I Finally Realized That I’m Not Just a Mom. I’m a Person.

The wake-up call that made me realize that being there for my family starts with making time for myself

Troyan/ Shutterstock
Troyan/ Shutterstock

Seven children is a lot of kids, to some people.

It’s still a lot to me, even though that’s how many children I have.

The energy required to feed, clothe, clean, and care for so many people is enough to power a small city. So it’s no wonder I found myself feeling burned out. My life felt like: go, go, go, busy, busy, busy.

I would crash into bed exhausted, although sometimes I was unable to sleep, because I couldn’t turn off my brain.

I would wake up with one or more children during the night who felt sick or scared or sleepless.

I would crawl out of bed in the morning because some little person needed me to feed them, or wipe their behind, or stop a squabble.

Is it a surprise that I was unhappy?

One afternoon, after days and weeks of fulfilling endless requests and demands, in a torrent of tears, I finally asked myself, “Who am I? What do I want?”

It seems like such a basic question. But in the cloud of mom brain, such thoughts rarely get stage time.

Asking it that day really hit me hard, and I took some serious time to think about it.

I’m not just a mom,” I realized. “I’m a person, a woman who has passions, interests, and pursuits that I’ve failed to pursue.

Those simple questions became a turning point in my happiness. I realized that ignoring who I am as a person was not helping me or my family to be happy.

Just like I was already doing with my children, I decided to listen to, and fulfill, the things I wanted to do. “Writing? Treadmill? Lunch date? Mom-cation? Of course you can do that!” I told myself.

I began carving out time in my day, week, and month for just me. This was time where I got to do whatever I wanted — time that I used to pursue my passions and interests.

As needed, I asked for help — from my husband, my older children, my friends or neighbors. If needed, I used technology — usually movies. That personal time became more important than my “bad mom” rules about technology use.

Day by day and week by week, I developed a stronger sense of personal identity. I started to tell my children things like, “Mommy is a person too, and she’s going to sit down to eat. Get your own spoon.”

I began developing systems for chores, study time (I homeschool), and “training classes” (Think: “Children, this is how you properly clean a toilet”).

Can you believe it? My children became more responsible and helpful, and less dependent!

And most importantly, I became a happier person, which made me a better mother, wife, and human.

More from Rachel: To Exhausted Moms — My Childbearing Years Passed By Like They Were a Dream

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Lessons I've learned from being ill

Lessons I’ve learned From Being Ill

by Samantha Brook
Yulia Lisitsa/ Getty Images

This Routine Really Improves My Sleep Quality

by Amy Nguyen
Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

My Little Guide To Happiness

by Laura Nyantekyi
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.