The Importance of Rejuvenation with guest Tessia Watson

The Mental Health Mamas are back this week with guest Tessia Watson, mum and author of the new book Rejuvenated Mums Make Happy Kids. In the episode, Tessia discusses the importance of finding your true self after motherhood, having a responsibility to our own well being and building a support network. Listen in!

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Serena: Hey everyone, I'm Serena.

Tina: And I'm Tina,

Serena: And we are the Mental Health Mamas.


Serena: Welcome to No Need to Explain. We are so glad you're here.

Tina: First, as always, a quick disclaimer.

Serena: We come to you not as mental health professionals or experts in the field,

but rather as parents with lived experience who are on a mission to normalize the conversation around mental health.

Tina: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek professional support. You'll find a variety of resources in our show notes and on our website, .

Tina: Self-care, self-kindness, self-compassion, downtime, me time. Whatever you want to call it, the act of taking the time to care for ourselves as individuals is essential. And it is a theme for us, right, Serena?

Serena: Mm-hmm, sure is!

Tina: As parents and speaking from a mother's perspective, it can be challenging.

We have so many things on our plate, right? In an article from 2019,

so before pandemic we're talking about from Good Housekeeping Magazine and the title is Self-care for Moms Shouldn't Be Optional and I quote, the tendency to put yourself last is especially prevalent moms. According to a joint survey done by healthy women and working mother, 78% of moms report they put off taking care of their own health. Now, this is just health, because they're too busy working,

not looking after their loved ones.

Serena: Yes, and this is a theme for us because we struggle like everybody else.

And today's guest has earned her place in the self-care world. Tessia Watson, born in Paris and of Togolies and Caribbean heritage, has helped many families over the course of her successful career as a childcare pioneer. A single mother of two young kids, Tessio quickly learned that parenting is amazing, but can also be unbearably tough without the right support. Recognizing her own need,

Tessia embarked on a journey to support other mothers.

Tina: She has written a book entitled Rejuvenated Mums Make Happy Kids,

the wisdom guide that will transform you into a happier mother and help you set an example for your children. She's joined us from all the way from London, England.

Tessia Watson, welcome to the podcast.

Tessia: Thank you, both of you, for having me today. It's a great pleasure to be here and share my story.

Serena: So let's jump right in. And have you tell us a bit of your story

and how this book came about?

Tessia: So this book came about from my own experience as a new mother. I struggled a lot when I had my two at the time, babies, in terms of being who I was,

while I was taking care of them. At first, my main focus and my main thoughts

where to do everything that I can do to make sure that those two children are happy and growing healthy and that I have to give everything that I have

to make sure that it happens. So I did that. I just make sure that all their needs and we're met. They were my priority. And I forgot about who I was and my own needs

and what I wanted to do or what I loved as well. And I knew that it was not the right way to experience motherhood. How did I came to that realization is it was just my inner voice, telling me every day when I was not feeling that great that that's not the way there might be another way and hearing that was I didn't listen at first. It was just there all the time. And progressively I started to listen to it and I was starting to be convinced that way the minute. It might be another way.

Maybe I don't know the way, but I can create the way and to experience a better journey. And that's when I realized that of course there is another way and as soon as I found it and I experienced it, I decided just to share my story with others

because I know that so many mothers out there, they are living, they can relate to that and they are living the same experience as I did. So I just want to give hopes and to just show the way.

Tina: Yeah, we love that. And we love that sometimes just identifying

that is super important. So I have to say I sped read your book so I didn't read every single word but it's a very nice flow. And let's start at the beginning

and which makes perfect sense, right? The entirety of the part one kind of rejuvenate what's called rejuvenating your mind, body and spirit seems to be really addressing exactly what you're saying right now which is getting reacquainted.

With the you you were before you were a mom because I think sometimes we get very lost and I don't mean that in a negative way. I love being a mother.

I love it. I love my people. It was something I really wanted in my life and so many of us do, right? And it's important to be the people we are and find ourselves

because what I know at 54 years old is my kids are now people who, you know,

my daughter's gonna be a mother someday, hopefully in the next few years.

And I feel like now I need to find my own thing, right? And we're all gonna be at that place someday and slowly you need to find yourself and what is it that fuels you? And Serena and I know that we've done this for a while and found the things that fuel us and it's important to do that. So tell us a little bit about that reacquainting. You know, you talked about it a little bit but tell us a little bit more about that finding who you were before or what are the important? I guess what I'm saying is what parts of you do you think when you became a mom that you lost?

