Kerri Moss Beaumont tells of the joys of being a mother of four who also manages to enjoy life to the max
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were at an end of summer barbeque. We got chatting to a glamorous couple in their early 30s and we were asked: “So when do you guys plan on cracking on and having kids?’’ When we replied that we had four children, under the age of seven, we were looked at with utter disbelief.
In fact, I personally was challenged by the dashing young chap, as he really couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that I had physically carried and given birth to four children. So there you have it folks, one of the best compliments around – to be told you look like you don’t have children. After all, who wants to look tired, worn out, frazzled and caked with mango puree? Um, not me.
So the inevitable question of: ‘How do you do it?’ came out and we managed to boil it down to two things. First off, we have fun. In fact we have fun whenever possible. Whether that means going out and dancing a few times a month in nightclubs that cater for 20-something hipsters or having dinner parties and turning the kitchen into a disco, or going to a silly West End musical, we put fun at the top of our relationship agenda. Life can be serious enough with bills to pay and school fees to lose sleep over. Put date night in your diaries at least twice per month. Mandatory stuff.
Secondly, I put myself first. As a woman, this is paramount. Because, in case you haven’t worked it out yet my dear, you are the heart and soul of the family. You hold it all together. It’s like you are the “Mama glue.” Now, I’m not dissing the boys here, but let’s face facts – the Wife, the Mother … well, she really is the Boss. And too often, once women have children, we get overwhelmed by this new ‘Boss’ position and respond by putting everyone else first.
But I think this is the wrong way of going about things. By putting yourself and your inner-diva first, you have the best chance for tackling day-to-day life. Consider it like your armour. You wouldn’t go out to battle without your gear on, so don’t even think about hitting the school run unless you are feeling at the top of your game. If you aren’t at the top of your game, you become a drain. It happens quickly and sometimes without you even having any idea. All of a sudden, you are two sizes bigger, wearing tracksuit bottoms and drinking too much white wine to console yourself.
So ladies, to make sure you’ve got your armour on – go to the gym, keep yourself in the best shape possible. Eat right. Treat yourself. Dress with flair. And don’t forget the reason why you fell in love with your husband. This will keep you feeling the love and feeling sexy. Keep a little note in your underwear drawer along these lines, and make sure that you don’t lose sight of who you are. Be yourself first, wife and mother second.
It’s a circus out there, so do yourself a favour. Take the challenge, and walk the tightrope. Sure it’s a little dangerous. But by looking at things from a different perspective, it’s easier to look down at the three rings of chaos and laugh. Oh, and then and go and have some fun. Your children will thank you for it.
I think I need to take parenting classes from Kerri Moss Beaumont. Everyday I struggle to juggle work, 3 children and a husband who is pretty much absent from my life. He works very long hours and as we’re struggling financially (Thank you David Cameron), I have to do part-time work too. We used to get on quite nicely and then when this government got elected, my husband’s company ceased giving out bonuses at Christmas and expected him to do twice as much work (as they’d fired half the staff). It is inspiring to read of a lady who combines everything so spectacularly. I only wish I could do nearly as well myself. Thank you for sharing your experiences. You’ve given me hope.
I share many philosophies with Mrs Beaumont, however there is a but. I used to be a high earning woman with pretty much everything under control.
Today I am a full time married and happy mum that very much try to put myself first and definitely is the boss of the household for two young boys and a grown up one.
But there is no longer enough money in the bank just to pay for days at the gym, manicures, hairdressers, personal shoppers, spa holidays, evenings on end out to any fun place all to keep me at the top of my game! All these treats either me on my own or with my lovely other half requires someone paid to look after the kids.
Unless you have your parents on stand by next door Mrs Beaumonts solution to spice up life as a parent comes at a cost that many cannot afford.
All the above said – I do find it much more challenging than running a company to run a busy daily life with my very own full 10 minutes every morning. With natural good looking genes (thank you mom) this is enough time for me to apply my “armour” and decide to feel on top of the world. Besides speed walking my daily routes with a plush buggy holding junior 2 I am busy setting up businesses that are flexible around my world and time (taken from sleep as free day hours are sparse). Confidence has many exciting sources and entrepreneurial adventures certainly boosts mine. Find your own source.
I enjoy the enthusiasm and pride Mrs Beaumont mentions but I cannot fully see that her “advice” is for the average hard working parent. The large difference is that she has a choice of when she wants to spend time with her kids !
Good afternoon all!
First off thanks to Carla and Betina for your comments. I am so pleased that you found the article inspiring and glad that i’ve given you hope! Without hope, all is lost. And please – i’m far from spectacular – I just try very hard and am not afraid to admit that.
Secondly, to address some of Betina’s comments, which I read earlier today but haven’t been able to respond as I’ve been at a School Governor meeting for most of the day.
I just want to make it very clear that the article was intended to show that I prioritise having fun with my husband, and prioritise doing everything I can to make myself look and feel confident. But I most certainly don’t do it as often as I wish! And I don’t always get to choose when I spend time with my children.
Like Carla, my husband’s company has been hit by the economic environment and we no longer enjoy bonuses or many luxuries that come along with them. So, we went from having two nannies and a housemaid to one member of staff. So that’s one person to help me, (a working Mother) with four children under the age of six do all school runs, homework, laundry for 6, cooking, cleaning and administration for a home and large family. And I only wish I had my parents in this country to help, but sadly they live across the Atlantic Ocean.
So when I talk about prioritising, let me explain and cite a recent example. Last week, we had a huge list of things to do and it was all about dividing and conquering so that my husband and I could attend an art event in town followed by a black-tie dinner. Oh how I wish that I was at the gym, getting my nails and hair done and finishing that off with a spa treatment! Instead, I was teaching my six year old how to clean bathrooms (future/wishful thinking!). A lot of people would have just thought – get a cleaner, but I actually needed to use those funds towards babysitting for the evening – so I prioritised and put FUN first. And i’m so glad I did – we had a marvellous evening out, which ended busting out a few moves on the dancefloor 🙂
I’m not saying my approach is always the best – it is most certainly a tiring way to go about things sometimes…however I am the kind of person who loves a challenge and get bored by accepting the norm. And by norm, I guess i’m referring to the attitude of ‘you’ve got kids, so you should cuddle up with a glass of sauvignon blanc in front of the tv waiting for your husband to get home, instead of making the effort to look after yourself and go out’.
Betina, I’m glad to hear that you find confidence from entrepreneurial adventures. It is an exciting thing to run a business and it must be very rewarding. But I challenge you to show me a woman who doesn’t like how she looks and still claims to feel totally confident. I am encouraging women to take pride in themselves and ‘work what they’ve got’ so that they are giving themselves and their relationships the best chance they can for success. Yes this can be read as a rather shallow perspective, but sadly it seems the women that disagree with this sort of thinking are usually the ones who are bitching behind others backs in one breath, and then talking about dieting in the next.
I most certainly agree that finding your own source is imperative. I just urge women to make sure and check-in to who they have become after becoming a Mum.