New Mom Burnout
I share my experience of my first year of motherhood. Women, we are humans, not superhumans contrary to popular beliefs so we need to respect our balance. Hence, it’s important to establish boundaries and enlist support to stop us from burning out, because when we are burnout we have nothing to give to ourselves or anyone else for that matter..
- Mingling with random Moms
- Not all brown folk are the same
- Sleeping when the baby sleeps
- Weaning worries
- Negative Strangers
- Trying to be supermom
- Why Hermes ruined Christmas
- A panic attack in Santas Grotto
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Read the full show transcript here
Intro Hook: It’s important that sometimes you let things slide. Like who cares if there’s dishes in the sink? Who cares if those dishes stay there until tomorrow? You know what, I’m not even going to judge you if the dishes are there for two days. Are you saying? Yes? Are you happy? Yeah, it’s the baby happier fed, sweet stuff, the dishes. Hey, girlfriend, welcome back to the curl squats curl power podcast with me, Zoe Fox, I hope I find you Well, today, I just want to start this podcast by shouting out all of the survivors, all of the women who have really been through some stuff, whatever that stuff looks like, we’re all going to have our own ideas of what our unique challenges have been. whether we’ve grown through them, whether we’re still in the thick of them trying to come through them. I just really want to honor you today. Because you know what? Women, we do go through it. And we go through it in a patriarchal society. So a man led world that doesn’t really give much room for our individual and unique challenges. And that’s not even considering our unique experience as women of color for want of a better phrase, black brown women, for disabled women. You know, we’re in this man, you fractured world. That’s quite good, isn’t it manufactured by men, designed by men, not designed by black and brown women, not designed by women in general, and definitely not designed by disabled women of color. So shout out to all of us who are just pushing through, despite the fact that society wasn’t set up for us. So I love that there’s so many women out there that are now just saying, You know what, enough is enough. I’m not down with this old way of, of doing things. I am burning down the patriarchy, I am creating the things that I wish existed in my ideal vision for my people. Because Can you imagine what society is going to look like in 1020 3040 years time, when every single one of us women starts to really step into our power. That’s what motivates me. That’s what excites me. Imagine the world and what that’s going to be like for our daughters. Ah, it’s an exciting time to be alive. So in this episode of The Cow Power podcast, I am going to be talking about what it’s like stepping out into the world into motherhood. So you’ve had your baby your home from hospital. And now it’s time to get real. It’s time to start living your real life with your real little human. So I’m home, I’m healing, the anxiety is dissipating. And it’s time to step into motherhood, step into motherhood. So I’m Mommy, I’m at home. I’ve got my long awaited daughter. And you know what? She’s an absolute dream. She blessed us with sleeping through the night. And just being an absolute little zennith. You know what I knew she was going to be Zen, because I could just feel her energy. When I was growing her I just knew that she was going to be Zen and her dad is as well. So I thought she was she was just going to be this little sage. And I was loving it. I was loving just soaking every inch of her up, you know, just can’t take your eyes off him. So, at this point, I still haven’t ventured out. So it’s time for me to start living. There our stay in playgroups local and also what do you call them now? Health Visitor appointments to attend and all of this sort of stuff, but bearing in mind, I’ve still got SPD. So this was the condition that had me on crutches for basically half of my pregnancy. I’m still experiencing this pain. So for a lot of women, it can go away once the baby has been born. But in my case, it stayed. And for some women, it will finally go away when you finish breastfeeding. So yeah, mine decided to stick with me as if life wasn’t hard enough. Um, yeah, so now I’m gonna go out with the baby for the first time, and it felt huge. So I got her already and we made our way down the stairs and I got her in the buggy and I just felt so proud stepping out but sort of still filled with dread. So we went to a midwife appointment.