That you wanted to regain that you really had to be conscious about?

Tessia: Yeah, so what happened is I didn't exist anymore as Tessia out when I got the babies. It was all about them in terms of activities, in terms of care, in terms of, you know, the happiness. It was all about them. Before having them, I was doing things for myself. I was going out, I was meeting with friends, I was exercising, I was going, you know, I was working out. I was doing lots of different things that I wanted to do. And the other things that I was doing was part of who I was. That's a decision that we make in terms of who we are. And when I became a mother, all of this stopped completely. It's not even that I was, and I understand that it's a lot of,

you know, it's a big responsibility to have children. And it's okay because you have to re-adjust your routine and everything. But to stop everything for a couple of years, for a couple of years, it means that you're not anymore who you were,

you are a mother, but I'm not just a mother. And that's what I did by stopping everything. Like it's completely stopped everything. It means that I'm just a mother for a couple of years. So it was very, it was difficult to be honest. It was really difficult because I missed, you know, lots of who I was before. I missed, you know, going out with some friends. I missed, you know, dressing up. I missed lots of different things. And I was convincing myself that it's the way to be, that's the way to be now, to behave. Because probably because we all have been conditioned this way. Because I don't understand why naturally you can stop everything you love. And you just do one thing you love. I love taking care of the boys. I love, as you said it as well, being, you know, I love to be a mother as well. But I love other things. So I just realized, and I mentioned it earlier progressively, that it days are not a way because I still want to do those things. And I know that some, some can relate to that. And some other mothers might find that it's absolutely fine for them to be just a mother for a couple of years. And then it's absolutely great. Because you don't feel that there is anything missing. But in my experience, it was not okay.

And, you know, and some mothers can relate to that as well. So, yeah, suddenly you're not out who you were. And you decide of who you are at any moment, you know. So I started to ask myself, what would you like to do? And I answered that question. I just said, I just want to go back to, you know, exercise. It's, if it's not the way I used to do, I just want to do it sometimes, you know. And, and that's when I started to take action and research of, you know, a gym nearby and started to go to classes. You can even imagine how I felt the first day after years of not doing something for myself, being in that class and I was like, what is, it's like a dream coming true. And, and as soon as I started to do that, I added more and more things that, you know, define me that I love that I enjoy doing. And that's where I kind of reconnect to who I am. It happened this way for me.

Serena: So I'm curious what you would say, I'm imagining, maybe some people listening saying, I don't have time for that, right? I'm, you know, taking care of small children and what would you say to them? What, how did you figure it out?

Tessia: I, I thought the same thing that I didn't have time until I decided that I have time. So it's all about a decision here. It's all about a commitment to yourself.

And when you take that decision that I will find a time or I have time, ideas will start

to come in your mind, idea like talking to your partner about maybe can, you know, be with the kids when you decide to do whatever you want to do, or if it's not possible, ideas will come, you will try to find someone who can be with your children, someone you trust for you to be able to do that, or you're going to maybe consider a child setting, a child setting, it's, I don't know which idea will come because everybody is different. In my case, I didn't have family around me, but some might have family or friends that get that can, you know, help out or support, and they can reach out to those people. So it's up to your, you know, contacts and condition, but as soon as you decide, that's what you want to do, you will make it happen.

Tina: So Tessia, in a previous conversation, you talked, so what we know to be true is that the best way to be the best parent we can be is to build our support network, right? And you talked about the fact that you lived far away from family, which is really the way that many of us live now in our country, in many countries, in the world, right? We don't live near our families. And so, tell us a bit about how you build that support network so that you could, because what I'm hearing you say is, in order to be the best person that I can be, which makes you the best mother that you can be, which makes your kids the best happy people that they could be, is to build that network of support so that you can do the things that you need to do to be the best person that you can be. So tell us about how you build that network specifically.

Tessia: Yes. So at first, no network, no, no, no, no, no, no. And when I decided that I, yeah, it was about time, I started to look for childcare settings. That was the first thing that I, you know, started to look for. And then, because, you know, in different activities, you can, you know, meet other parents. And so everybody is talking, you know, about how, you know, they care for their children if they have help or not.

And in my case, I couldn't rely on, you know, any family members. So I started to discuss those kinds of things with friends. And they were having nannies or babysitters. And I was, ooh, I need to explore a bit more that childcare option.

And I was scared at first because they are strangers, right? I don't know them.

