It's hard not to be consumed by motherhood. The precious babies that once grew inside your womb now carry a piece of your heart everywhere they go. Every day, you wake up to look after your children's needs, tend to errands and chores, and always putting yourself last.
If this sounds familiar, you may be one of those moms who feel like she's let herself go or began to lose who she was prior to mom life. Losing who we were before becoming moms, is, in many ways, a welcomed sacrifice if it means making our kids happy. However, recognizing that every mom should still do things for herself actually plays a big part in raising happier children. There are small things every mom can do, that aren't very time consuming, that will prevent her feeling like she's lost herself in motherhood.
Self-esteem affects how a mom feels about herself and what she thinks others think of her. Even if you are someone who generally doesn't care what other people think - dressing up for yourself is a quick reminder of how hot of a momma you are!
Breaking away from your monotonous appearance of yoga pants and a messy bun (no judgement) at least once a week is a quick confidence boost. Even if you don't dress to the nines, wearing your favourite outfit and getting dolled up is an easy way to remind yourself that you are more than just a mom.
Another great tip to prevent losing who you are during motherhood is doing something you enjoy every day. It doesn't have to be a big activity or something that requires seeking out a babysitter; it can be something as small as choosing to wake up a bit earlier to have a hot cup of coffee and silence.
Make the conscious effort of picking something just for you. You have the rest of the day to think of your children, spouse, or the many tasks you have to accomplish - carving out 15 minutes every day to do something that makes you happy, reminds you that you don't have to sacrifice everything just to appease others.
Hobbies help build someone's sense of identity. Having a pleasurable past-time that requires dedication and practice gives you a reason to keep learning. When we don't use our brains because we are doing the same thing all the time, it can create the illusion of being stuck.
Hobbies can eliminate feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt because they give a mother a sense of use other than just expectations she fills daily. It's a way of saying, "yeah, I'm a mom... but check out what else I can do."
Nothing can be lonelier than having only children to talk to all day. Adults require intelligent conversations and talking about what your kid did on Minecraft can get old quickly.
It isn't always realistic to expect someone to come to visit or call just because you are feeling lonely. Without having other people jump to your rescue whenever you crave that adult interaction, it can feel like no-one cares. If you feel confined to your kids and home, it can be helpful if you make the effort to get out of the house at least once a day just to be around other adults. Go to the park, go for a walk, or, if you are brave enough, take your rugrats to do errands with you.
Every mom needs a friend who she can vent to. Venting buddies are great because every thought that you have stewed over or overanalysed has a chance to come out. The only way of interrupting a cycle of negative thought processes is speaking it out loud, especially to someone who won't judge.
At times, expressing certain concerns may not go favourably with a spouse or a family member, simply because they are too emotionally involved. That's why it helps to have a friend who will just listen to your concerns, won't take it personally, and isn't too quick to try and 'fix' things. After all, at the end of the day, don't we all just want to feel heard?
Life isn't meant to be taken seriously all of the time. In fact, laughing helps to reduce tension and stress which can leave your muscles feeling relaxed. Laughing causes your brain to release endorphins, hormones that makes you feel good and happy.
Understandably, moms take their jobs seriously and at times it might feel like there isn't much to laugh about. However, changing your mindset by finding reasons to laugh allows you to be genuine and present. If you are feeling good, you'll be less likely to feel overwhelmed by expectations.
Vulnerability is the best route of staying connected to yourself. If how you feel is always being repressed, you are on the road to the quickest way of disconnecting from who you actually are. Emotions like sadness, frustration, anger, and agitation are some that we are shamed into believing are bad. It's not the emotion itself but how it is displayed, the severity, and duration that can go south quickly.
We encourage our kids to try and self-regulate emotions and communicate how they are feeling instead of erupting like little volcanos. Mothers deserve to do the same, so we don't explode either!
Mom guilt can trick you into thinking that time and money should only be spent on your family. We like the idea of spoiling ourselves but let's face it; when given the chance to indulge, our minds linger back to what would benefit the kids.
However, getting into the habit of adamantly dedicating time and money, every once and a while, will condition your brain to stop feeling guilty and the habit will be justified. As long as you consider and follow boundaries of how much is acceptable; if anyone asks, call it self-care.
Every mom needs a break from her kids. Be real, put your ego aside, and campaign for that you-time! Ask for that 15 minutes, 5 hours, or 5-day kid-free break so you can recharge your mental batteries. If it means you'll have the patience of a saint when you return to your kids: do it!
Sometimes the mom-brain needs to be turned off for a bit and then restarted to work better. We can't expect to be at our best self when we aren't given the chance to have the time to be a little selfish.
The ultimate way of preventing 'losing yourself' to motherhood, is to remind yourself you got this! There will be times where you'll feel torn or compromised during this mothering journey, of whether you can pull off this multifaceted identity.
However, you can! Just because you have days where you struggle in being true to yourself while navigating motherhood doesn't mean you lack in capability. You might not be the person you were 1, 5, 10 years ago - but how much you've grown internally within that amount of time, is the best version of who you were meant to become.