It is easy to lose yourself in motherhood. It is overwhelming, all encompassing and intense in more ways than one. Once you have a baby, your life and who you are as a person are forever altered. Overnight, your needs become secondary and you become known as your child’s mom. Your identity and the expectations of yourself are suddenly tethered to this tiny person and the societal idea of who you are suppose to be.
So you dive into motherhood head on, becoming the do all and be all for your kid. Maybe you even have a couple more kids and then suddenly you look up one day and you have no idea who you are anymore. You are not alone! It is often hard to find your way back to who you are as an individual. It takes time (sometimes years) and practice to find the balance between who you were and who you are after having kids.
So how can moms maintain their individuality in the chaos of motherhood? Here are 7 ways to start…
Embrace the changes. There is no getting around the fact that becoming a mother fundamentally changes you in every way. You can fight it if you want but the sooner you accept that life as you knew it has changed, the sooner you can can move on to becoming the 2.0 version of your self.
Spend time alone. Give yourself some time to get to know who you are outside of being a mom, a wife or anything to somebody else. Take the the time to quiet all the noise that is constantly disrupting your thoughts and making your ears ring. Take yourself out for a coffee or a meal, go on a walk, or stay at home when everyone else is out of the house. Sit with yourself and enjoy your own company.
Maintain friendships. It is amazing how in motherhood you can be surrounded by little people all day, every day and still feel really lonely not to mention a little crazy too. As humans, we inherently need to connect to others and as mothers it is essential that we connect with other adults outside of our households that don’t require us to clean up after them. Bottom line is maintaining your friendships is important part of maintaining your sanity. So, make a phone call, setup a lunch date or invite a friend over for a visit even if you have to sit in your driveway 6 feet apart.
Learn something new. We are constantly signing our children up for classes and activities while we just sit on the sidelines and watch. But learning something new can challenge us, introduce us to new things and help us hone in on what we like to do for ourselves. You are never too old to learn something new. Take a one time art class or sign up for classes at your local college. You are never too old to learn something new and the possibilities are endless.
Participate in a hobby. Find something that you can do for yourself that makes you happy. It may not be easy but set aside some time in your day or your week to practice an activity that has nothing to do with your children, spouse, or other family members. Knitting, photography, cooking, reading, puzzles, writing, gardening…anything you enjoy. It doesn’t necessarily have to result in a project or anything like that… the point is that you are enjoying the process of doing something that is just for you .
Pursue your personal dreams and goals. It doesn’t matter if your dreams and goals are big or small, you should go after them. Anything from losing weight to building a business. Yes, you have kids and a busy life and it may take you longer than you would like, but better late than never. And what better example to set for your children. Just do something everyday to get you one step closer to accomplishing that goal or living your dream. Send an email, make that call, workout, write, save money…whatever it is…start.
Practice selfcare. When you spend so much time caring for others, it is important that you are also honoring your needs and prioritizing your well being. Like they say, “You can’t pour from an empty vessel.” So find ways to regularly practice selfcare that work for you. Take a daily walk on your lunch break, schedule weekly therapy appointments, workout 3 times a week, rub essential oils on your temples before bed. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as it serves your needs and you do it on a consistent basis.
Previously published on The Mom Forum.