26 July 2023

Parenting her sons while keeping up with a corporate job had had a huge impact on Audrey Haffner.

Audrey has shared her story of why parenting multiples is tough and why we need to be kind to ourselves as parents.

She said: "I have a pair of very energetic nine-year-old twin boys, so I know too well how challenging it can be for mums to prioritise our own wellbeing. We run around looking after everyone else's needs, juggling the logistics of work, home and children and we too often forget ourselves in the process.

"I have experienced first-hand the consequences of putting my own needs and self-care aside for far too long. I went back to work when they were nine-months-old. As mums, we tend to take on a greater share of the mental load. Because of my husband's working arrangements I was doing all the logistics of drop off and pick-ups and commuting. I was still trying to do a good job as I didn't want my career to stall. I think it's pretty common for women to have that 'mum guilt'. I could see I was getting more and more stressed, yet I felt guilty to take time out to rest and relax.

"By the time my boys reached three, the cumulation of stress and exhaustion from my corporate job, my commute and parenting, led me to burning out. I started to catch every bug lying around, my hair began to fall out and I developed chronic pain and headaches. I felt completely stuck in a rut and couldn't see a way out."

Audrey, who is now a wellness coach, knew she had to make a change after realising she nothing left to give.

Audrey stands looking at the camera with a landscape in the background

She added: "The multiple element adds a layer of complication. Bonding is more challenging for multiples' parents."

Offering advice to multiples' parents, she added: "We need to break the mum guilt. Not taking time to look after yourself has knock-on effects." She suggested changing routines to make time for yourself as a parent and accepting help when it's available.

She added: "Looking after yourself shouldn't be the last thing on your list. I started to carve out a 20-minute window so I could do something for myself each day, and gradually started to take a little bit of time out for myself on weekends too. This was a challenge as I felt guilty, but also by this point I had realised this not only benefited me but my family too. I also found taking a few minutes each day to reflect and journal incredibly helpful."