Has motherhood changed you in such a way, that sometimes you don’t recognize yourself? You look around at your toy-filled living room. wearing your sweat pants again, on a Friday night and think… what happened here? You realize its been months since you have been on a date, months since you have had a night out with your friends, and maybe longer since your last haircut.
Motherhood has taken over and somehow you have gotten lost in the shuffle.
I love being a mom, I love fun nights of playing hide and seek and play dough. Legos building and movie nights with popcorn. It’s the best! But should it be every night? We need balance, am I right?
Having a family can have a very isolating effect on you, it can make you so exhausted that you’d rather just stay in than hit the town. Especially when staying home means wearing your sweat pants! Those sadly can be hard to compete with. And babysitters aren’t cheap after all. So night after night, these excuses turn into habits and your family life is your social life.
Adults need alone time. Married people need to go on dates. Parents need to prioritize their own lives. It can be hard to leave your kids and go out and live your own life. It can make you feel guilty, it can be hard to say goodbye, especially if it’s a crying toddler who won’t let go. But I think it is SO important to the health of your marriage and your mental health to carve out time alone.
Ever since becoming a mother I have been trying to feel “normal” again. I think back and remember myself before I had a baby and it’s as if I’m remembering an old friend or a character in a movie. I’m not at all the same person. Not in the least. And that is ok! But I did like myself before kids, I spent lots of time working on myself, my career, building friendships and I had personal goals. And once I became a mom, all of that seemed to come second.
You walk in the hospital one person and come out another one.
Not only are you forever changed, your responsibilities in life just got a lot harder. Becoming a mother was a little bit of an identity crisis for me. I loved it, I truly love being a mom, but it has taken me a while to get myself back to a mentally healthy place.
As a new parent, it can be hard to find the distinction between the areas in your life. I just put all my time and energy into the “mother” area and lost the balance. Less and less went into the “me” bucket. I didn’t realize soon enough that I needed a personal life, an area that filled me with joy, that was separate than my family. Somewhere I didn’t need to be a mom. I could just be me.
I’m in the middle, of the old me and the new me.
One minute life is all work and play, and then 40 weeks, 3 days and 20 plus hours of labor later, bam you are a caretaker of someone you immediately love more than life itself. That love overtook the love I had for myself and I didn’t realize I wasn’t getting the care and attention I needed.
Nurses show you how to hold your new baby right, how to breastfeed them while laying on your side, or how to feed them with a bottle. You learn how to bathe them, how to change their diaper…. and on and on. How to care for there every need. And we take it all home and do the best we can, at times maybe obsess and over worry about our abilities.
But the thing is no one showed me how to care for myself during this journey.
I think back to the earliest days of postpartum when Lu needed to have surgery and not a single doctor asked me how I was doing! I became flooded with fears and postpartum anxiety, all to which probably could have been avoided had a doctor asked me how I was doing. I wasn’t asking how I was doing either.. because I was just living it. In the trenches without a second to think about it. I was being the best mother I could, selfless and caring. Had I found the help I needed to care for myself more, I would have been a healthier happier mom.
Five years later, I am working hard to find the balance between self-care and caring for my family. I am no longer suffering from postpartum anxiety, and I feel like I am more grounded each day! I have found my personal life, and have been feeding that area more and more. It takes effort and it takes reflecting on where your time is going and a real deep look into if you are happy or not.
Moms ( and Dad’s ) need love and care too! And we shouldn’t have any guilt or shame in admitting it. It’s more than a monthly moms night out, its more than a yoga class with a friend on the weekend. For me, I need to find ways to care for myself even more. I think it needs to be a daily devotional, some time to journal, drink tea in quiet, take a bath and watch Netflix- whatever you need.
How do you balance between self-care, and caring for your children and family? Are you getting enough me-time?