And then there was a stay in playgroup. So I started, just sort of like going to the stay in playgroups, even though all I would do is sit in a rocking chair, and the baby would just want to nurse, but it was sort of nice to see other moms and stuff I say, nice. It’s not really my thing, mingling with random people. It’s just not, I’m very much an energy person. And the vibe is gotta be right. It’s got to be right. I’m not a small talk person, do you? Not? I mean, I want to get deep into your soul. Tell me what are your hopes and dreams? Not like, oh, nice weather today? Oh, oh, I like that baby grow. Like, it just doesn’t stimulate me. So I’ll just sit there in the rocking chair and, you know, get to grips with the nursing. And it was just, it was nice to sort of get out of the house, because I can see how easy it would have been to have not wanted to have left the house otherwise. But here’s the thing. When you become a mom, it’s like you automatically get put into a club with people that you’ve got nothing in common with, other than the fact that you basically gave birth around the same time. But I tried, you know, I did try with these groups. It’s like, oh, shall we? Shall we do coffee? And I’m like, Yeah, sure, why not. But there was an amazing little cafe around the corner, addresses Cafe rip, man, it closed down in the pandemic, which was really, really devastating because it had the most incredible injera, vegan, Ethiopian food, all sorts, it was just delicious. And I started going to this restaurant, which was based in the community center. So my thing would be to like, take moms there support this amazing little black owned business that was set up in the community. And I became really close, actually, with Addis, the lady who ran it, and it was just a really safe space for me to go and sit with the baby and nurse and have some amazing, healthy food at really affordable prices. So I’d be like, yeah, you want to go to the Georgia go to the community sent community center and have like a link up with these moms. And you’re just like, You know what? I’m just not really sort of vibing with these people. I’m a little bit more of a lone ranger in that respect, I suppose. Like I said, if the energy’s not right, I’d rather just not bother. And then there was another place which was around the corner, which had got like a little cafe and a little section for kids. And I went there. And it was like, it felt a little bit like Mean Girls. And these were all very middle class mums, who were there with their babies, and they’re all in their little groups. And I came along sort of hobbling with the pushchair. And I’m like, Oh, can I sit there? No, somebody’s sitting there. Well, it doesn’t look like it to me. Annabelle. Do you know what I mean? So so I just when they said no, that I couldn’t sit there, something. This big wave of emotion just came over me and I felt so vulnerable. So alone, I’m in London. My mum and dad are in Birmingham. I’m out here doing this mom thing feeling pretty lonely. haven’t really got any of my close friends around me. Yeah, I just felt pretty, pretty sad and low. But like I said, the community center, the Ethiopian cafe in the community center became my new spot. I didn’t have to hang around there with moms that I wasn’t really vibing with. I could just go in get comfy. Have a chat with Addis and just spend my days there was actually really nice. In fact, somebody I knew said to me. Oh, there’s a mom. I think you guys are gonna get along. Amazing. You are so similar. Why don’t you guys link up for a playdate? Well, sort of like a coffee date. So I was like, Okay, sounds like a great idea. So I agreed to meet this woman that I’ve never met with her kid at a leisure center in the cafe there. We had nothing in common, other than the fact that we were the same color. Listen, let me tell you, not all brown folk are the same. Like we couldn’t have been any more different, unlike what is similar about us other than the color of our skin. You’re trying to force bonds with people that you’ve got nothing more in common with then, like I’ve mentioned before, having a baby at the same time exiting human life out of your body at the same time. Time
doesn’t automatically mean good connection. So I am enjoying motherhood, enjoying it best when it’s just with my family rather than with random strangers stop being encouraged to link up with. But I am self employed. So I’m having to start thinking about taking on clients again, getting back into the swing of work. And I enjoyed work, I enjoy working on projects, I enjoy getting things going. And I could work from home with the baby. Everyone’s a winner, breastfeeding the baby while working on the laptop, I felt like I was a real G not going to lie. I was like, Look at me, working from home, baby attached to breast being productive, delivering projects. I was feeling myself at this point. This I think it was after like, maybe three months, I started doing bits of work again. And because I was working from home, you know, it wasn’t such a big, a big thing. Then there’s that those that thing when the baby sleeps you sleep, which is great. But how many other things are there that need to be done when you’re a new mom, and a new working mom? So, you know, I do think it is important that sometimes you let things slide. Like who cares if there’s dishes in the sink? Who cares if those dishes stay there until tomorrow? You know what, I’m not even going to judge you if the dishes are there for two days. Are you saying? Yes? Are you happy? Yet? Is the baby happier fed, sweet stuff, the dishes. Same with the Dustin and everything else? And I know what it’s like it gets on top of us doesn’t it as women when the house isn’t right. But sometimes you’ve got to prioritize yourself. Above all else, the dishes can wait. So you know I had to make the decision to let a few things slide prioritize on the health and happiness of my baby. And just trying to get back into the swing of work a bit. So a project start picking up. I’m starting to work more hours, the flat, we are very quickly outgrowing it now. You literally couldn’t swing a cat not that I would ever dream of swinging a cat. But yeah, basically it was a tiny it was a tiny flat. So we’re starting to look now for somewhere that we can move on to. Meanwhile, my daughter is