The moment you find out you are going to be a mother your entire world changes. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I found out we were having Henry. I immediately started reading all the baby books, browsing Pinterest for tips and tricks from nursery plans to baby clothes. My whole life was about this new little person we were about to bring into the world and I couldn’t wait to be his mommy.
I had always told myself in the past before babies that I would always keep my identity and not allow myself to have just the title Mom. What exactly did that mean to me? This meant finding my balance, always making time for me. Easier said than done! Quickly, after having Henry I totally consumed myself with him. Henry was my everything. I didn’t see much beyond taking care of this little guy. I was happy with this until the day I looked in the mirror and realized I hadn’t showered in a few days, make up forget it, manicures and pedicures had been put on hold, I had zero social scene and I was going through the motions like a zombie day in and day out.
How was this healthy? Why was I allowing myself to fall into this rut? It’s because mom guilt is real! I was feeling guilty if I took time away from him. I specifically remember a time Seth told me to go get my nails done, I had to coach myself into feeling ok with this. I literally made myself go with the reassurance from Seth that it had to be done. I had so much anxiety when leaving the driveway, worried I would be gone to long. How will Seth manage? What if Henry won’t stop crying and needs me? What if the milk I just pumped into a bottle he won’t take for Seth and starve? Totally irrational as I type it out. I tend to do that, go to completely crazy places in my head, only to look back laughing thinking I was a little crazy then. Henry did great, guess what he didn’t starve! I don’t know that he even missed me? I was able to have a much deserved manicure and pedicure. I felt recharged and a little piece of me felt human again. A lightbulb went off that day. If getting away for a few hours was going to make me happier and in turn make me a better mommy then I needed to do it without feeling guilty.
Going to get a manicure and pedicure can sound so superficial, it is more than that. It isn’t about looking good or making sure my nails were on point (ok, so maybe a small portion of it is that) but, it’s about having me time. It’s about taking a breather and time away to collect your thoughts. It isn’t always the above for me, it can be going on a run, hopping on here to write, calling up a friend to chat or grab a coffee, allowing myself to feel like an adult. These little people are great and one of my biggest accomplishments in life, but without a little self care and balance I start to lose myself. I am more than just a mother. I am wife, a daughter, a friend, and hopefully an inspiration. I want mothers to know it is ok to not feel guilty for keeping their other identities alive. Just because we added Mother to our resume doesn’t mean we have to loose who we were prior. I could go off on a tangent and talk about how having me time has made me a better wife too. I’ll save that for another day. But, for me it is getting away for those few hours and for someone else that may look different. Balance doesn’t mean dedicating fifty percent of my time to XYZ and the other fifty percent to ABC. It can look different day to day. I still find myself finding the balance, after having Matilda I went through the process all over again. Guys, I cried when I left Matilda to go to the grocery store with Seth for what was only an hour trip! What my balance is about is what makes me happy. It could be as simple as taking a shower and putting makeup on for the day, even if we have no place to go. Whatever makes you feel accomplished and recharged, DO IT! Fuel your energy into what makes you a happy and over all better person. Stop beating yourself up over taking a minute to yourself. Let yourself evolve and transition to a place you aren’t loosing your identity. Go rock being a mama but also go rock being YOU!
This month I rallied up a tribe of women to share their stories of motherhood, what it has taken for them to keep their balance and identity. I hope you enjoy their stories, maybe you’ll find a little bit of yourself in them.