Learning that she’s not invincible is just one of the ways Sunrise reporter Edwina Bartholomew has adjusted to life as a working mum … but it’s a work in progress.
“I’d always operated on the theory that I can just keep going and going. And it’s not actually the case,” Bartholomew says.
“If I’m running on empty, the rest of the family falls in a heap as well. It’s been a big shift in thinking, actually.”
Bartholomew, 37, shares daughter Molly, 15 months, with husband Neil Varcoe. At home, Molly is on the move, “taking a few steps and falling on her bottom”, and at work, life is more hectic than ever.
Samantha Armytage’s recent departure from Sunrise triggered a reshuffle at Channel 7 that saw Bartholomew add news reading to her entertainment duties, while Natalie Barr stepped up to host the show alongside David Koch.
Like many new parents, Bartholomew says that she can be “a shocker” at prioritising her health and wellbeing.
“I’m probably the worst person to ask about so-called ‘self-care’ because it’s non-existent,” she says.
“I’ve been so focused on getting to work and getting home, and taking care of Molly and I don’t schedule time in my day to exercise or take care of myself.
“I’ve noticed myself becoming more exhausted, I put my head down in the afternoon and it’s like trying to climb out of a well when I wake up.
“It’s definitely something I need to prioritise, it doesn’t come naturally.”
Bartholomew says she has traded in the high-intensity workouts she loves for a more practical alternative.
“We walk to the park, have a quick play on the equipment. And there’s YouTube workouts to do at home in the afternoon, Molly loves the music, too, so I put it on the TV and do that,” she says.
“I’ve got better at not trying to fight it, but to incorporate it more; thinking laterally as opposed to resenting that you can’t get the time away.”
EDWINA’S TOP TIPS FOR WORKING MUMS
1. Schedule a workout. There’s a gym near my work, so when I have spare time I’ll book a class there straight after work.
2. Think laterally about exercise. It can be a workout in the park at the playground, or at home.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask mum, dad, nanny or a friend, ”Can I schedule a couple of extra hours in?”. Even just to sit in a cafe and read a book.
4. Buy the gear. I just ordered myself some new exercise pants because I realised I was wearing my maternity leggings. When you feel good in yourself you’re a better mum, wife, employee, person.
5. Diet is the final thing. For a long time I was just eating Molly’s leftovers. I’ve had to make sure I have meals in the fridge, do my own meal prep when I do hers.
For more on women’s health, check out the April edition of Wellness+ in your paper this Sunday.
Tune in tomorrow for Edwina’s regular SMARTdaily column The Juggle Is Real.