Updated: Jul 20, 2019
I’ve realized recently that I’ve been lost.
Not physical or directional loss, but emotionally.
It’s part and parcel of motherhood to be honest. We get so wrapped up in homework, did they shower, what’s for dinner… wash the dishes, sweep the floor, do the laundry. We worry about bedtimes and brushing teeth. Packing lunches. Scheduling doctor appointments. Then for the mom who work outside the home, we have those worries on our plates, too.
So you see, it’s easy to get lost. To forget who YOU are. That’s where I am.
In California, before Henry was born, I had an identity. I had a group of friends- we did brunches and girls nights. I had an awesome job that felt fulfilling. Life was calm. Here, in Florida, it’s not that easy. Ronnie and I both have demanding jobs, and I’m often left drained by Wednesday afternoon. I’ve just recently made a “friend” or two, but we don’t do brunch or girls night in. It’s all so different.
I wouldn’t change it; it’s just different. And “different” requires adjustment.
And in just that sort of adjustment, I have found some truths.
The Truth About Yourself
1. You’ll never be the same “you”. The moment you see those 2 little pink lines, you change inside. You start rewiring. We are mothers at that moment, programmed to protect and nourish. We begin to sacrifice to much instantly- giving up those habits and watching what we eat, giving caution to things that never seemed to be a “big deal” before. In the matter of 3 minutes, you change. You’ll never be the same. And it’s okay. Step 1- accept that change. This applies emotionally and physically. Your hair changes, those bags under your eyes get a little darker. You might have some extra skin and some stretch marks. Leaky boobs and hip pain. Oh, it’s not a glamorous position, but it’s one you won’t soon regret.
2. You aren’t the same wife. He won’t realize it for a little while, but your marriage is going to change. It can go 1 of 2 ways; that will be up to you. Regardless, it won’t be the same as it was pre-baby. Imagine that one day you were reading a book, you’re in the middle of chapter 5 when someone says you have to read another book. At the same time. You remember pieces of those first few chapters of the first book- you loved those chapters. But this new book is so amazing too, sometimes you don’t want to go back to the first one. You have to though. Don’t get so wrapped up in this new thing in your life, that you forget what was there first. He’s not the same husband as before either, and don’t get upset with him- he’s lost. Fatherhood doesn’t come as seamlessly and naturally as mothering.
3. It’s okay to take a break. You have to take time for yourself. Everyone does. But this is most important when you are caring for others. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate vacation, an expensive cruise, an entire weekend. 1 hour of alone is a great start to resetting your emotional bank. You can only take so much out before it’s empty and one simply cannot run on “E”. Take a trip to the library, a yoga class, sit in the sunshine in the park. Go to a friends house and take a nap. Lock yourself in the bath. Anything that does not involve giving of yourself to anyone. Replenish your peace. Restore your calm. Renew your mind.
4. Asking for help is not weakness. The strongest of people know when they have had enough. Weak people have something to prove and refuse to ask for any assistance. Know when you are at your limits and accept it. Ask for some help. Dad can give a bath. Older kids can do dishes. Little ones can help pull clothes out of the dryer. There are always teenage boys who need extra money, they can mow your lawn. Do not be afraid to say “I can’t do it all.” It’s a lesson I’ve just recently accepted, I know it’s the hardest one yet. Pride holds us back from the request but I promise that relief is worth it.
5. And finally, you are doing great. Every mom, everywhere, since Eve, has wondered if they’re doing okay. Don’t beat yourself up over caving to some candy. A sip of soda is going to be okay. Don’t worry about the bug he just ate or the large amount of lip gloss on her face. Let them dress themselves and just smile and shake your head when strangers giggle- chances are, they had one just like that. Turn the radio up and let them sing and dance. Have breakfast for dinner, and by breakfast I mean pop-tarts. At the end of the day, those little minds have forgotten it all. They’ll never remember that you kept the living room spotless. I don’t remember all those nights my mom didn’t cook. I don’t remember if she let me where the same outfit 3 days in a row. I don’t know if my dad gave me the candy I was crying for. I remember the love. I remember hugs and kisses. I remember going on adventures. I bet that’s what you remember too. At the end of the day, we’re doing the best we can in life and that’s what counts. You’re doing great mom, keep going. One day, they’ll be gone and we’re going to look back and think “That wasn’t so bad.”
Accept these truths my friends. Accept them just as I have. Let’s wash our hair, change our yoga pants, and face the next day. And when your 2 year old wants spaghetti for breakfast, oatmeal for lunch, and a handful of grapes for dinner- remember, these days will pass.