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How to be the BEST Mom...without losing yourself

The minute I became a mother something inside of me changed. I went from being a 26 year old woman focused primarily on myself to caring deeply for this little human being. I became selfless overnight. I no longer cared about what I ate (other than staying away from certain foods to prevent any tummy issues for my newborn breastfeeding son), what I wore, whether or not I really slept or if I left the house or not. As you can imagine this kind of self sacrifice probably wasn't in anyone's best interest, despite my thinking that I was the ultimate mother to my son. It was easy to isolate myself from others and spend hours sitting on the couch nursing my baby and watching reruns of the CBS show CSI. My son was born during the Minnesota winter and we didn't see the bare ground until early April that year. The longer I stayed inside, huddled in my house, the more disconnected I felt from society. Looking back I thought I was doing what was best for my son. I was keeping him out of the cold wind and keeping him away from all of those nasty germs that seem to creep up during the winter months. Perhaps it was the best decision for him to stay away from the life that was happening outside my own four walls; I will tell you one thing though I was miserable. I felt lonely, unappreciated and I had forgotten who I was B.B. (before baby). Didn't anyone see my self-sacrifice? This baby couldn't give me a progress report like I had become accustomed to  while working in Corporate America. My focus was solely on my child which was a good thing but hear me out on this: it wasn't the best thing. No, it wasn't the best thing... for either of us. While I was busy keeping my primary focus on my child I started forgetting who I was. In losing that knowledge I lost myself and I lost my sense of happiness. I was like a mindless wandering robot; meandering in and out of life's events never fully appreciating all that was around me.  I started writing again and that thing inside of me, the creativity that I was so lacking in my own life started bubbling up. I began to find myself again through my own writing. No one was reading my blog. It really was something that I only did for myself; like a little secret that only I knew. I could escape to my laptop and pound out my thoughts and feelings on the keyboard. The more I wrote the more I enjoyed life. I started honing in on the little nuisances during our day; I found joy in the little things and a sense of accomplishment in the everyday battles that we had overcome. I opened up my eyes and saw the world happening around me. What I'm trying to say is that making your child or children the sole focus of your life may seem like the ultimate motherly thing to do but at what cost? My fear has always been losing myself and who I am apart from my child. Eventually, they will leave my nest and then what will I do? This is why it is imperative for us as mothers to not lose our sense of self apart from our children.
Whether you need a creative outlet like writing or you need a physical outlet like running; or even if you need to take a special cooking class just for you because you genuinely enjoy cooking, do it. Do it for yourself and don't feel guilty about it. By having a little focus on yourself, you're giving your children the best thing you possibly could: a happy mother who knows who she is outside of her children.
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  • Your words speak volumes! Your child will see you and how you behave. You are their #1 role model. Be the person you want your child to grow up to be <3

    Amanda Bolduc on
  • I think this is so important. I spend much less time on my hobbies now than I did before I had kids, but I still try to make time most days to read, sew, or spend some time with friends, because it makes me feel happier, and it is a good example for my kids because I want them to see that I have talents and interests and they should too. I think it’s really good for our self-esteem to sometimes spend time learning, creating, or helping in some way.

    Marcelaine on
  • Amen! This is so true and, sadly, so common.

    Melissa C. on
  • Um … I TOTALLY relate! It’s so hard not to let “mommyhood” become my entire identity when it threatens to take over all of my waking (and often, my non-waking) hours. I’ve tried to make it a point to read non-parenting books, tackle larger study projects, baking from scratch, writing letters, etc, just to remember that there ARE things to do in life outside of parenthood. So good for the soul, and I think it makes me appreciate mommyhood all the more!

    Stephanie on
  • With my first child, I went back to work part-time 8 weeks pospartum. At the time, it was pretty hard, but we got used to it. With my second child, I didn’t go back to work and I feel like I’ve been so isolated. When I was working it forced me to get up and prepare for the day. But now, well, it’s hard sometimes. Thanks for the article and reminding me that I’m not alone.

    Jutta Pearce on

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