines we forget to take that much needed chill pill. 30minutes in a hot bath, dark room, scented candles and a glass of red with those feel good tunes in the background. Arrange a night that suits you and your partner best and get them to watch the kids, better yet get them to get the kids out of the house, go for a drive to get them a treat or whatever. Anything to give you that 30minutes soaking down time, preferably uninterrupted.