Life Before Kids
Pre-baby, I was that girl who was involved in anything and everything. I enjoyed working hard and learning something new every day.
When my husband and I discussed starting a family, I assumed it would be fairly easy to integrate parenthood into our lives. There would be some sacrifices, of course, but we would make it work…Yes, present-me is eye-rolling at this thought, HARD.
After having my son, I pushed my other passions aside and completely devoted all of my time to him, his needs, and stepping into my role as a new mom.
Every second of every day was breastfeeding, pumping, diaper changes and naps. When my son was napping, and I couldn’t sleep, I would be online, obsessing over the latest debates on sleep training, wondering on my ratio of foremilk to hindmilk, researching the perfect pacifier to mimic my nipple so I could give mine a flippin’ break…pretty much questioning and fixating on every decision I was making. Soon I realized…every single thought and conversation circled around motherhood and my son.
I had zero balance, it was as if I had lost all ability to function as my own individual, away from motherhood.
This took a toll on some of my relationships, especially my marriage. I mean, when you finally have some alone time with your husband, the last thing you probably want or need to be talking about is chapped nipples and the latest article on the color of your kid’s poop.
Even worse, I wasn’t happy with who I was. By devoting my every second to my son, I wasn’t properly taking care of myself.
I realized that, in finding myself in motherhood, I had lost “me.”
One day it hit me, I needed to dig through the piled-up burp cloths and pacis, and rediscover myself, my stowed-away passions, my spirit.
I started small with simple coffee dates among friends where all child-talk was prohibited. My husband and I worked hard to have more-frequent date nights, and I made an effort to take a little bit of time every day for me, even if it meant letting a few dishes pile up.
I made time to read books for pleasure, exercise, and even go back to school.
I realized that I was happier, more confident, and able to be the best friend, wife, and mom I could be… simply by taking care of myself.
Most of all, I learned how important it is to have balance.
It’s Okay to Have a Life Outside of Motherhood
It seems like women today have so much pressure and guilt to completely dive into motherhood without ever having a chance to come up for air. Mothers who make time to properly take care of themselves are seen as selfish, neglectful, or high-maintenance.
So, to all the moms out there reading this, perhaps feeling guilty about having a girls night out, a couples retreat, or even going back to work, give yourself permission to also take care of YOU!
Realistically, how is anyone able to properly care for others if they don’t first care for themselves?
Sometimes you just have to turn off Raffi and turn on some Beyoncé!