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Orla Breeze

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The Seven Secrets of Motherhood

Posted on 25 September 2012 by Annerley

Orla Breeze

Orla Breeze, workshop facilitator

I’m really putting myself on the line here. I may even end up being excommunicated from the Church of All Mothers but darn it, I’m going to reveal the secrets of motherhood. Yes I know I’m not supposed to but hey, rules were made to be broken so hang on to your baby flab because here we go….

Secret Number One

Motherhood absolutely does not come naturally.  In fact it comes about as naturally as climbing a tree does to a fish. Yes it’s true that some women have more of an aptitude for the job than others but just because everyone tells you that you’re going to be a natural mother doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be. It takes time to learn a new skill especially when you’ve just spent nine months growing a human being inside you. Don’t expect it all to fall into place as soon as you get home. If you were starting any other new job, you would probably expect some bumps in the road for the first few months and that’s probably the most realistic way to view motherhood. Take each day as it comes and don’t be afraid to ask for help…often!

Secret Number Two

Guess what, you’ve just made a complete career change and your new job is nothing like your old one! Picture this…you’re at work one day and your boss calls you into his office. The following conversation ensues:

Boss:    We’ll be making a few changes around here. In approximately 9 months, we’re going to move you into a new department. In fact, we’re going to change your job completely.

You:     Well can you give me some more information on the job requirements? I may not be suited to it.

Boss:    You’re perfectly suited. Being a woman, it’ll all come naturally enough. Can’t give you too much information at this point.  It’s a kind of a ‘learn-as-you-go’ experience. There are a few books you can read but, to honest, they’re really only a rough guide and some information could turn out to be completely wrong.

You:      (anxiously) That doesn’t sound too reassuring. Can’t I just stay where I am?

Boss:     (laughing) Oh no! This is something you’ve wanted for a long time. You’re going to love every single minute.

You:      (breaking into a sweat) But it’s a promotion – right? More responsibility, more money?

Boss:     Oh it’s definitely more responsibility but I’m afraid we’ll be cutting out your salary completely. And your holidays and your lunchtimes and coffee breaks and also your sleep.

You:      (panicking) My sleep?!? Why would my job have anything to do with my sleep?

Boss:     Oh didn’t I mention? The hours are rather long. 24/7 initially mellowing out to about 16 hrs a day…after the first 7 months or so.

You:      Are you out of your mind?

Boss:     No but you will be……

Not so surprising that so many of us feel overwhelmed, exhausted and yes…..completely out of our minds.

Secret Number Three

Just because our mothers made some sacrifices for their kids doesn’t mean that we have to. The majority of our mums were expected to stay home, raise the children, clean the house and not complain about it. They really had no choice. The idea of having any time to themselves whatsoever was considered laughable. But times have changed and so have we. Nowadays a lot of women have a full-on career before they become mums. Most women have been financially independent. All women could pretty much come and go as they pleased.  The good news is that we don’t have to ‘sacrifice’ that part of ourselves anymore. Make a plan either before you become a mum or, if you’re already one, as soon as possible. It’s incredibly important to have some ‘me-time’ for a whole number of reasons. Every other job on the planet provides breaks, lunch hours and holidays.  Motherhood should be no exception. So ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where can I schedule in regular ‘me-time’? eg a weekend afternoon or a regular weekly lunch with a friend.
  • Which weekend morning is my lie-in morning? i.e. You sleep in on a Sat, hubbie sleeps in on a Sun
  • Can hubbie and I schedule one night-out a week together?
  • What time of the year can I go away without the family for a long weekend?

Having some time for you makes a HUGE difference to your happiness. Believe me, I’m talking from experience! And you never know, if your mum sees you doing it and enjoying life, she may do the same for herself.

Secret Number Four

There seems to be an unwritten rule that women shouldn’t admit to any difficulties they’re facing as a mother. Everything should appear to be going really well even if you’re very busy falling apart inside. It’s difficult to admit to what you perceive as a ‘failure’ when you’ve probably been very successful in your previous career (or continued career). As a result, you’ll find that most mums would rather tell you how great it’s going instead of the truth. That’s not to say that every woman is having a hard time but I would hazard a guess that most are coming up against some challenges pretty frequently! So don’t be afraid to tell another mum what’s really going on. If we don’t start to break this cycle, we’ll all end up with nervous breakdowns! Share your true stories and be amazed at how every other mum knows exactly what you’re going through.

Secret Number Five

Nobody and I repeat nobody will think you don’t love your baby just because you’ve mentioned how much s/he is winding you up. Babies are excellent at pushing our buttons and you’d have to be a saint not to complain about them from time to time (or all the time!)

Secret Number Six

Normal physical side effects of Motherhood:

  • Piles – Go see a doctor, get the cream and use it!
  • Constipation – Ooowwweeeey! Do whatever it takes to get it out!
  • Pelvic Pain – Get checked over by a physio/chiropractor/bodyworker of choice to see if any adjustments need to be made.
  • Back Pain – ditto
  • Neck/Shoulder Pain – ditto
  • Hair Loss/Thinning  - Usually lasts a few months. Talk to your hair stylist before jumping the gun and getting a hair transplant in Sydney, your hair will eventually grown back. Unlike your husband’s!
  • Low Sex Drive – Exhaustion, stress and a body you no longer recognise do not contribute to feeling sexy. Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling. Ask him to take plenty of time to get you in the mood and you’ll slowly find your libido returning. Slowly being the operative word!