But in the world that we are now, because, and you said it, so many of us are living far away from, you know, from our families, that everybody has to kind of rely on, on strangers, you know? So it's great nowadays because you have recommendations, you have reviews, your friends can tell you as well.

So you can trust a bit more easily than if you don't know nothing about that person ahead of time. So that's what I did. I went to find a childcare setting where my child could stick a couple of hours there. At first, I didn't find it.

That's why I created mine, but by the time I created mine, my boys were already older. So they couldn't really benefit from that. And, but I found something for them. And I had someone who came in to help me. And I was, you know, obviously making sure that I know about her. I mean, through all the people that, you know, made recommendation because I really was really, it was really scary for me.

And at first, I didn't even leave the children with her. I needed first to build a trust with that person. And as soon as it was the case, I was feeling more, you know, obviously really, really relaxed and confident that it's okay. And the same babysitter, she was babysitting, you know, the kids of another friend. And she was saying so nice things about her. So I get in touch with her. And I loved her.

She's like, I consider as, you know, part of the family. So because I wanted to be a state-home mom and raise my children and be the most, you know, the, the main, sorry, carer all the time, I had some support. But I control that. I control the support that I wanted or needed. And because I still had, you know, this goal of, you know, being so present for them. But that's the way I started and because I created my own child care setting, I was hiring, you know, obviously professionals, nannies.

So I had so many people now that I, you know, was working with that I could even trust if it was needed. So that's the way I've, you know, I've done it. So it could, it could be any ways. But I think going for a child care setting, it's very, um, it's very something you can rely on. It's really reliable because it's so many teachers.

It's not just one person and you don't have that kind of attitude where sometimes nannies can have where, you know, their late or they're not coming for whatever reason. This is reliable. You know that it's open, you know, that it's open this day of the week or a few days of the week and you can really rely on them to drop your child for a couple of hours. So I think that's, that's a great way. And sometimes we feel as mothers that it's bad, you know, that someone else care for your

child, you're supposed to do it and this narrative has to change. It really has to change because we all know that we can't provide all the learning for our children.

Our country plays a two years old, you know, child. So when my child goes to nursery and interact with other children with his peers, I can?t replace that and my child will learn from, you know, those interactions and being with other children.

So it's really important and because I was in my nursery, I can say that the children

are happy without parents. This is a fact, so the idea that the child wouldn't be happy or is going to feel, I don't know, uncomfortable or whatever.

This is not true as long as the child has been, you know, settled, it's not just

Men. So obviously at first, they don't know what's going on, but once they're settled, it's happiness on their face. So they're not sad because mommy or daddy is not here. They're happy because there is my friend, you know, and my other friend and I love being with Tessia as well. So we have to really talk about those topics a bit more for mothers or parents to just be more confident in the fact that they can let someone else either, you know, child care service or, you know, a person to care for their children.

Serena: Yeah, great, great thought. So you have a chapter in your book called The Responsible Mom and I think it would most of us think responsible, we often think of our responsibility to others, but you've kind of flipped this into not only being responsible for your children, but having respect and responsibility for yourself.

Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Tessia: Yes, of course. In this chapter, I just want to emphasize on the fact that, yes, it's a new responsibility for any mother to care enough for a human being and it's huge, huge one and a new parent. So we all get that, but we shouldn't forget that. It's not because we have this new responsibility that we are not any more responsible to care for ourselves and I don't know, we don't do that.

When the baby is here now, we're so happy and we know that it's a new responsibility and that we're going to do our best, but we don't think about us.

We don't. It's all about them and we have to be more responsible and aware of the fact that when we do that, when we take care, you know, of ourselves, when we take time for ourselves, we just better and greater, you know, at our role of, you know, being a mother. I didn't do that. I didn't care for myself, but I still believe that I was a great mom. The point is, if you care for your children and care as well for yourself, you are not just a great mom. You are a greater mom. That's because I know that my children were happy when I was not taking care of myself, but this is my experience. Some mother, they're not going into just not taking care of themselves, they start to have mental issues, they start to have depression, I wasn't there, but I know some, some of my friends actually experienced that and it's not necessary. It goes to that because you don't care for yourself. You don't recognize the person you became. And that's why negative, you know, thinking of vibrations starts to kick in. It's because you don't recognize the person you are now.

So you're not happy. And that's why it's so important to care for yourself, but this is your responsibility. No one would do it for you. No one would do it for us.

Tina: Well, we definitely have to take good care of ourselves. That is for sure.

