From The Straits Times    |

Credit: Riyan Rupani

Mum guilt. Most mothers would have felt it at some point or another. I’m no different, and I still struggle at times when taking care of myself, my family, and my career. We often tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the priority list. But if there is one thing that I’ve learnt the hard way, it’s that “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.

I found my calling in the field of nutrition through my own health journey. Before that, I spent 15 years working in the corporate world. I was a “Type A” workaholic who didn’t realise the impact of my lifestyle until my health issues gave me a wake-up call. Like a lot of women today, I was suffering from fertility, adrenal, digestive, and autoimmune issues. My struggle with fertility was my tipping point. After years of doctor visits, medication, and a lot of feeling sorry for myself, I had had enough. I found the power of food and lifestyle, and managed to change my life.

Today, I am a mother to three beautiful little boys. I simply cannot imagine my life without them. Once
I became a mum, I wanted to always be there for my children, and the thought of doing something for myself felt selfish.

However, this feeling of “duty” started to fade as the more I did things for myself, the more I realised how much I enjoyed my time with my family. I was at a full-day workshop back in 2018 and I remember that I felt so energised by it. Still, I was excited for the day to end so I could be with my family. It was such an incredible feeling to know that I didn’t have to choose one over the other.

The more my cup was filled, the better I was at filling my children’s. The time I spend with them isn’t
about quantity but quality, and the time I spend on self-care is far from being selfish. It makes me a better mum – I am calmer, I don’t sweat the small stuff, and am much more present when we are together.

If you struggle with mum guilt, here are some tips that I live by:

Remember your importance

Visualise what would happen to your loved ones if you could no longer care for them. This will hopefully remind you that taking care of yourself is a must.

Make time for you

Block your calendar for a few hours on a day when you can focus on you. For me, it’s Friday afternoons. I don’t take meetings or clients, and I use the time for activities I enjoy.

Have a meal plan

I spend 30 minutes every Saturday putting together a weekly meal plan. That way, I have everything I need, and am not rushed or worried about what to cook when the week gets busy.

Say NO

“NO” stands for Nourish Oneself. Saying no to things that aren’t good for me, or things that I don’t want
to do, allows me to say yes to the things I want to do, and will be good for me.

Connect with Riyana Rupani at and on Instagram and Tiktok @healthyishandhappy.