growing, thriving. And it is no lie. When people say you get sort of sick a bit when you’re pregnant. Oh, it goes so fast. It goes so fast. You’re like yeah, yeah, you know, I’ve heard this a million times. But people go on about it. Because it does. It absolutely flies, we’ve got this newborn. Next thing, you know, it’s time to start weaning. So I’m excited now because I’m a big foodie. And I go to the farmers market and buy all of this organic veg and cook all of this, you know, from scratch organic stuff and making sure she’s getting the best and she’s exploring all the flavors. And it’s such an amazing time to be able to watch the still human start tasting food and getting to grips with it. And, you know, because the the way that they learn is through watching you isn’t it and observing because you put this food in their mouth, and it’s just like, what do you do with that, you know, and there’s anxieties then about choking and all of the sort of stuff that, you know, you start feeding them and they start retching and you’re like,
oh my god, it’s like, stay calm, stay calm. It’s okay. It’s just the gag reflex. So all of the sort of stuff that comes with weaning. And like I said, you know, we were so lucky that she slept like an absolute dream. But there’s people out there that they literally want to put a curse on you should people you don’t even know. Oh, that won’t last. Oh, how’s the new baby her? She’s sleeping people are obsessed with her new babies are sleeping. Oh, you know what? She sleeps really? Well all through the night. Yeah, well, that’s not gonna last or, you know, just digging you out and, and saying really negative stuff. And it’s like, all right, Karen, chill out. Do you know what I mean? Let me just enjoy my sleeping baby. But I basically feel like they manifested bad vibes for me. Because I think was it after six months, she stopped sleeping through the night and then started waking up quite regularly. And, you know, we all need sleep to function, don’t we? We’re not optimal. When we’re not sleeping properly. Especially when you’re working. Juggling a baby working from home. You’ve got to have yes sleep. I mean, I’m still not really feeling at my optimum. To be honest. Post childbirth. I’m carrying a lot of weight now more weight than I’ve ever carried before. I think from the beginning of taking on IVF I’m like five stone heavier. So not only am I adjusting to a much heavier body I’ve got this pelvic issue My back’s you know, just things aren’t quite feeling right. But I’m pushing my Self to be supermom. And you know, I am going to be this working mom and do all of this stuff. And we started getting towards the end of the year. Now, we found somewhere we’re trying to go through the process of setting up a move. I’ve got this new project that I’m working on, which is all set to go live at Christmas. Like what the heck were we thinking, pushing this project to go live at Christmas, building this ecommerce store, getting the product ready, getting all the packaging ready. All of the nightmares that come with that, getting this project launched and live, send it out the products are made Sometimes you’ve just got to learn the hard way. We were sending out posters. And I thought I’d found a real bargain these triangle shaped poster tubes. Oh, yeah, these will be great. Yeah, they’ll probably be great if Hermes had a little bit of respect for the stuff that they’re shipping. Basically, Hermes ruined my life that year. This was supposed to be my first magical Christmas with my new child, my note, you know, our new, newly formed family. We’ve jumped off the edge of the cliff in launching this project with substandard shipping materials, Hermes, trashing everything, so much of the stock that got sent out got totally destroyed over this Christmas period, which just caught caused no end of issues for us who have having to double up now. The stuff that people had ordered in time for Christmas had been trashed by Hermie squashed in the post. Got send all this new stuff that it’s getting really intense need to get everything ready for Christmas. Oh my gosh, what we’re moving in January, need to pack up this whole house. My husband’s lived here for like 20 years, and he’s got 20 years of accumulated stuff, plus a vinyl collection of around. What is it? 10,000 or 5000? In the 1000s. Yeah, and a baby and I’m self employed. What a glutton for punishment. Now I’m really starting to feel like this is the point where I started my physical demise. So I decided it had been arranged that the family were going to go on a trip to see Father Christmas. So I took the little one up to Brom and we went to go and see Santa’s not me having a panic attack in Santos frigging grotto. Honestly, I was so burnt out and overstretched at this point, trying to do it all trying to be supermom trying to be Entrepreneur of the Year
Without taking care of myself. And this is the thing sometimes when you’ve got goals and ambitions and drive, you can push yourself, push yourself to a point where it’s counterproductive. Absolutely counterproductive. Now, I’m a jittering anxious mess. At Christmas. I couldn’t even drive my car back. I think my bro had to drive me back. Oh, it was just I’d gone up to Brom with a view of going to see Santa then go back home for a few days, get all the presents. And then we were going to go back up to Brom to spend Christmas with the family. I was too frightened to even drive the car back to London. So Christmas, what a stress. My husband was left in London without a car. He had to end up getting the train up to bro on like Christmas Eve. Because he was still on. It was just a disaster. But I was feeling really burnt out. And then we had to keep pushing in the new year to get this house moved to go through. It was such a big move a bless the poor removal guys. This is why I advocate for minimalistic living, guys, if you could do it, do it stuff. Stuff. Is it surplus to requirements? Well, I mean, my husband would beg to differ because this is his vinyl cutting that we’re talking about. But no, I’m not talking about the collection with that level of disrespect. It’s an amazing collection that’s been bought up over, you know, hundreds of years. And it’s immense. It wasn’t just why not but that was a huge part of it was all the rest of the stuff. Live a minimal life