Secret Number Seven

Just because Motherhood is essentially unpaid doesn’t mean that it has no value.  Motherhood is the most joyful, fulfilling, amazing journey of your life. Nothing compares to it. In fact, it’s the most important job on this planet and I’m not just saying that because it sounds good (although let’s face it, it does) but because it really is. A child shows us what true unconditional love is. S/he bursts our hearts wide open to teach us that we too can be unconditionally loving. Has any other job ever done that for you or even come close? As a mum you have the ability to shape and mould your child/ren into becoming amazing adults who will go on to change the face of humanity.  So next time someone tries to make you feel like you’re doing nothing of value, just think about the pride you’ll feel when you hear your grown-up children say that they couldn’t have done it without you.

For  more secrets of motherhood, sign up for the next Truth About Motherhood workshop with Orla Breeze.  Begins Friday Oct 5th at Annerley. For full details click here


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I Need More Time! – tips for time management

Posted on 04 July 2012 by Annerley

Time takes on a whole new meaning when we become a mother. What time did baby wake up? How much time did s/he sleep today? Is there enough time to get to the shops before baby needs to be fed again? A sudden, acute awareness of time management enters our lives and gets almost as much attention as our new arrival. But the biggest change in our perception of time is how little is left for us. We look fondly back at the days when we could sit down with our feet up and watch a whole episode of anything followed by a nice long bath without any interruptions. But the truth is, we can still have this kind of me-time (I know, it sounds impossible but bear with me!) if we just learn a few simple ways to manage our days.

I say this a lot but just because baby comes first does not mean that you come last. I’m not suggesting that you ignore the very many needs of your child but I am suggesting that you don’t ignore yourself. If you can promise yourself one definite regular piece of time for yourself each week, it can make the challenging times easier to get through. Knowing that you have some me-time to look forward to no matter what gives you something to hold onto.

Choose one thing that you love to do – whether that’s a massage, a meet-up with your friends, a simple walk by yourself – and firmly slot it into your week at a time when you know that nothing can get in the way of it. Make sure it’s a time when your partner is home so that he knows that your me-time is his baby-time.  In that way, it becomes a priority for both of you. You get to spend some time with your lovely self and he gets to have some time alone to get to know his child.

There are many other ways to make time for you and you can learn about these at our new Truth About Motherhood workshop. It’s also a chance to spend an hour a week focussing on you. Just imagine, one whole hour just for you….


The Truth About Motherhood is a 4-part workshop for Mums-only that will give you plenty of tips, techniques and true stories about life as a Mum in Hong Kong. And because we know how precious your time is, we’re keeping each workshop to just one hour each week. So if you want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from someone who’s been through it all three times, simply click here!

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Are you a Natural Mother?

Posted on 27 June 2012 by Annerley

Before I became a Mum, a few people told me that I would be a Natural Mother and I believed them. I didn’t see any reason not to. In fact, it comforted me to know that I could skip towards motherhood safe in the knowledge that it would all come naturally to me. But then I gave birth and realised pretty fast that they weren’t just a little bit wrong, they were completely and utterly wrong! Looking back, I can understand why I wanted to believe them but the fact is, it was never going to happen.

The truth is there’s no such thing as a Natural Mother (so if you answered the above question with a no, you can breathe a sigh of relief!). It’s true that some women have more of an aptitude for it than others but to have some kind of natural all-encompassing knowledge of something you have never experienced before just doesn’t make any sense. If I was to begin any other job in any other field, I wouldn’t expect to know it all before I began. Sure I would spend time researching and asking questions but my expectation would be to learn the vast majority on the job. It’s the same for Motherhood. The job of taking care of another human being – feeding, clothing, routines etc – is not something that we learn by osmosis from our own mothers or simply because we’re female. It’s something that we learn as we go. However, for one reason or another, we sometimes get a strange idea that we’ll just know what our baby needs when s/he needs it. Don’t get me wrong, we do reach this place eventually but no faster than we would reach a similar sense of certainty in any other situation. It takes time for all of us. Every baby is different as is every mother.

What does help is to ask, ask and keep on asking. Some responses you’ll consider, others you’ll discard but each piece of advice will help you to get to that place of certainty faster. Here, at Annerley, we want to support you in getting to that place so this July we’re introducing a whole new workshop just for that purpose. The Truth About Motherhood is a 4-part workshop for Mums-only that will give you plenty of tips, techniques and true stories about life as a Mum in Hong Kong. And because we know how precious your time is, we’re keeping each workshop to just one hour each week. So if you want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from someone who’s been through it all three times, simply click here!


Orla Breeze works with new parents and parents-to-be here at annerley where she runs her popular workshops Daddy 101 & The Truth About Motherhood

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