Losing Yourself in Motherhood & How to Connect with the Real You
There’s one thing that we don’t generally talk about, and that’s how easy it is to completely lose yourself in motherhood. We get so consumed by the day to day stuff. Caring for our babies, running errands, working, keeping our house clean, and keeping track of it all that we forget who we were before becoming a mom… the list is literally never-ending. We give and give to everyone else through these years, and tend to completely forget about our own needs, wants and desires.
One day you’re going on with your life and then it will be like hitting a wall, the woman you were before having kids seems so distant. You don’t remember the last time you nurtured that part of you. The part of you who had distinct hobbies, goals, and interests. For me, before I became a mom I would take a day off and read an entire novel cover to cover. Now, as a mom, I’m lucky if I get 10 minutes to scroll through Facebook without interruption.
You’re not alone
If you talk to your mom friends and ask them if they have lost themselves in motherhood, I guarantee they’ll agree. It’s just something that happens. We give birth to these precious babies, and they need everything from us. They, rightfully so, become our entire world, but in doing so, we completely start to neglect the most important parts of ourselves.
One of my best friends and I have a phrase we say to each other all the time, it’s “never alone” because there are so many days where we have a bad mom day and without fail it’s something the other has had. If I’m having a hard day, whether she is or not, I know she has lived it, and we are never alone in these struggles.
If there’s a motherhood struggle you’re dealing with, I guarantee that another mom is dealing with it at this moment too. Motherhood is quite universal. We all face the same struggles and fight the same battles.
One of the prevalent ones is that we give up on ourselves to take care of others. We don’t take the time to do the things we need to feel like the person we are deep inside. Once we give birth we are so laser focused on our little baby that we immediately stop doing the things that make us who we are deep down inside.
Connect to the person you were before being a mommy
This is is going to be different for every single one of us in some aspects. I wish I could say do steps abc and you’ll feel like you again. The truth is that each of us needs different things just because of our interests. It’s easy to find self care challenges or charts that tell you to do specific things on specific days, but those lists aren’t universal to us as women.
Grab a sheet of paper, sticky note, back of an envelope, I won’t judge and write down the things you really want to do to connect with who you are. Do you want to start jogging? Maybe you like to draw. What about a bubble bath or face mask? A date night or girls night might sound amazing or cranking up music and dancing around with your family. Whatever it is, just write it down.
Put your plan in motion
Now that you have your list, you need to put it into action. Where in your day can you do some of these things? Look at your schedule and ask yourself:
Could you wake up a few minutes earlier?
Maybe you could stay up a few minutes later?
Could you do something for yourself during your kid’s naptime instead of housework?
What if you include your spouse and have them take over cooking dinner, or the dinner cleanup so you can sneak away for a while?
This is your no excuses place to do it. It’s hard. Trust me, I might write about finding time for self care all the time, but I still have days where I really struggle with it. Days where I can’t stand to look at the mess in front of me, so I clean instead of doing something for me. Some days, my self care is having a clean home so I can really relax. It is all about what I need in my life to make my heart feel full.
Self Care doesn’t have to be fancy
I think a lot of times we think of the big extravagant types of self care, getting massages, spa days, going on vacation. There’s no need for us to only think of these big things as self care. Doing the little things that connect you to who you were before motherhood is just as important, and doesn’t take all that long. Some days I require a bubble bath, others a quick coat of mascara reminds me of who I really am.
No matter the circumstance, you can find a few minutes to do one thing for yourself. Today, as I write this, my husband has been battling a cold for a few days and shared with me, and my daughter came down with something that’s given her a fever. (*insert very dramatic exhausted noises here*) Through the day I started feeling worse and worse, I was dealing with a lethargic and fevered toddler, and to top it off I dropped part of our dinner.
It was a day. But I knew I needed to do something for me, so I washed my face & put on a nighttime calming moisturizer. It wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t anything elaborate, but it’s exactly what I needed to feel human again. Sometimes that’s all you need, just to feel like you’re more than mom again and to connect, even briefly, with who you are outside of motherhood.