guys, save yourself the stress, save the planet in the process. So I’m still doing my digital marketing stuff. I’m still doing the mother stuff, still running these other little side hustle projects trying to get these things off the ground. And now we’re moving house. What is going on? It’s all happening at once. So finally we move house. Amazing. We’re in literally, like, the day after we moved in. We were like, Okay, I’m gonna take the baby to Birmingham. Give my husband chance to sort some of the house had because it was just box city. So I went up to Brom. At the same time my daughter had come down with some illness. We ended up having to take take her to hospital. I then caught it in hindsight now, probably COVID came back to London from Birmingham, my husband had done an amazing job in sorting out quite a lot of stuff. But I was ill, he was ill, we had this two week period of just feeling like absolute, how my family are in Birmingham. It was it was just a really dark time, really dark time. When you’re ill, and you’re responsible for a kid, like there’s no putting yourself first little human always has to come first little humans schedule has to prevail, doesn’t matter how you feel. Doesn’t matter how you feel, you got to keep pushing through, still got clients to serve, still got projects that need to move, I was a burn the hell out. burn out. My cousin and his girlfriend at the time now fiance had come down from Scotland for a visit. And we went out for breakfast brunch, and they could see how totally written off I was and bless them, they were like, let us take the little one will look after her you go home, do what you need to do rest chill was due to be having a photo shoot the next day. So they were like Go and wash your hair, do whatever you need to do. So I was like, alright, we’ll do that. And sometimes, that’s the best gift you can give parents, you know, is just an hour or two, to get some stuff done. Now, I’m not trying to get out of my parents in responsibilities. But you know, parents in order for parents to be the best that they can be for their little people. That includes taking time out to rest, recover, recoup, take time to do you and get your things done. So that little timeout to get my hair washed was such a help. But something else that was happening now is I was experiencing a really bad backache. And this is the point now that starts building up to my spinal cord injury. And that was the first episode I think that I started with was pretty much telling my story about my spinal cord injury. So that’s it full circle, big life, what a life it has been so far. What a life has been so far.
So I think it’s up to us, as mothers as women, to really be ruthless about taking responsibility for ourselves. And I know it’s hard when you’ve got kids. And if you’re lacking in a bit of support, or family that are close or able to, to lean on. It can be really isolating. And sometimes there’s no choice because when you’re a mama, you’ve got to show up for your kid. And, you know, yeah, that does mean resulting in burnout sometimes. So I’m just wondering, what can we do as women, mothers or not to factor in some really carefully considered time to make sure that we’re not reaching burnout? How can we be mindful of our boundaries? And what can we do to better communicate to potential support networks, our needs, because Mama’s our kids need us, you know, so they need us to be functioning, they need us to be functioning, I would definitely not recommend taking too much on I was in such a rush to get my business life back, get back onto this entrepreneurship journey, that I neglected actually that the best thing that I could have done is slow down. Take some time out. Really take the time to think about what is my key objective for this period. For this quarter for this year, you need to figure that out. And once you know what your objective is, anything else that doesn’t fit within that just needs to sort of fall by the wayside a little bit. Not every single thing needs to be your priority. Because sis, we need to to be strong, healthy and sane. So thank you for listening to this episode of the coal power podcast. Don’t forget to send me a selfie of where you’re listening from. I love that. Let me know if you’ve experienced anything similar to what I’ve just been talking about in this episode. Share with me your favorite quotes. And don’t forget I’m also now inviting people to book a call with me a free discovery call. Maybe you’re like how I was Feeling overstretched feeling burnt out, struggling with where to prioritize. Let’s have a call thrashing stuff out and see what we can do to help you stay balanced, stay sane, but stay productive. So called friend if you want to do that you can visit the website, the curl squad.com forward slash work with Zoe if you want to book in a call. Don’t forget, we’ve also got the merchandise on the website. So you can have a little look at that while you’re there. But come and follow us over on Instagram. You can follow me personally, which is Zoe dot e dot Fox. Or you can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok Twitter, at the curl squad. I love the way that this community is building and growing. I love the interaction from you guys that let me know that, you know I’m heading in the right direction. And that there’s people out there that these messages are resonating with, I knew I wasn’t going to be on my own. Do you know what I mean? Which is why it’s really important for me to stand up and speak my truth from my heart so that it resonates with you and your heart and you know that you’re not alone. Because if you’re maybe two three years back from where I am now, and you know that you want a different future but you’re sort of stuck within your current situation. I’m just hoping that you know, hearing me talk gives you a little bit of optimism about what’s possible for the future. Oh, yeah. Don’t forget you can support the podcast buy me a coffee.com forward slash cow squad. Right then girlfriend. I’m sending you Big Love and Blessings for the week ahead. harness the energy of life sending you big big love. I can feel the blessings just waiting to rain down on all of us. Have a great week girlfriend. Big Love Peace out and I will catch you next week.
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