And I want to touch on this one, there's a ton in this book, good information.

I want to make sure that we touch on one other thing, which is forgiving yourself.

Can you talk just a little bit about this? I am not good at forgiving myself. Just touch on it a little bit if you could.

Tessia: To be honest, I was not. Why? Because I've never been exposed to that.

That's a simple answer. I've never seen my mom when she starts to scream or to start, you know, whatever she starts, she never said ever. Oh, I should have done, I shouldn't have done this. I'm sorry. Never happened. So when I became a mother, naturally, I don't know how to do this kind of thing, like I am the adult and I am the one responsible for you. So I just, you know, do my best. And if I've made, you know, if I've made some mistakes, well, you know, you will deal with I don't know.

You don't even think about that that you are making mistakes or whatever. Because I was so interested about, you know, raising well, children, making sure, you know,

they're happy. I decided to do an introspection and to go back, I went back to my childhood and I just kind of revisited it and see what I liked about it and what I didn't. And once I've done that, I decided that I will try my best to do things differently. And I remember that I would have loved, you know, at the time my mom saying that, oh, for this, I was wrong because I couldn't notice that when she was doing things that I went not, you know, really the right thing to do. So I remember that I would have loved her to, you know, confirm as well to just say that

it's not, it's not the right things to do. So I remember that and I said, I will do something different and I will say when I can see, of course, sometimes you do mistakes, you don't even see them. But when you are aware of them, I will make sure that I will do something different. And this is so, wow, it's so helpful in terms of, you know, forgiveness. It helps you so much to just let it go because you've done something that it was not, you know, proud of it. But because you acknowledged it, you went back to your children and you said, I'm sorry, I should have done that.

But I did it because whatever, you just move on. This thing is not, you know, from the past, you have resolved it and it's gone. But when I know that some parents that can feel sometimes that, some circumstances or even are happened and they didn't really manage it well, but they didn't really address it, but they didn't, you know, go to the children or whatever, most of the time, we just relieve that woman.

The moment is in the past, we are not in the present, but because it's still there.

The guilt is still there and you're not happy about it. You just think again about it, but you just don't think about it. You relieve it in terms of emotions.

So you can be comfortable or sad, whatever, or you can have anger, whatever the emotion was at the time when you experience it, you just relieve it again.

So it kind of still your present moment because you are still in your past while it's

still in your past, but if you had forget yourself about it, then the past did the past

and you just don't think about it anymore. You have just let it go. So I think it's so important to do that because it's just, you know, still your beautiful moments of the present because you're still relieving your past again and again. Whatever it is, if it's related to your children or something else, the principle is the same for whatever situation you can experience. So I think it's so important and I'm really grateful because I've done that introspection. So I was able to, when I was raising the boys to straight away implement that and the response was amazing.

That was amazing. That was so beautiful. I remember when I've done something that I was not that proud of it and I went back to one of my child in particular and I said, I'm so sorry, I should have done that. The response. It's okay, mom. I loved you. Wow. I was like, no judgment, nothing, love. So it encourages me, it encouraged me to continue on this, you know, including that in my parenting style and you just realized that when you mistakes, you know, everybody may, you know, we all do that. We all make mistakes, but mistakes just lead to success because it just point the way to success because the fact that I've made that mistake, whatever it was, a mistake, the fact that I acknowledge I'm getting better, you know, in letting go, I'm getting better in acknowledging my mistakes, I'm getting better in communicating with my child when I've done something, you know, wrong, I'm getting better. So the mistake here really helps us, you know, to grow and to just, you know, become better at what we do. So we should change as well, our past, but our perspective of, you know, mistakes and, and you know, stop the guilt by really see the mistake as something that help us grow rather than, you know, something that should make us feel guilty or bad. I think it's really important.

Tina: Me too. Great. Awesome. Thanks for joining us today, Tessia, and sharing your perspective on motherhood and so much more about becoming ourselves, right? And we will share the link to your website,, and that gives people all the information on how to connect with you and all social media and such. And thanks for being with us.

Tessia: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

Tina: And so podcast friends, we are always grateful for all of you listening and supporting us. You can help us out by visiting Apple Podcasts, leave us a review while you're there. We have a bunch of reviews, but we would love some more.

Please subscribe and share the podcast with others. You will find more content on our website, . You will also find us on all the socials and we would love to hear from you.

Serena: And this is your gentle reminder to take good care of yourself. You're also taking care of your people.

Tina: Thanks so much for listening.

Serena: Bye.